The purpose of The Wednesday Club is to enrich the lives of those in our community and to raise the standards of culture and community service in the Dan River Region. 

The Wednesday Club

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Program Schedule for 2021-2022

Our programs are held on Wednesday afternoons from October to March at 3:45 PM. Coffee is served at 3:15 PM. The programs are free and everyone in the community is invited to attend. We are located at 1002 Main Street, Danville, VA. 

November 10, 2021 3:45 PM


Presented by Milbre Burch

Milbre Burch is a GRAMMY nominated spoken-word recording artist, an internationally known storyteller, a published scholar, and a produced playwright. Since 1978, she has performed and taught across the United States, in Europe and Asia. Holding a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Missouri, she uses storytelling to address social justice issues. In the spring of 2019, she was a teller in residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. That fall she returned to the Provincetown Playhouse with an original monologue inspired by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Susan Glaspell, one of the Playhouse founders. With her media historian husband, Berkley Hudson, she created the archival Storytelling Project of the Cotsen Children’s Library, housed at Princeton University. Most importantly, she is the mother of two daughters – Katy Blake and Elizabeth – who have both made her very proud.

November 17, 2021 3:45 PM

A World of Words

Presented by Charles Davenport

Charles Davenport, Jr., will examine the cultural relevance of the written word and his life as an ink-stained relic of the 20th Century. In addition, he will discuss the real-world horrors that inspired his debut novel, The Closure Committee. He is currently working on a sequel to this novel. Collectively his writings present a robust defense of tradition, long established cultural norms, and American exceptionalism. An op-ed columnist for the Greensboro News and Record for 15 years, his commentaries and book reviews have appeared in The Charlotte Observer, Carolina Journal, Southern Partisan, Triad Living, Triad Happy Tails, and elsewhere. For two years in the 1990’s he published and edited his own monthly review, The Standard, in the tiny village of Spring Grove, Minnesota. His magical, Norman Rockwell-like childhood was spent on Red Coat Lane in Greensboro. He and his wife Maureen live in Kernersville, North Carolina, with their golden retriever and two cats.

December 8, 2021 3:45 PM

Tickling the Ivory in All Genres Second Time Around!

Presented by Telly Tucker

Telly Tucker, former Director of Economic Development for Danville, is making a second appearance at The Wednesday Club where he will be playing piano. Tucker is now serving Arlington County in a position similar to his former job in Danville. Telly is a graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor's Degree in International Business, and has had a very successful career in economic development, having served Danville from July 1, 2010 to January 2020. Telly has continued to perform as a pianist in a number of venues. He was featured in the Black Theater and Arts Festival in Washington, DC 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. Telly is recognized as a very versatile musician who displays real virtuosity as he entertains with his piano playing and his singing.

The Magnolia Tree

“Not one leaf of the magnolia shall be damaged during construction of the clubhouse” at 1002 Main Street. This was the stipulation that guided the members of The Wednesday Club since 1970. This oft repeated admonition was reportedly included in the original contract with H. H. Calvert, the builders of the clubhouse in 1970. However, no copy of said contract exists in the club’s archives.

Members of the Board of Governors, past and present, have debated for many years the potential removal of the tree and its brick enclosure. Damage caused by the tree’s roots has led to necessary repairs to the sidewalk and steps leading to the front door. The wall surrounding the magnolia has been compromised, as has the foundation of the building.

Years ago attempts were made to reinforce the wall with iron supports. These are no longer able to confine the ever-growing root system of the tree, and large cracks have developed in many areas of the wall. Fear of its impeding collapse, and the club’s subsequent liability, have ultimately led the Board of Governors to approve its removal.

The property, located within the boundaries of the Old West End, was unanimously granted a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Commission for Architectural Review to remove the wall, provided the granite foundation and cornerstones remained. Permission to remove the tree was not required. No one wants to see any venerable tree taken down. However, sometimes we have no choice.

February 2, 2022 3:45 PM

Preservation Virginia

Presented by Sonya Ingram

A native of Pittsylvania County, Ingram began working as an archaeologist after receiving her undergraduate degree in anthropology in 1991. A decade of archaeological work across the Mid-Atlantic and southern United States and Puerto Rico led Ingram to a position as a land preservationist in Northern Virginia and Maryland. After receiving a Master in Historic Preservation, she worked as a historic preservation planner for the city of Frederick, Maryland, and as the Assistant Director for the Archaeological Conservancy's Eastern Regional office. Ingram was able to move back to Virginia when she became the Preservation Field Services Manager for Preservation Virginia, the nation’s oldest statewide historic preservation non-profit organization. Ingram was previously the President of the Danville Historical Society and serves on the board of the Southside African American Cemetery Preservation Society and Literacy InterActives, Inc. She lives in Danville’s Old West End.

February 9, 2022 3:45 PM

South Pole Adventure

Presented by Shelly Calabrisi

Calabrisi earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics-Space Science from Northwestern State University of Louisiana in 1999 and a master’s in Physics from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2001. In 2006, the 1998 HC96 Asteroid was renamed 22586 Shellyhynes for Calabrisi’s work with an Intel Science Talent Search Finalist.

After teaching astronomy and physics for a decade at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, Calabrisi was awarded the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship in 2011-2012 with the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. In 2012, she began serving as Science and Technical Project Services Supervisor at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. In October 2017, Calabrisi accepted a position at the University of Oklahoma as the Deputy Project Manager of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, a NASA-funded project and the largest contract awarded to OU in its history.

Shelly’s husband, retired Sergeant Major Michael Calabrisi, is from Danville, and they have returned to Danville after his retirement from the US Army.

February 16, 2022 3:45 PM

Music from the Melting Pot: American Songs and Arias

Presented by Catherine Kelly, soprano and accompanied by Steven Gourley, piano

Catherine Kelly is a classical soprano, voice instructor, conductor, actor, and stage director from North Carolina. She will be accompanied on the piano by Stephen Gourley, currently the Director of music at The Village Chapel, an interdenominational community of faith in Pinehurst, NC. Catherine's professional career has included opera roles sung both in the US and abroad, singing as a member of a touring chamber trio, as well as performing in various sacred masterworks. Catherine currently resides in Raleigh, NC where she offers private lessons to voice students, serves as founder of the Sidewalk Opera, and a member of the Sweet Tea Shakespeare company.

Stephen is a native of Goldsboro, NC and holds the Bachelor of Music degree from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas. He is equally at home as a solo artist on piano, organ, and harpsichord, as a collaborator, accompanist, and conductor. He has also written choral compositions. In his current job at The Village Chapel he serves as organist for all worship services, conducts and accompanies the Chapel Choir, conducts the Handchime Choir, and oversees the children's music program.

February 23, 2022 3:45 PM

The Birth of God's Pit Crew

Presented by Rhonda Zola

In May 1999 Randy and Terri Johnson were moved to action when they watched the horrifying reports of the devastation caused by the largest tornado in recorded history in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Wanting to help but living halfway across the country in Virginia, they borrowed trucks and trailers to deliver three loads of supplies to those whose needs far outmatched their own. Little did they know when they began their journey, that trip to Oklahoma would change the trajectory of their lives. In bringing hope to people in desperate need, they found their calling. Soon after, the non-profit crisis response organization known as God's Pit Crew was born.

March 2, 2022 3:45 PM

Meet Danville’s Fire Chief-David Coffey

Presented by David Coffey

Fire Chief Dave Coffey grew up in Billings, Montana, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating from Billings Senior High. Coffey served as a firefighter/welder for nine years in Kings Bay, Georgia, Pascagoula, Mississippi, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Holy Loch, Scotland, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. After leaving the Navy in 1993, Chief Coffey started his career with the Idaho Falls Fire Department (IFFD). There he worked his way up the ranks of the department as a firefighter, paramedic, captain, Division Chief of Special Operations, and Deputy Chief of Operations. During his career with the IFFD, Chief Coffey served as the Incident Commander of the Idaho Region 3 Incident Management and Support Team (IMAST). Coffey served as the Incident Commander of the Henry Creek Fire in 2016. At 53,000 acres, it is the largest fire in Bonneville County history. He served as the Incident Commander for the Emergency Operations of the City of Idaho Falls during the 2017 total solar eclipse. This included planning efforts prior to and following the eclipse, during which the population of 58,000 increased to an estimated 500,000. After 26 years with the IFFD, Chief Coffey and his wife Michele moved across the country where he assumed the role of Fire Chief of Danville on January 6, 2020.

March 9, 2022 3:45 PM

Watercolor…Riding the Tiger

Presented by Jerry Franklin, artist

Franklin, a local watercolor artist, paints in what he calls “representational impression.” His subjects are generally landscapes of places he has experienced in his travels and the Danville/Pittsylvania County area. Franklin, who has an engineering degree, began watercolor painting in his early 30's and says the medium, though challenging, is one of his many passions. His training has been through in-person workshops, books, magazines, videos, and lots of experimentation. He hopes his presentation will demystify some of the challenges of painting in watercolor and give listeners confidence that they may enjoy the medium also. Franklin has been a member of the Danville Art League since its inception in the 1980s. He is presently the President of the Danville Art League.  

Scholarship Fund

For decades The Wednesday Club has supported educational projects and provided academic scholarships to Danville and Pittsylvania County high school seniors. In these increasingly difficult times, it is more important than ever to help students defray some of the rising costs of college tuition. Please consider making a donation to the Scholarship Fund so that The Wednesday Club can continue to offer this important benefit to our community.

Make checks payable to The Wednesday Club, designate The Wednesday Club Scholarship Fund on the memo line, and mail to:

          The Wednesday Club
          1002 Main Street
          Danville, VA 2451

The Wednesday Club is a 501(c)(3) organization. All donations to the Scholarship Fund are tax deductible.

Miss Augusta Yates, Founder

History of The Wednesday Club

The Wednesday Club of Danville, Virginia, was established in 1893 by Miss Augusta Yates. Initially, the 12 charter members wrote, researched, and presented programs on a wide variety of subjects.

As the character of the club gradually changed, its horizons broadened and its emphasis became civic endeavors. As early as 1902-03, civic consciousness was awakened in the club as the members visited the public schools to investigate sanitary conditions. This activity was the beginning of many improvements The Wednesday Club has brought to the area.

During both World War I and World War II, the members supported the war effort by giving hundreds of volunteer hours on the home front. In 1927, the Club established one of its most outstanding contributions to the community, the Crippled Children’s Clinic. Over the years thousands of patients visited the clinic and received free medical assistance. Members were also instrumental in the establishment of the public library.

As the Club’s membership increased, a larger space for meetings became necessary. In 1922 a permanent home at 1002 Main Street was purchased and replaced at the same location with a new building in 1970. Presently the membership is approximately 250.

In August 2002, the Club established The Wednesday Club Endowment. The purpose of the Endowment is exclusively for charitable and educational projects within the community served by the Club. The Club makes financial donations to various organizations and awards scholarships annually to deserving high school students. For over 100 years, The Wednesday Club’s purpose has been to enrich the lives of its members and to raise the standards of culture and community service in the area. It accomplishes this by presenting distinguished speakers and artists of the highest quality and national reputation. The Club’s programs, which are always available to the public at no cost, are arranged by eight departments: Art, Civics, Current Events, Drama, Education, History, Literature, and Music.