Vol. 52: September 2017 Newsletter
It’s the first week of the fall semester here at George Mason University, on whose Science & Technology campus the Hylton Center proudly holds court. With all this learning about to be unleashed on 36,000 eager young (and not so young) minds, I’m inspired to think a little about the rich historical taproots of the work we do here at the Hylton, and how that informs our daily lives and practice.
Great civilizations tend to be remembered for, among other things and sometimes principally, their artistic legacies. Painting, poetry, architecture, sculpture, music, drama, dance—and many other forms of expression—help preserve and define a society’s character. They help us understand what a given group of people admired, feared, struggled with, celebrated, loved, and grieved. History—in this case, a combination of luck, fame, intention, intrinsic value, and more luck—has handed down to us the living memory of ancient Athens, the Ming Dynasty, Michelangelo’s Italy, Shakespeare’s England, Mozart’s Europe, Louis Armstrong’s America and so much more that we can learn from and build upon.
It’s important to remember that in almost every case, the artists and citizens of these times and places were not thinking about posterity, but rather making and consuming great works of art because they served a present-tense purpose, filled a right-now need. And that brings me, at last, to the here and now of the Hylton Center’s citizens, artists, and advocates.
In this newsletter you’ll read about several programs, some of them long standing and some brand new, that the citizens and artists of our time and place called into being. Sometimes that call was very direct (see: Matinee Idylls and American Roots Series). Sometimes it came through creative conversations about needs, opportunities, and what the Hylton Center could contribute to our world (see: Veterans and the Arts Initiative, Arts Alive!, the Hylton Family Series). Each one of these cases represents a specific example of how the arts respond to and help shape the life of a community in the present moment, and perhaps begin to build a legacy that future generations will inherit.
And I’ll offer one more under the “advocates” label that fits my theme today quite perfectly: Performing Arts for Kids. This remarkable group of citizen advocates has organized around a mission that has huge positive implications for the present and, perhaps even more profoundly, for the future: making sure that our young people have access to the arts, both as audience members and participants. They’ve served over 18,000 students in a few short years of volunteer fund- and friend-raising, and they work hand-in-glove with us here at the Hylton Center to help us add value to the lives of our young people. I invite you to visit PAK's website to learn more, and look for a feature in this inspiring group in an upcoming newsletter.
I’m looking forward to the crisp days of fall, the many seasons of the Hylton Center getting started, and to the delightful daily tasks of learning from the past, living in the present, and building for the future. And to seeing you in the theater!
– Executive Director and Dean
Image above: Mary Postma (Chair, Performing Arts for Kids) and Rick Davis (Executive Director, Hylton Center and Dean, George Mason University College of Visual and Performing Arts)
The 6th annual Arts Alive! festival returns to the Hylton Center on Sunday, September 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. with a dazzling line up of local arts the entire family will enjoy! Come help celebrate our thriving local arts community with multiple stages of performances indoors and out, hands-on activities and demonstrations, food and craft vendors, and much more. This free festival is presented by the Prince William County Arts Council and the Hylton Center and features something for everyone! Learn More
Sweater weather is just around the bend, which nicely complements our “cool” line up of world-class fall entertainment. The Hylton Center 2017/18 season is sure to delight starting this month with Under the Streetlamp (9/16). Enjoy a dazzling performance of retro hits from the 40s and 50s, complete with slick suits and tight harmonies. Two weeks later, Mannheim Rocket Orchestra (9/26) enchants audiences in a Matinee Idylls lunch hour performance. Take the falling leaves as your cue to get your tickets now to a Hylton season you won’t forget! Learn More
Did you know that the Hylton Center presents a special series designed for children and families that is affordably priced and introduces young people to the performing arts? Explore the 2017/18 Hylton Family Series starting with the award-winning company Pushcart Players as they bring a classic storybook favorite to a new generation in The Velveteen Rabbit, Reborn (10/01). Through the power of love and nursery magic, a young boy transforms his beloved toy into a real rabbit in this enchanting and beloved musical tale. Together, the characters embark on exciting imaginary adventures and learn the true meaning of friendship in the process. Then in November, Enchantment Theatre Company brings to life another delightful book, My Father’s Dragon (11/18). Through use of a distinctive blend of puppets, masks, creative scenic effects, and original music, the charming story unfolds of nine-year-old Elmer Elevator who rescues a baby dragon held captive on Wild Island. Learn More | Get Tickets Now
Tickets for the Hylton’s hot, new American Roots Series are selling fast, and you don’t want to miss out! Enjoy the best of bluegrass, folk, country, blues, and more with artists Annie Stokes / Charm City Junction; Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons; Ten Strings and a Goatskin; and Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. Annie Stokes / Charm City Junction (10/06) kick off this lively Series in a double bill including everything from rootsy fusion--country soul, and city sounds to fast-picking bluegrass and Celtic tunes. Next on the Series: the Northwest roots/blues duo Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons (11/09) charm audiences with a concert of fiddle, banjo, field hollers, and early jazz. In the early spring, the young acoustic power trio Ten Strings and a Goatskin (2/17) performs a mesmerizing fusion of violin, guitar, and percussion inspired by the musicians’ Atlantic Canadian roots. Finally, don’t miss Grammy-nominated band Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen (4/20) in an exploration of new sounds and concepts rooted in tradition. Enjoy an evening with food and beverages available for purchase in the Gregory Family Theater, set cafe-style for a relaxed experience. Each performance is only $25 in advance, $30 the day of the performance, and $80 for the series of four performances. Learn More | Get Tickets Now
On November 11, join us from 1-4 p.m. for a free lively, interactive day of arts experiences open to everyone and designed for Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers in honor of those who have served our country! In its third year at the Hylton Center, this event features community-based resources, interactive music and visual art workshops, an exhibition of Veteran artwork, complimentary refreshments, and more. The day-long celebration is followed by a patriotic concert at 4 p.m. (ticketed) by the American Festival Pops All-Stars, a family-friendly performance that is free to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers. Concert tickets are $15 for the general public. Learn More
The Hylton Center is proud to continue working alongside Performing Arts for Kids (PAK). This 501c3 organization, dedicated to providing children with the opportunity to experience the arts at the Hylton Center, once again offers a commemorative Hylton Center ornament for sale to support PAK’s mission. PAK began its support of Hylton education initiatives in 2013 using funds raised by the Regency at Creekside Arts Group. Its membership has since expanded to Heritage Hunt, Dominion Valley, and other communities within the greater Prince William County region. PAK’s service to young people was so well received from the start that the organization wrote bylaws in 2015 and became a not-for-profit entity after only two short years of grassroots operations. Through a collaboration with the Hylton Center, Prince William County, and Manassas Schools, PAK has sponsored/co-sponsored attendance at Hylton performances for over 18,000 school children, including “Time for Three,” “Quintango,” Manassas Ballet Theatre’s “Colin,” and has offered scholarships for student participation in the Hylton’s Technical Theater Boot Camp and Youth Orchestras of Prince William. In a short time, PAK’s mission statement to “Support the arts in Prince William County and surrounding communities by engaging students in creative experiences through collaboration with the Hylton Performing Arts Center” has become a reality. Last year, PAK was named “Outstanding Arts Organization for Prince William County in 2016.” Learn more about PAK and its contributions to the arts in Prince William County.
Ways to support Performing Arts for Kids (PAK):
- Purchase a keepsake Hylton Center 2017/18 commemorative ornament ($20)
- Purchase raffle tickets ($5 for 1; $10 for 3) for the chance to win a beautiful Carousel
These items (pictured) are available for purchase from PAK in the Didlake Foyer one and a half hours prior to fall 2017 Hylton Presents performances. Ornaments can also be purchased at the Ticket Office during normal hours of operation.
(Images: PAK Fundraisers. From top: Hylton Center 2017 Commemorative Ornament; Carousel Raffle Prize)
This school year students can enjoy world-class performances for just $15 when they purchase 10 or more tickets (accompanied by one adult per 10 students) to the following select Hylton Presents performances comprising a variety of genres:
- Instrumental classics: Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra (10/07), Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra (02/08), American Festival Pops Orchestra (02/10), Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel (04/21)
- Unique & thrilling entertainment: The Martial Artists and Acrobats of Tianjin (11/12), Nobuntu, (11/17),Chanticleer (11/26), Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (02/11)
- Toe-tapping dance: Tango Buenos Aires (10/13), Dublin Irish Dance (01/28)
Ensure an unforgettable arts experience for your student group by calling 703-993-7758. Learn More
The Choose-Your-Own Series option offers all the benefits of subscribing, while also providing the flexibility to select those events that are of greatest interest to you. Performances such as Under the Streetlamp (09/16), Dailey & Vincent (12/10), and Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (02/11) are already selling fast, so don’t miss out! Learn More | Subscribe Now
The Copper Circle of the Friends of the Hylton Center connects individuals and organizations who are passionate about all forms of art and want to keep the arts accessible to all. This select group not only ensures the Hylton Center continues to serve as the creative commons for the region, but also enjoys exclusive benefits and uncommon experiences, such as:
- Celebrating the opening of each new season at the annual Copper Circle Dinner.
- Enjoying wine, beer, coffee and other refreshments with guests and friends in the Lovey Hammel Lounge during all Hylton Presents performances (compliments of Alliant Wealth Advisors).
- Concierge ticketing and seating assistance.
- Commemorating their support of the arts by naming a seat in Merchant Hall. (Benefactor level and above)
For as little as $84 per month, you can join this group of arts enthusiasts whose philanthropic support ensures that the following series, Hylton Presents, Hylton Family Series, Matinee Idylls, and American Roots Series continue to remain vibrant and affordable today and for future generations.