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Botetourt Historical Society Presents Mix of History and Music

Waltye Rasulala

by Priscilla Richardson, MA, JD

Waltye Rasulala will present a program April 8 at the Geraldine Lawson Performing Arts Center, Attic Theater’s home on Rt 220, just outside of Fincastle. You can hear this talented lady sing and read her grandmother’s poetry, and get to know her better.

Rasulala first name, Waltye, come from the feminine form of Walter, after her father, Dr. Walter Winston Johnson, Jr., who practiced medicine in Covington for 50 years. It’s pronounced “wall-tea.”

Despite her life as a Covington native, Rasulala was actually born in Washington, DC. Her mother went there so she could be cared for by the physician her father had studied under at Howard University.

After two degrees from Westminster Choir College, in Princeton NJ, in voice and conducting, she went on to a varied career of TV and church music. Today, she works as music director of the Church of the Nativity in Raleigh, and teaches in a program for students whose parents cannot afford private lessons.

But for the bulk of her career she worked as a producer and on-air talent for live children’s television programs. For the Washington DC show, “We’d finish at 9 AM and start writing the next day’s show.” After three years of this, then came an invitation to do her show at WRAL in Raleigh, which she did for 19 years. Also, she toured with a Broadway show, “Dolly,” presented concerts, did more theater, and worked with a charity that provided arts education for children. She met her late husband during the “Dolly” tour.

The concert at 7:30 PM on April 8 has no admission charge, but the Botetourt Historical Society will accept donations toward its work.

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