Vol. 56: January/February 2018 Newsletter
Over the holidays (with the added psychological permission of a recent significant birthday and an honorable but numerically ordinary anniversary), my wife Julie and I treated ourselves to an almost-two-week trip to Florence and London. Since both of us are heavily involved in the arts, our itinerary included concerts and plays, museums and galleries, architecture and history, and of course a major comparative research project in the art of gastronomy (Florence wins, but London would surprise you!).
I mention this for two reasons (well, three, if you count the happiness that remembering the details of the trip induces on a cold January day). First, to reflect on the capacity of the human race to create wonders. Standing in front of Leonardo’s “Adoration of the Magi” or Michelangelo’s "David" in Florence, walking around Brunelleschi’s great dome, seeing some of Galileo’s original telescopes with which he changed the way we see the universe—and all of this within a twenty minute walking radius—is both humbling and ennobling, recalling what we are able to do at our best, and urging us onward in our own ways. A corollary observation (one that is especially relevant today, perhaps) is that there was a great blurring of the lines between art and science, engineering and aesthetics, mathematics and philosophy. The Florentines seem to have discovered STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) long before we did!
The second observation, from attending a beautiful all-Beethoven concert on Christmas Eve at the lovely 150-year old Teatro Verdi in Florence as well as seven terrific plays and musicals in London, is an affirmation of the power of the performing arts to bring people together and the importance of a sense of place. These old-world cities have had the benefit of hundreds of years of art and performance around which to organize. The genius shows, and the places are richer in every way because of it.
At the Hylton Center (which, by the way, emerges as the equal or better than any of the famous halls that we attended), we are in the middle of the eighth season of a project that should be measured in centuries: showcasing genius, creating community, making place. At this turn of a new year, that’s something to marvel at as well, as we tackle an ancient and enduring task with new-world energy and vitality. When you come to the Hylton Center to enjoy a play or a concert, an art exhibition or a seminar, you’re also helping build a civilization. No pressure. See you in the theater!
– Executive Director and Dean
Louis Armstrong penned the lyrics "Grab your coat and get your hat. Leave your worries on the doorstep!" and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. The Hylton invites you to leave your winter woes on our doorstep and enjoy these exciting upcoming performances. January brings the Celtic culture experience to Merchant Hall with Dublin Irish Dance’s Stepping Out (1/28), a high-energy extravaganza of sights and sounds. February also dazzles (all ages!) with the Hylton Family Series sensation The Hollywood Special FX Show (2/3). Discover the science and secrets to making movie magic,”complete with explosive effects and more! Next, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra (2/8) captivates in an All Beethoven Program! that combines the traditional with the iconoclastic and includes Beethoven’s famed Eroica Symphony, Egmont Overture, Op. 84, and Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the American Festival Pops Orchestra (2/10) sets an amorous mood with a program of romantic standards. This concert features some of the 20th century’s most popular love songs and film scores, plus, treat your valentine to an unforgettable date with a special Hylton Center Valentine’s Day Package! For $85 per couple, receive two tickets to the concert, take a picture in front of a Valentine’s Day themed backdrop, and enjoy two glasses of champagne & chocolates before the concert or during intermission.
Mid-February, take in Walnut Street Theatre’s production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (2/11), a hilarious romp about everyone’s favorite detective and his most famous case. Or, for an evening of folk fusion on the Hylton’s new American Roots Series, don’t miss Ten Strings and a Goatskin (2/17), a dynamic young music trio from Prince Edward Island. February concludes with the Matinee Idylls series performance Soprano Soiree (2/27), an afternoon of arias, duets, and trios sung by three acclaimed sopranos.
Receive up to 15% off with our Spring Sampler! It’s easy just order tickets to three or more events in the Hylton Presents spring season and enjoy these benefits: prime seats, free ticket exchanges, savings up to 15% off, additional discounts throughout the season, and an exclusive helpline for personal assistance! To order your subscription today, call 703-993-7759 or visit HyltonCenter.org | Get Tickets Now
On Sunday, February 25 enjoy the free workshop-format presentation the 100th Meridian Project by students and faculty of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). This powerful work examines the 19th century roots of the current water crisis in the American West and is directed by both Rick Davis, CVPA Dean/Executive Director of the Hylton Center and Kevin Murray, Theater Program Manager and Performance Faculty. The100th Meridian Project explains why good science sometimes leads to bad policy through examining the 19th century roots of the current water crisis in the American West.
Take a journey through history with students and faculty and learn why John Wesley Powell's explorations of the Colorado River and the arid regions of the west led to a series of certain recommendations about land use, agriculture, settlement, and irrigation that were almost all rejected or ignored. The reasons why, and the human tragedies that followed, form the main axis of this multi-disciplinary, multi-media performance piece, presented in workshop format and followed by a panel discussion/audience Q&A. Learn More
The Hylton Center’s Veterans and the Arts Initiative continues into spring 2018 with both new and familiar fun programs, including workshops and guitar instruction for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, military caregivers and the community! The Dominion Energy Veterans Guitar Workshop Series “January Jam” Workshop (1/30) offers the chance to jam out with instructor Glen McCarthy and refresh your guitar skills in preparation for the start of the spring Dominion Energy Veterans Guitar Workshop Series 10-week lessons that begin on 2/20 and run through 4/24. Guitar lessons are FREE to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers, and are also open to the general public for a $250 fee.
Other spring Veterans and the Arts events include Poetry Writing Workshops (1/27 and 3/3). The 1/27 workshop is in cooperation with Armed Services Arts Partnership and the workshop on 3/3 is led by Dr. Frederick Foote, M.D. (Captain, Medical Corps, USN, Ret.). Both are free and open to ages 18 and older.
In March, Cheryl Regan (Exhibition Director, Library of Congress) presents the lecture Echoes of the Great War (3/8) an examination of the making of the Library’s WWI exhibition and exploration of the upheaval of world war as Americans confronted it both at home and abroad.
Also in March, artist Martin J. Cervantez, Master Sergeant, USA (Ret.) presents a Meditative Dots Art Workshop (3/17), a free, hands-on art activity open to ages 14 and older. No prior art experience is necessary and supplies for the class are provided. The Veterans and the Arts Initiative concludes its spring offerings with the Second Annual Heroes’ Voices National Poetry Contest Reading (6/13), an evening of live music and poetry that explores many perspectives on war, peace, and the soldier’s experience. This evening is the culminating event of the Heroes’ Voices National Veterans Poetry Contest, a cooperative venture between Heroes’ Voices in San Francisco, CA and George Mason University in Manassas, VA. More Information
The Hylton Center’s American Roots Series features concerts with the best of bluegrass, folk, and more. This Spring, see ensembles Ten Strings and a Goatskin (2/17) and Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen (4/20) with tickets at just $25 ($30 the day of the performance). Enjoy a cafe-style setting in the intimate Gregory Family Theater with food and beverage for purchase while you catch your favorite Roots bands. Ten Strings and a Goatskin (2/17) delivers the musical goods in an evening of folk fusion by this young acoustic power trio from Prince Edward Island. The musicians, who perform on violin, guitar, and percussion, transform tradition with vigor, curiosity, and sparks of goofy humor. Don’t miss this performance of traditional and original music inspired by the musicians’ Atlantic Canadian histories and roots and infused with pop and world rhythms.In April, Grammy-nominated band Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen (4/20) brings its progressive bluegrass sound to the Hylton Center in an exploration of new sounds and concepts rooted in tradition. Performing on the mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, and vocals, the band combines its collective musical mastery with traditional bluegrass in a “bluegrass/newgrass stew” of instrumental, vocal, and songwriting talent that has inspired a massive shift in the bluegrass paradigm. Get Tickets Now
Over the winter break, Dominion Energy presented a check of $15,000 to the Hylton Center for the Dominion Energy Veterans Guitar Workshop Series, a donation that helps support the Hylton’s Veterans and the Arts Initiative. Guitar lessons are free to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers and $250 for the general public. Musicians of all skill levels are eligible to participate in a ten-week series of lessons with Glen McCarthy, guitar instructor at George Mason University. We thought you might enjoy the following feedback from past workshops:
“Thank you so much for facilitating the Veterans’ guitar workshop tonight at the Center. It was great to meet the doctor and socialize and make music with fellow Veterans. I'm now committed to becoming a better guitar player and hope to continue with more (of) these events. Thank you again.”
"Class has been great. I’m enjoying class and getting what I wanted from it, since I have a background in music. I never really learned notation as it relates to the guitar. This class has been piecing things together for me."
The Hylton Center Veterans and the Arts Initiative has demonstrated how the arts present an ideal platform for bringing together Veteran service organizations, community organizations, arts groups, and local government for the purpose of engaging with Veterans and their families in Northern Virginia. With increasing financial support, program visibility, and positive feedback from Veteran participants, the Veterans and the Arts Initiative is poised to continue along this exciting growth trajectory as it looks ahead to the implementation of future programs.
During the holiday season, Performing Arts for Kids (PAK) held a raffle in the Hylton Center Didlake Foyer to support PAK program initiatives. PAK is excited and proud to announce that Hylton patron Marisa filled out the winning ticket and is the official carousel raffle winner! Marisa, who is a Great Aunt, had some fun with the prize and played holiday elf to her niece, 5 year-old Annika (pictured) who was clearly delighted to receive this musical carousel, a gift Marisa knows her niece will “cherish always.” The beautiful carousel was donated to PAK for use as a fundraising item. We at the Hylton Center are, of course, BIG fans of giving the gift of music. Learn more about PAK and their gift of the arts to students in the community.