Preservation Commission Announces Annual Award Winners, Honors David Boyce

The Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission recognized its 2012 historic preservation award winners on Thursday.  The Barns of Rose Hill, along with its visionary, Diana Kincannon, both received awards. Holy Cross Abbey and Dorian Sono Luminus recording studios of Boyce were also recognized. The ceremony also included Virginia House of Delegates member Randall Minchew who presented a formal resolution honoring the late David Boyce to Boyce’s family.

More than thirty people met at Berryville’s historic Battletown Inn for the annual award ceremony honoring individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to preserving Clarke County’s historical character.

“Today we are here to recognize individuals and entities that have made significant efforts to capture the history and events that have shaped this county,” said Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission chairman John K. Bieschke. “Local government is so key to this kind of effort. We are very fortunate to have a wonderful Board of Supervisors that has supported so many preservation initiatives.”

Delegate Randy Minchew reads a Virginia Assembly resolution honoring the life of the late David Boyce - Photo Edward Leonard

Virginia Tenth District delegate Randy Minchew, who opened the meeting by reading a Virginia Assembly resolution honoring former Oatlands executive director David Boyce, agreed with Bieschke.

“Clarke County, more than any other jurisdiction, knows what it is, knows what is important to it and knows where it wants to go,” Minchew told the group “and that is the operational definition of governmental integrity. Thank you for your awareness of our great history and making it part of your community’s soul.”

Minchew, who became a personal friend of David Boyce while working with him to expand the land holdings of Loudoun County’s Oatlands Foundation, said that both the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate passed the resolution he authored recognizing Boyce’s life-long community service and commitment to historic preservation.

“I got to know David while we worked together in Loudoun County,” Minchew said smiling. “But I didn’t fully know about the Clarke County side of David’s life until I attended his memorial service here in Berryville. I would have loved to have been part of his occasional trips down the Shenandoah River that I heard about.”

With Boyce’s brother and sister in attendance at the meeting, Minchew read the resolution honoring and celebrating Boyce’s life.

“David Boyce proved that historic preservation is fun,” Minchew told the audience.

With the tribute to Boyce’s community spirit in the air, Historic Preservation Commission member Marty Hiatt presented Holy Cross Abbey Abbott Father Robert Barnes with the 2012 Stewardship Award.

Holy Cross Abbey Abbott Father Robert Barnes accepts Stewardship Award from Historic Preservation Commission chairman John Bieschke - Photo Edward Leonard

“In 1950 the Community of Cistercians of the Strict Observance purchased Cool Spring Farm to establish the monastery,” Hiatt said. “The monastery, which is also the site of the largest Civil War battle in Clarke County, has spent the last sixty-two years maintaining a working farm and preserving its historic resources.”

Hiatt congratulated Barnes on recent environmental initiatives by the monastic community to protect streams running through the property as well protection of the property through a pending open space easement.

“It is a thrill for us to get this award,” Barnes said in receiving the honor. “It’s quite unexpected.”

The Historic Preservation Leadership Award went to Diana Kincannon for her visionary leadership in turning two dilapidated barns in downtown Berryville into Clarke County’s premiere arts and visitor center.

“Diana Kincannon took on the impossibility of restoring two abandoned barns by raising $2.4M for a community arts and education center,” said Commission member Page Carter in presenting the award. “It was a pure labor of love.”

Carter commended Kincannon for “keeping her eye on the prize and her resourcefulness in finding ways to raise the needed funds.”

Susi Bailey with Historic Preservation Commission Chairman John Bieschke - Photo Edward Leonard

Barns of Rose Hill board member Susi Bailey accepted the award on Kincannon’s behalf.

Barns of Rose Hill board member Ann Lesman accepted a Certificate of Merit on behalf of the Barns of Rose Hill organization. Commission member Betsy Fields praised the Barns of Rose Hill, which formed in 2004, to create a “unique and beautiful arts and visitor center.”

“The organization has given the community a wonderful art gallery, performance and meeting space in a way that recognizes and maintains the agricultural heritage of Clarke County,” Fields said.

Commission vice chairman Tom Gilpin presented Dorian Sono Luminus recording studio president Dan Shores with a Certificate of Merit award for transforming Boyce, Virginia’s vacant Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel into a world-class classical music recording facility.

Gilpin said when the original church building was destroyed by fire in 1916 it was replaced by the current stone building in 1920. As the needs of the Episcopal Church changed the building was later sold in 2011.

Board of Directors Chairman Ann Lesman accepted an award on behalf of the Barns of Rose Hill - Photo Edward Leonard

Shores said that he decided to purchase the building because Dorian Sono Luminus had outgrown its production facility at Ayrshire Farm in Upperville.

“The building has very good sound recording qualities and we’re pleased to be part of the Boyce community,” Shores said.

Gilpin, whose family has lived in the Boyce area for decades, said that preservation of Emmanuel Episcopal Chapel had special meaning for him.

“It’s very gratifying to me because my great-grandmother was the driving force in the construction of the building,” Gilpin said.

Shores said that he plans an open house for the community once renovations have been completed to the nearly 100-year-old structure.

“We’re looking forward to meeting all of our neighbors and showing them that beautiful music is being made here,” Shores said.

(l-r) Vice chairman Tom Gilpin, Sono Luminus president Dan Shores, Chairman John Bieschke - Photo Edward Leonard


  1. Congratulations to all the recipients! Every one well-deserved. I love that Emmanuel will ring with the sounds of Bach, Beethoven and Ravel–what a wonderful re-use of the building! We all still miss David Boyce and the honor was on point. Protecting the watershed and the land at Cool Spring is continuing the preservation of Clarke. The Barns has become a focal point of arts for our community. Honoring efforts like these projects helps Clarke continue to be the ‘rural jewel’ of the Valley.

  2. George Archibald says:

    All the honorees are heroes to everyone who loves this community’s historic and cultural tapestry. Of all the terrific pictures with Ed Leonard’s good story, a favorite for the mass of everyday Main Street people must be that of Susi Bailey, who was seen throughout the Barns renovation as the person who kept everything coordinated and flowing along. Hip, hip, hooray.

  3. Mimi Stein says:

    It is awfully ironic to see Randy Minchew — who has done so much to undercut and attack preservation efforts in Loudoun County — claiming to be interested in local government’s efforts to preserve their history. Gee, Randy, how about your refusal to work with the owners of Oak Hill to preserve the integrity of the entrance and viewshed to James Monroe’s historic home? Or gee, how about that effort to elect a Republican Board that would defund Loudoun’s PDR program? Give me a break.