Winchester, VA – The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is pleased to announce the 2023 Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame Inductees, Debby Sanders and James W. “Jim” Casey. Debby and the Casey family will be honored for their contribution to sports in the region at 8:00 a.m. during the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on Saturday morning, May 6, 2023, in the Tolley Dental Zone at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center, 1188 Ralph Shockey Drive. General admission tickets are $45 and VIP tickets are $125.
Debby retired from Frederick County Public Schools after 30 years as a Health and PE teacher, Department Chair, and Head Girls’ Basketball Coach.
She coached Millbrook High School girls’ basketball team from 2004-2013 with 84 consecutive wins. The team titles include the following: State Champions 2010, 2011, 2012; Regional Champions 2010, 2011, 2012; District Champions 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; Regional Runner-Up 2009; and State Semi-Finalists 2009.
She was named State Coach of the Year from 2010 through 2012; Regional Coach of the Year from 2009 to 2012; and District Coach of the Year in 1997 and from 2009 through 2013.
After coaching, Debby served as an assistant athletic director for one year and volunteered at numerous sporting events. She was inducted into the Millbrook Athletic Hall of Fame and started the Millbrook “Go Pink” Millbrook vs. Cancer annual events that help to raise money to support individuals and families in the community impacted by cancer.
James W. “Jim” Casey
A native of Boyce and 32-year employee of James Wood High School, James “Jim” William Casey died at the age of 92 on Jan. 8, 2023. He is remembered and missed by scores of people in the area as he is inducted into the 2023 Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame.
Casey is survived by two of his three children – James M. and his daughter Ann. His son, John Casey, noted blacksmith and manager of the family farm, died at age 61 this past March. Coach Casey is also survived by his brother Jerry. Jim’s wife Eleanor MacDonald died in 2005. She, with Jim, founded and operated one of West Virginia’s most successful thoroughbred and racing operations. The operation was first named for Eleanor, and then after her death, for their horse farm Taylor Mountain.
Jim graduated from Boyce Agricultural High School and the College of William and Mary where he ran track, played baseball, and was the varsity football manager. After two years in the military, Casey returned to begin his career at James Wood High School, where he was a teacher, coach, and athletic director.
Retired athletic director at Handley High School, Jimmy Omps, said of Casey, “I remember watching Casey run the cinder track at Handley, the 100-yard dash in close to 10 seconds. He was very intelligent; he knew the rules.”
Don Shirley, a retired principal at James Wood, agreed that his intelligence was a comfort to him and a sounding board. “He was good listener…I missed that greatly when he retired. He was one of the most loyal persons I can think of. He remembered everything, the kids, who did what in which game. Unbelievable!”
Former JWHS student Danny Hoopes recalled that Casey was a great strategy coach; he was not vocal, but he was a confident man. Hoopes, who Coach Casey nicknamed Hoops, Jr. greeted him that way for years. Why Hoops, Jr? Hoops was told to figure it out himself. Seems Hoops was the 1945 Kentucky Derby winner.
Casey’s son, a veterinarian like his grandfather, said, “He never really got upset about anything. He could take things in stride.”
The 1954-55 school year marked the beginning of Casey’s run of success as head coach in three sports. In baseball, he never had a losing record; his football winning record included a 10-0 season in 1964, but he was at his best with basketball. After James Wood High School hired Casey as head coach, he had a record of 132-29, winning eight District titles.
Casey’s post-educational career as horse owner and trainer featured more than 1,200 wins, including a record 35 West Virginia Breeders’ Classic victories as a trainer. Casey moved from Winchester to Charles Town, W.Va. in 2002 after acquiring 146 acres in Jefferson County.
Like his grandfather, he was generous. There is the Dr. Joseph M. Casey scholarship at Clarke County High given to a student pursuing a degree in science or veterinarian medicine. The generosity and encouragement Casey and his wife Eleanor left to future generations are scholarships named the JAMES & ELEANOR CASEY ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS which are awarded yearly at James Wood High School, Millbrook High School, Sherando High School, Clarke County High School, Washington High, and Jefferson High Schools. The scholarships are used by an athlete to further their education and playing a college sport is not a requirement.
As late as 2022 he won 24 races and was at the track every morning. On the morning of January 6, 2023 Casey fell at the track and suffered a broken leg. He won the race while in surgery and seemed to be on the mend when he died two days later. His wife Eleanor had died in similar circumstances, A loose horse caused her to fall and break her hip at age 74 in 2005.
His son, James M. Casey, told the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred journal, “He enjoyed it--the people, the horses, the races. He went to the track every day until the very end.” Casey’s racing resume records over 1,200 wins, his horse, No Love for Juba, a homebred horse, won the West Virginia Futurity on Jan. 8, the day of his death. Late in the Game, came in second.
Coach Casey’s son and daughter will accept their father’s induction into the 2023 Apple Blossom Sports Hall of Fame.
Join us at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center on Shenandoah University Campus on Saturday morning, May 6, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.
Sharen Gromling, President of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is delighted to announce Natalie Woodward, Miss Virginia Association of Fairs 2023, as a special Festival guest. Natalie’s participation will highlight the festival’s dedication to agricultural heritage and community spirit.
Natalie Woodward, representing our area’s very own Frederick County Fair, was crowned Miss Virginia Association of Fairs 2023 during the 105th conference of the Virginia Association Fairs at the historic Williamsburg Lodge in January 2023. She aspires to earn her Bachelor’s of Science in nursing with a focus on becoming a nurse anesthetist. In the fall, she will transfer to a four-year university after obtaining her Associate of Arts and Sciences degree from Laurel Ridge Community College. A graduate of Sherando High School, Natalie was a member of the National Honor Society, a 4-year honor roll student, and she was named Cheerleader of the Year. In preparation for her nursing career, she is a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Natalie’s personal platform is “The Confidence Campaign” in which she helps others build their confidence through self-kindness. The Confidence Campaign is a combination of printable, readable, and watchable resources that focus on implementing kindness in everyday life. These tools create a mindset that is filled with contagious positivity and allow everyone to shine bright. She has spoken to over 500 students in the Commonwealth, sharing her important message. In addition, she is very involved with her local food pantry, serving on its governing board that assists over 50 families biweekly.
During her year of service, Natalie will travel across Virginia serving as the official ambassador for the Virginia Association of Fairs at many fairs and festivals. She will also be the spokesperson for the Miss VAF community service program, “Read to Succeed” that, in just a few years, has collected nearly 40,000 books. The VAF serves its members through representation, education, information, and direction which will enhance their productivity, economic viability, and administrative capability, thus enhancing the economic growth, development, and quality of life of Virginia communities.
Natalie will be appearing at various festival events Friday, May 5, including the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. She will ride on the Frederick County Fair float in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6. Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Sharen Gromling, President of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is pleased to announce Elizabeth Lynch as the featured speaker for the Ladies Horticultural Luncheon presented by Spring Arbor Assisted Living.
Elizabeth Lynch made history when she became the second Miss West Virginia to make the Top Five at the Miss America Competition. The Martinsburg native finished as 3rd runner up to Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke from Wisconsin. A summa cum laude graduate of Delaware State University and a recent graduate of West Virginia University with a Master of Science in Food and Nutritional Science, Lynch will enter a Ph.D. program next fall, putting her $42,500 in scholarship earnings to good use.
A first-generation agriculturalist, Elizabeth is dedicating her year of service to agricultural industry promotion through her social impact “Growing Up, Growing Ag: Advocating for Agriculture”. She stated, "Agriculture is the backbone of our great nation. As Miss West Virginia, I will continue sharing the importance of agriculture and encourage everyone to thank a farmer.” Elizabeth’s message is two-fold: She wants everyone to understand where our food comes from and how it reaches our dining tables. Secondly, she wants to introduce young adults to the possibility of a career in the agricultural industry.
While at Delaware State University, Elizabeth was a D1 equestrian athlete, Presidential Scholar, and a Chi Alpha Sigma National Athletic Honors Society member. She is the recipient of the Evelyn Talbott Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service and the “Circle of Hearts” Miana Steward Memorial Award for her contribution to Horses with Hearts.
During graduate school, Elizabeth worked closely with Poultry Specialists to facilitate and conduct research and with the WVU Pilot Feed Mill for feed manufacturing. Most recently she taught agriculture extension workshops across the state as a WVU graduate research assistant.
Turning to social media, her weekly “Farmer Friday” broadcast features interviews with leaders in agriculture, farming, distribution and more. Every Friday guests tell their stories and often share important news as it happens in the industry. With more than 30 episodes and 3000 listeners on YouTube, “Farmer Friday” gives a voice to those in the industry while educating the public.
The Ladies Horticultural Luncheon will be held at Millwood Station Banquet Hall, 252 Costello Drive, on Friday, May 5, from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 540-662-3409.
Eric Dickerson, Pro football Hall of Fame and record-breaking running back has been named Co-Sports Marshal by Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Dickerson was selected second overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. An immediate success, he established rookie records for most rushing attempts (390), most rushing yards gained (1,808) and most touchdowns rushing (18), including another two receiving touchdowns. His efforts earned him All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors.
In his second season, Dickerson continued his onslaught on the NFL record book becoming a member of the 2000 rushing yards club. Twelve times in 1984 he gained more than 100 yards rushing, breaking the record of 100-yard games in a season held by O.J. Simpson. His 2,105 total yards rushing beat Simpson’s 1973 NFL season record of 2,003 yards. No one has since rushed for more yards in a single NFL season. Dickerson retired from the NFL as the 2nd leading rusher of all-time and in 1999 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dickerson was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. He is widely considered as one of the greatest running backs of all time.
Russ Potts, a Winchester sports enthusiast, while athletic director at SMU from 1978-1982, developed a friendship with Dickerson (SMU 1979-1982) that lasted through the years. Dickerson and Craig James, currently New England Patriots ESPN analyst, were running backs. SMU went 11-0 in the 1982 season. The duo of Dickerson and James became known as "The Pony Express", coined by Potts, referencing the SMU mascot, the Mustangs. Dickerson was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2021 for SMU.
Marcus Allen shared his positive 2015 Apple Blossom experience as Sport Marshal with Dickerson. Dickerson and his wife, Penny Sutton, graciously in turn, accepted the Festival invitation and will attend festival events on Friday, May 5, including the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. He will be a featured speaker on Saturday, May 6, at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Event Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. They will then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Dickerson's appearance is sponsored by Omps Funeral Home and Cremation Center.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVII Champion and Millbrook High School standout athlete, Nazeeh Johnson named Co-Sports Marshal
His hometown community has called the play, and Nazeeh Johnson, local gridiron hero and 2023 Super Bowl Champion with the Kansas City Chiefs, has been named Co-Sports Marshal by Sharen Gromling, president of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Nazeeh Johnson triumphed as a 2023 Super Bowl Champion with the Kansas City Chiefs this past February. He achieved a goal of his youth! When he was five years old, after playing a few games of little league football, he went to his parents saying, “Dad, Mom! I’m going to play in the NFL!” His parents told him, as any parent would do, “Okay, son, just know that you can definitely do it, but it won’t be easy.” Since that moment, Nazeeh has worked his way to the top. Johnson has said, “I believe in living in the now and taking advantage of all my opportunities.” His parents are Kisha and Brian Brown of Winchester.
The rookie safety entered his first season with the Chiefs in 2022, being drafted in the 7th round (Pick #259). Johnson was waived on August 30, and the next day he was signed to the practice squad. On September 28, his name became part of the active roster. His running speed is described as explosive or like a rocket. In his first season, Johnson led the Chiefs in Special Teams tackles and played a crucial part in the longest punt return in NFL Super Bowl history, as the Chiefs went on to win Super Bowl LVII.
Johnson’s football career began with youth tackle football, participating in leagues across Northern Virginia and locally in the Shenandoah Valley including Fairfax, Prince William, and Clarke County. The family ultimately made the Frederick County community their home.
While playing youth football in Clarke County, Johnson was called “Z Bolt”, which eventually became “Bolt” or “Z”. While at James Wood Middle School and Millbrook High School, he ran track to develop more speed and played basketball to enhance his agility. Millbrook High School Pioneers was the next step to reaching his ultimate goal. Johnson graduated from Millbrook High School in 2016.
Johnson was unranked coming out of high school but enrolled as a “preferred walked-on” with the Marshall Thundering Herd. In 2018 he earned his scholarship with Marshall. He started four seasons in 44 of 45 games. His had 302 tackles, six tackles with loss, one sack, seven interceptions, a defensive touchdown, and defended19 passes. His Herd Pro Day was incredibly productive and meaningful, running a 4.35-second 40-yard dash and jumping an impressive 42.5 inches. Johnson was named All-Conference USA for three seasons, and he received the Unsung Hero Award in his final year. This honor is awarded to Herd players who make significant contributions to team success and are least recognized.
Nazeeh Johnson is described as humble and quiet. He prefers spending time with his family and loved ones. Family, football, video games, and community: these are what Nazeeh hold near and dear to his heart. And he is near to the hearts of those in his community. Winchester and fans across the region were focused on #13 and cheered him all the way to his final play on that Super Bowl Sunday 2023.
Nazeeh and his wife, Kensley, will be attending festival events on Friday, May 5, including the Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, and the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade. He will be a featured speaker on Saturday, May 6 at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast at the Tolley Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletic and Convention Center on Shenandoah University Campus. They will then ride in the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Johnson’s appearance is sponsored by Omps Funeral Home and Cremation Center.
Tickets to Festival events are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival is pleased to announce that writer and civic advocate, Pete Davis, will speak at the Valley Health Business at the Bloom presented by Top of Virginia Regional Chamber. The luncheon will be held at 11:00 am on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, at the Tolley Dental Zone in the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. Davis is the author of Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing and co-producer of Join or Die, a feature documentary on community in America.
Pete resides in Falls Church, Virginia where he works on civic projects aimed at deepening American democracy and solidarity. He is the co-founder of the Democracy Policy Network, a state policy organization focused on raising up ideas that deepen democracy. In 2015, he co-founded Getaway, a company that provides simple, unplugged escapes to tiny cabins outside of major cities. His 2018 Harvard Law School graduation speech, “A Counterculture of Commitment,” has been viewed more than 30 million times.
Pete is also the author of Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission, a book on reviving Harvard Law School’s public interest mission, and the co-author of How To Get Away: Finding Balance in our Overworked, Overcrowded, Always-On World, a book articulating Getaway’s philosophy of balancing technology and disconnection, city and nature, and work and leisure. His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Daily News, Aeon, The Guardian, Fast Company, America Magazine, and The Falls Church News-Press.
Tickets for Valley Health Business at the Bloom presented by Top of Virginia Regional Chamber are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and local businesses partner with Sherando High School Art Department students on Festival-inspired coloring book
Winchester, VA – Coloring book enthusiasts are in for a special treat this spring thanks to a partnership between the Sherando High School art department and Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®. Last year SHS art teacher, Jillian Legge, approached the Festival with the idea of a community project and fundraiser for her students to design a Festival-inspired coloring book highlighting popular Apple Blossom events. “This project is so much more than just learning in the classroom. It showcases the artistic talent of the students in our schools and helps raise funds for our program. Most importantly, it has been an incredible self-esteem booster for the students and provides an opportunity to bring joy to the community,” Legge stated. The high school art department has a strong need to raise funds for upgrades like new pottery wheels, light tables for image transfers, art supplies, educational experiences, and trips for the students. Engaging the next generation of festivalgoers continues to be a priority for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and this partnership has opened another door to working with and supporting local students. This project has proven to be a perfect fit for both organizations.
High school participation has been an integral part of the Festival since its inception. High school bands march in our parades, showcasing their musical talents. Elementary students sing and perform on stage during the Coronation of Queen Shenandoah. The coloring book project reveals the incredible artistic talents and shares a glimpse of their personal interests. SHS student, Connor Sanders shared, “In creating the 10K race page, I saw this as an opportunity to combine my love of art with my love for sports. I wanted it to be more than a coloring page, allowing for creative expression where each person can incorporate their own drawings by adding faces to the runners, as well as bib numbers."
Students used a variety of techniques and drawing styles including hand and digitally drawn. Hand drawn art was created on paper and then digitally uploaded while the digitally drawn art was captured on tablets and computers using a stylus. Some student design inspiration came through shared event and venue photos, while others ventured out to capture photos of the landscape to incorporate into their art. SHS art student Annalise Sison described her inspiration as, “For my piece in the coloring book, I started by looking up different Apple Blossom parade floats. Once I picked one, I went to downtown Winchester and took pictures of the Handley Library. Using older images of the parade float I chose and my photos of the library as references, I drew out a rough idea of the coloring book page. After that, I uploaded the sketch onto my computer and used it as an outline to draw my final piece digitally on my art tablet through Medibang Paint. I don't have much experience with drawing architecture, so this was a good experience for me, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity!”
Twenty-seven Sherando High School artists ranging from freshmen to seniors shared their talents in the production of the Festival coloring book and students approached local businesses requesting their financial support and being distribution outlets for the project. Four seniors in the art department recognize that they are paving the way for the next generation of art students and helping to enhance the classroom experience. These seniors understand that this project will support new resources for the classroom for years to come. SHS Senior Alleigh Nowell stated, "As a senior, I was excited for the opportunity to help contribute to a better art program for my younger brother who will be taking art as a freshman next year."
Art students who participated in the coloring book project had such a great experience that many are volunteering at the Festival’s Souvenir Store and helping spruce up the floats for the Grand Feature Parade.
Coloring books will be sold for $10/each. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the coloring books will support the Sherando High School art department. Books are on sale at the following locations beginning on Monday, March 20, 2023: Sherando High School, West Oaks Farm Market, Richards Fruit Market, Winchester Book Gallery, Lantz’s Pharmacy and Spring Valley Farmers Market. Books will be on sale at the Apple Blossom Souvenir Store in the Apple Blossom Mall in early April.
Special thanks to the generous financial support provided by Lantz’s Pharmacy, Kingspan, Commercial Press, United Bank, Stephens City Family Dentistry, Gore’s Meats, West Oaks Farm Market, Marker Miller Orchards, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®.
For more information, visit www.thebloom.com.
96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® – The Astins Return. Bella Astin to reign as Queen Shenandoah XCVI
Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President Sharen Gromling is pleased to announce that Isabella Louise Astin has accepted the role of Queen Designate XCVI for the 2023 Festival. Known to family and friends as “Bella, the third daughter of Sean and Christine Astin who resides with her family in California will be returning to Winchester.
This year’s theme: LIVE. LOVE. BLOOM reflects the love of the Bloom community as it nears 100 years of celebrating. How very appropriate it is that the Festival continues to make connections with those the community learned to love over the years and celebrities who loved the Festival back. As the area gets ready to welcome Bella Astin as its new queen, take a look back at the “Astin years.”
In 2004 Sean Astin was the Festival’s Grand Marshal. It was a coup for the Festival as Astin had just finished the three Lord of the Rings films and was known, additionally, for his roles in Goonies and Rudy. As a family man whose daughter, Bella, was not born until July of the following year, he and the Festival began a relationship. The relationship has lasted nearly 20 years. Ten years later, 2014, the Astins returned to Winchester for Alexandra Louise Astin, Ali, to become Queen. Her sister, Elizabeth, followed four years later as Queen in 2018.
This year as Isabella Louise Astin will become the third Astin daughter to be Queen, her father, Sean, winner of multiple acting awards, her mother, Christine, who is an Academy Award nominated producer, and her two sisters will watch as Bella takes the stage on May 5 to be crowned.
Bella is a senior at Oaks Christian High School. Her interests include, as well as her usual studies, acting, photography, and film. She is a FemStem student which raises women’s voices in science, technology, engineering and math. She volunteers at the local animal shelter and often photographs the puppies looking for their “forever homes.”
Bella is an activist for animal rights and for the environment. Bella interned with the Felidae Conservation Fund to help wildcats in the California landscape. Her inspirations are Jane Goodall and Steve Irwin and Bella hopes to produce documentaries of animals in need around the world. Bella envisions herself behind the camera focused on animals.
Queen-designate Bella will attend the Village at Orchard Ridge Queen’s Dinner held in her honor at 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 4. She will appear at various Festival events on Friday, May 5, prior to her crowning at the all-new production of the traditional majestic Coronation, presented by Morgan Orthodontics, showcasing the talent of the youth in her court. She will ride in the Hang 10 Car Wash Firefighters’ Parade on Friday and then dance evening away at the Realty ONE Group Old Towne Queen’s Ball, presented by Insurance Center of Winchester held in her honor. Queen Bella will reign over the Glo Fiber Grand Feature Parade on Saturday as she sits on her throne atop the Queen’s float accompanied by her maids of honor, little maids and pages.
The Astins are eager to return to Winchester to Live. Love. Bloom once more.
For the full Festival schedule, go to www.thebloom.com for all the events, times, tickets, and other festival information.
Sharen Gromling, President of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is pleased to announce 1987 Miss America, Kellye Cash as the keynote speaker for the Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods/Musselman's.
As the first child of retired Navy Captain and Mrs. Roy Cash, Jr., Kellye learned at an early age of her need for Christ. Her father's career as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot took them all over the country and even overseas. It was during the Vietnam Conflict that Kellye realized that even when Dad came home, there would still be an emptiness in her life and that emptiness could only be filled with Jesus Christ. At a small revival in Escondido, CA, Kellye asked Christ to come into her life, and often says this: She found a Father who never went to sea, a Friend who loved her just the way that she was with all her the quirkiness that comes from being a musician, and she found Forgiveness no matter what she did or was going to do.
Following her year as Miss America 1987 which included performances with her great-uncle Johnny Cash, Bob Hope, and Lee Greenwood, Kellye returned to the University of Memphis to continue her studies and launch her career as a performer and speaker. Kellye continued her community service platform and substance-abuse awareness by becoming the first spokesperson for the Governor’s Alliance for a Drug-free Tennessee, which became the official Miss Tennessee platform.
She works in the Bethel University Music Department as music director, a piano/voice teacher, a concert artist, and as a musical director for community theatre productions.
Recently Kellye played Patsy Cline, a role she’s become known for, in her 13th production and/or tour of ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE.
The Festival Prayer Brunch presented by Knouse Foods will be held at Fellowship Bible Church, 3217 Middle Road, Friday, May 5, 2023, from 11 am to 1 pm. Tickets at $40 are available at www.thebloom.com/events.
Michael W. Smith with special guest, Cochren & Co. to perform live at the 96th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®
Winchester, VA – The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® is excited to announce that Grammy, Dove, and America Music Award winner Michael W. Smith will perform live on Sunday afternoon, May 7, 2023 with special guest Cochren & Co. The concert is proudly presented by Clean Water of Virginia and will take place on the Tolley Dental Zone stage at the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center on the campus of Shenandoah University. Enjoy an afternoon of uplifting music by one of the most decorated Contemporary Christian artists of all time!
Michael W. Smith has been releasing new music regularly and performing around the world to sold-out crowds for the last 35+ years. During his storied career, he's written and recorded over 36 No. 1 songs, been bestowed with three GRAMMY® Awards and 45 Dove Awards, one American Music Award, was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has sold more than 15 million albums. Amassing an in-depth catalog of achievements, Smith was also honored with a star-studded tribute concert in Nashville, TN to celebrate his 35 No. 1s, by a myriad of legendary performers. In 2021, he released a re-envisioned live version of his #1 highest-selling album of all time, Worship, in honor of its 20th anniversary. His critically acclaimed studio album A Million Lights and live worship album Surrounded have together become his 30th and 31st Top 10 hits on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart, more than any other solo artist in history. More than just an outstanding songwriter and performer, Smith has given back to the global community throughout his career. Smith has raised funds to battle AIDS in Africa, started Rocketown, a safe haven for young people in Tennessee to meet and find hope; and has helped more than 70,000 children through Compassion International. He has also written several bestselling books, including Old Enough To Know and Friends Are Friends Forever.
The Festival also welcomes, special guest, Cochren & Co. to the Tolley Dental Zone stage on Sunday afternoon, May 7. Michael Cochren is a singer/songwriter and worship leader born and raised in a small Indiana town. After graduating school, Cochren began playing music across the country with a band of friends under the name Cochren & Co. With hope filled lyrics and timeless melodies, Cochren & Co. blur the lines between American pop, soft rock, and soul/blues to create a sound all their own.
Dove Award Nominated Cochren & Co. have toured coast to coast accumulating a loyal following of new listeners wherever they go. Their debut full-length album Don’t Lose Hope was released on Gotee Records in 2021 and includes Billboard Top 10 Radio Hits Church (Take Me Back), One Day, and Who Can. The title-track Don’t Lose Hope was featured in a new episode of CBS’s MacGyver. On February 3, 2023 Cochren & Co. released their sophomore album Running Home. Michael Cochren recently
shared with fans, “I started the process for this album with the desire to expand our borders sonically and deepen the honesty of our lyrics. It was a true joy to create, and I pray it brings you joy, hope, and some windows down cranked up stereo FUN as you listen.” With a full touring schedule, including the TobyMac “Hits Deep Tour” and the release of their new album, Cochren & Co. is only getting started.
Tickets to Michael W. Smith with special guest, Cochren & Co., presented by Clean Water of Virginia, are available online at www.thebloom.com. Tickets range from $15.00 to $70.00. Doors to the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center open at Noon with Cochren & Co. taking the stage at 2:00 pm. Ticketholders are encouraged to arrive early to grab lunch from a broad selection of food vendors.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival®, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the beauty of springtime and the apple blossoms in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley through events and initiatives that enhance community spirit and showcases our local agricultural heritage.