MLN-VVAAoct16-14With a touch of autumn in the air and harvest moon on the wane, Paul Benedict presents a reading of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery on Tuesday, October 21, at 6 p.m.  This free event is donated to the community by Benedict as an opportunity for all to become re-acquainted with the American classic written by 19th century author, Washington Irving.  As Benedict reads this short story aloud, he magically allows the audience to use their own listening skills to bring to life to the imagery and characters from two hundred years ago.

This extraordinary performance is suited for all ages, from young teens upward. Mr. Benedict’s program will last about an hour and a half, with light refreshments served during intermission.  Gallery doors open at 5:30pm, and seating is limited to 55 guests.  No advance reservations are accepted.   While admission is free, donations to the VVAA community art program and the “Mesquite Reads” initiative are gratefully accepted.

Irving’s story is set in early America.  It tells a timeless tale of a hapless young man, Ichabod Crane, who hopes to marry into wealth by wooing a rich man’s daughter.  Crane has stiff competition from the local yokel, ‘Brom Bones, as he attempts to win young Katrina Van Tassel’s hand at the harvest dance.  Rebuffed by Katrina, Ichabod dejectedly leaves the dance.  The plot thickens as he rides home to Sleepy Hollow, passing through the woods purportedly inhabited by Revolutionary War ghosts.

Paul Benedict is a seasoned member of the Virgin Valley Theatre Group who has appeared in six local productions.  His inspiration for presenting this reading of “Sleepy Hollow” comes from a line in last year’s production of “Murder Inn,” in which his character receives the compliment, “You know, I just loved the way you read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that night at the Longfellow Inn.”  Benedict is an ardent promoter of the Theatre Group, and tickets for VVTG’s comedy, “Nana’s Naughty Knickers,” will be for available for purchase before his presentation.

An accomplished actor and public speaker, Air Force Veteran Benedict has been invited to speak at numerous community patriotic events, including “Remember 9/11” and “1000 Flags Over Mesquite,” both annual programs of the Exchange Club of Mesquite. He has over 20 years experience as a competitive speaking coach, has conducted training seminars for hundreds of participants, and has addressed gatherings of over 1000 convention attendees.

Benedict’s performance is sponsored by Virgin Valley Artists Association, which provides this program in support of community art education and early reading.  VVAA operates the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery and promotes the power of the arts to build a better community.  VVAA encourages learning for the public school students of the Valley through its free art classes and its student art show at the gallery, and awards scholarships for post-high school studies in the arts.  The organization offers art education to all age groups through its art and pottery classes, free kids’ and senior art classes, and frequent lectures, cultural events and gatherings at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery.

The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery sells original local artwork. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Located at 15 W. Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite Nevada, the Gallery is currently showing “Dusty Trails,” an exhibition honoring Nevada’s 150th anniversary, and offers a benefit silent auction sale of nine watercolor paintings by artist Joyce Burke.  Phone 702-346-1338, or see, and VVAA’s Facebook page.