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1002 Main Street
Danville, Virginia  24541

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*Unless otherwise noted scheduled programs will be held at The Wednesday Club. Programs will also begin at 3:45 p.m. Parking is available behind the Clubhouse and in the surrounding area. 

In the event of inclement weather, programs are cancelled if Danville Public Schools are cancelled.

2019-2020 Programs

October 23, 2019

3:45 p.m.


Barry Koplen, Author:

"The Book I Wish I Had Written, Pictures I Wish I Had Taken"

In addition to taking prize-winning photographs, Barry Koplen has long been writing poetry and prose. His Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University was followed by a Master of Arts in Teaching at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a Master of Fine Arts from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Recently, he published Whale of Grief, Wail of Joy, both related to impressions of life as a Jew in a non-Jewish world.  Koplen’s No Gold Stars tells of his integrating the Greenville, South Carolina school system at Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.’s alma mater, Sterling Junior-Senior High.  Koplen has taught creative writing, humanities, and English at Danville Community College. 

October 30, 2019

3:45 p.m.

Mark Gignac:
"The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research" 


Mark Gignac is the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), whose mission is economic transformation. Mark is a graduate of Virginia Tech. After graduation he spent his early career building Engineering Designs and Sales, Inc., an electronics manufacturing business, with his father Roy Gignac.

As an entrepreneur, Mark has always been interested in the economic aspects of the community.  He has served on the Danville City Council, Southside Rising Venture Capital, and Southern Piedmont Technology Council.

As executive director, Mark brings a business perspective to IALR, operating an aggressive customer service driven approach. He will inform us of the changes and growth of IALR since its beginning.

November 6, 2019

3:45 p.m.

Bill Guerrant:
"Jim Wrenn"

Bill Guerrant and his wife live on White Flint Farm in Keeling, where they raise goats, chickens, and chemical-free vegetables.  Guerrant earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Virginia. He retired from the practice of law in 2010 to devote himself to farming and writing. He is the author of Jim Wrenn, a 300-page historical novel set in the Danville--Pittsylvania County area.

November 13, 2019

3:45 p.m.

Gaelin Page Hereford:
"Lady Nancy Langhorne Astor -- From Danville to Parliament"

Gaelin Page Hereford was born in Charlottesville, Virginia.  She studied acting at Virginia Commonwealth University, costume design at George Washington University, and drawing and painting at the Corcoran School of Art. In Massachusetts she worked for the Boston Ballet, Harman Theatre at Boston University, and Children's Theatre on Martha's Vineyard as costume designer. She was the head painter for Michael Lawrence Porcelain Design Studio in San Francisco and the head costume designer for the award-winning film Eden's Curve. She continued her work with costume design when she came to Danville to work at the Historic North Theatre for Jerry Meadors. She designed costumes for The Importance of Being Ernest, True West, and Beauty and the Beast. Currently, Hereford is artistic director and curator for the Langhorne House Museum, home of Lady Nancy Langhorne Astor, at 117 Broad Street in Danville.  

November 30, 2019

3:45 p.m.

Will Kimball:
"An Afternoon of Music with Will and Katya"

Bass Baritone Will Kimball has been a frequent performer on opera stages across the country and in Europe.  Having sung in France, Italy, Russia and Ukraine, Kimball has brought some of the greatest characters of opera and musicals to life.  A graduate of Baylor University, Arizona State, and the University of Washington, Will has been sought after for his “rich deep” timbre and “powerful and impressive” vocalization.  He recently brought Dr. Hyde to life in Jekyll & Hyde and performed the solos in Fauré's Requiem.

Accompanying Will is internationally accomplished pianist Katya Lapin, who holds her graduate and undergraduate degrees from Oberlin College Conservatory and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.  Katya has served  as faculty at the Ameropa International Summer School of Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic.  Katya is co-founder of Duo Amabile, a classical violin-piano duet with her husband, Matvey Lapin. 

December 4, 2019

3:45 p.m.

Brad Bass:
"Home for the Holidays
"

The Wednesday Club's Drama Department presents “Home for the Holidays,” performed by Brad Bass. A native of Ringgold, Virginia, Brad moved to New York City at 18 to attend The American Musical and Dramatic Academy to pursue a career in Musical Theatre. As a professional actor, Bass has performed in Wicked, the original Broadway cast of Memphis, and Broadway's Jersey Boys, where he played 7 of the 10 male roles! Brad is heard on the original cast albums of Memphis and Andrew Lippa's A Little Princess. He has been seen on The View, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Tony Awards, and the feature film of the Broadway version of Memphis. Currently, Bass works as the Musical Theater Artist in Residence at Averett University.

December 11, 2019

3:45 p.m.

Danny Marshall:
"
Economic Development in Danville" 

Representing the 14th District since 2002, Delegate Danny Marshall has served in the Virginia House of Delegates. He served on Danville City Council prior to his election to the House.

Delegate Marshall is Chairman of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee (ACNR), beginning with the 2016 Legislative Session.  He has served on the Committee since 2006, and he chaired the Agriculture Subcommittee from 2011-2015.

In 2018, Delegate Marshall was appointed to the House Rules Committee, a leadership group, and as Vice-Chair of the House Select Committee on School Safety.  He also serves on the House Commerce and Labor Committee, chairing the Workers Compensation Subcommittee.  He serves on the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee and Subcommittee #2.

Serving on the Virginia Housing Commission, the Virginia Small Business Commission, the Manufacturing Development Commission, the Public-Private Partnership Commission, the Tobacco Commission, and the New College Institute Board, he works to give our region a voice in many venues.

January 22, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Dave Slayton:
"Wines for the Winter"

After graduating from Dan River High School, Danville native Dave Slayton received a degree in Business from Averett University and earned a Master of Business Administration from the College of William and Mary.  Following retirement from Verizon Communications, Slayton has worked for Longwood University Small Business Development Center, Eden Jewelry, and Vintages by the Dan. His particular interest in wine led him to extend his knowledge by taking numerous courses and becoming a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers. His passion for wine has now extended to conducting Scotch and Bourbon tastings. Slayton is also active in the Kiwanis Club and the German Club.  He has served as deacon chairman at First Baptist Church and is a past president of Habitat for Humanity. To quote wine expert, Jessica Alteri, “Wine is just a conversation, waiting to happen.”

January 29, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Dr. William P. Sweezer, Jr.:
"
Let’s Learn About Vascular Surgery"

Dr. William P. Sweezer, Jr., MD FACS, is a board certified thoracic and vascular surgeon at Danville SOVAH Health.  Dr. Sweezer is trained to perform complicated surgeries on the lungs, esophagus, heart and other parts of the chest. He returns to Danville after three years in Houston, Texas, where he was in private practice on the medical staff at Houston Northwest Medical Center.  He received his medical degree from Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee and has been in practice for more than 20 years.  He is a well-respected member of multiple societies and organizations, including the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, National Medical Association, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Cardiothoracic Surgery Network, International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery, Society of Vascular Surgery, Critical Limb Ischemia Global Society and others.

February 5, 2020

3:45 p.m.


Jennifer Dietz
:
"Healthy Eating for Healthy Living"

Jennifer Dietz is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Over the past 23 years, Dietz has excelled in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings providing diabetes education and nutrition expertise.  Jennifer graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition and Foods.  She completed her dietetic internship at West University Hospitals in 1996. She holds a Master of Science in Public Health from Walden University. Jennifer runs a nutrition practice, Dietz Nutritional Consulting, LLC, in Danville.  As a Danville native, she finds it rewarding to be able to counsel fellow residents on sound nutrition advice in her hometown.  Dietz and her husband Lanny live in Danville with their three boys: twins Jack and Dallas and their little brother Luke.  In her spare time, Dietz enjoys playing competitive tennis, walking for exercise, and shopping for antiques.

February 12, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Police Chief Scott C. Booth:
"Meet and Greet Danville Police Chief Scott Booth"

Chief Scott C. Booth, a native of Virginia, grew up in Northumberland County.  Working as an infantryman and a military police officer, and deploying to Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, he served two enlistments in the U.S. Army.  After leaving military service, Chief Booth joined the Richmond Police Department, where he served for 19 years. In August 2015, he joined the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in Washington, D.C., where he served as the Deputy Chief of Operations and then as the Chief of Police.  In July 2017, he moved to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he served as the Deputy Federal Security Director for the Charlotte, North Carolina region, coordinating transportation security efforts for the Federal Government. He became the Chief of Police for Danville, Virginia, in February 2018.

In a January 9, 2018 Register and Bee article by Colter Anstaett, Booth stated, “What attracted me to Danville was, for one, a very professional police department that's focused and wants to make things better for the residents and the people that visit here.”

Chief Booth has a Bachelor Degree in Human Resource Management and Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond, and a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

February 19, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Hunter Darden:
"Books on Life for the Young and Old" 


Hunter Darden's love for writing began when she was in the fourth grade because she loved to read the Nancy Drew mystery books. Her fourth grade teacher asked each of her students what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Darden said, “I'm going to be an author when I grow up!” So she is living her dream.  She wrote her first book The Everlasting Snowman, a gentle explanation about the natural cycle of life, after her father died. She is the author of five other children's books, a novel, a photography book, and a collection of newspaper columns for The Charlotte Observer. She has been awarded 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading by the Author's Show, Excellence in Creative Writing Award by the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Meredith College Career Achievement Alumnae Award. Her books have been featured in Better Homes and Garden, Our State, Today's Woman, Writer's Digest, and Carolina Country. Her website is www.booksbyhunter.net.

February 26, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Telly Tucker:
"
Tickling Ivory in All Genres, Second Time Around!"

Telly Tucker, Director of Economic Development for Danville since 2014, is making a second appearance playing piano at The Wednesday Club.  Tucker is a graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business.

Tucker has continued to perform as a pianist in a number of venues.  He was featured in the Black Theater and Arts Festival in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2019, and he continues to play with several bands and combos in Virginia and neighboring states.  He won the Paderewski National Guild Medal in 1997, and he was recognized with superior ratings over a ten-year span at National Guild Auditions and Virginia Music Teachers’ Festivals. Tucker is recognized as a versatile musician who displays real virtuosity as he entertains with his piano playing and singing.

MARCH 4, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Smokestack Theatre Company:
"Smokestack Theatre Presents"

Smokestack Theatre Company is an ensemble of local theater artists dedicated to creating exciting live theater for the cultural enrichment of the Danville/Pittsylvania County region. Smokestack, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was founded in 2018 by James Anderson and Josh Lucia.  Josh, originally from Danville, is an award-winning actor, and is the owner of Lucia Video. James has worked professionally in theater and education for many years and moved to Danville about six years ago. They met while acting in a local play, and will share their talent and enthusiasm for the performing arts in this program. Although together only a short time, the company has already had several successful productions: Ghosts & Gravestones Halloween Tours for The Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History; a murder mystery dinner theater; a children’s theater performance of James and the Giant Peach;  and a production of 12 Angry Men Read by 12 Impassioned Women.  They have taught drama and improvisation technique classes for the YMCA, Danville and Pittsylvania County Public Schools, Danville Parks and Recreation, and Danville and Pittsylvania County Public Libraries.  In addition to a season of Main Stage shows, Smokestack plans an edgier Second Stage Lab, and tours of Shakespeare to regional schools.

MARCH 11, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Joyce Wilburn
"The Neighbor Next Door"


If you live, work, play, or pray in any of Danville's historic districts, you are surrounded by hundreds of stories from the past.  Danville Historical Society tour guide Joyce Wilburn uses the Wednesday Club as a starting point and tells anecdotes about nearby houses and their former residents.  Before the PowerPoint presentation, guests will test their knowledge of neighborhood history and winners will be rewarded with a guided walking tour. Joyce has a master’s degree from Averett University and is an award-winning journalist and editor of Evince, a former weather reporter on WBTM/WAKG, and the creator of four guided tours of Danville.  She has been leading tours for more than a decade and has entertained visitors from 39 states and 20 countries.  After the program, Lori and Berkeley Bidgood of Bright Leaf Segway Tours will be in the parking lot demonstrating how to ride a Segway.

MARCH 18, 2020

3:45 p.m.

Melinda Bell Dickey:
"Inspired Design
"


Melinda Bell Dickey has worked as an interior designer for over twenty years. Having lived throughout the United States and travelled extensively in Europe, she brings from her experience an eye for design that is multi-faceted and multi-cultural. Receiving her degree magna cum laude in Interior Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Mel has received the prestigious LEED AP accreditation for working in sustainable and "green" design. She has a broad portfolio that includes commercial spaces, residential remodels, and new construction.  Mel is an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and an associate member of the International Interior Design Association. She recently won the ASID Design in Excellence Award in Hospitality for Cotton at Riverside Mill.

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