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Vol. 69: May 2019 Newsletter

Rick  Davis,  CVPA  Dean  at  Mason  UniversityDirector's Corner

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May...

So says Shakespeare in Sonnet 18, where he compares thee to a summer’s day. It remains to be seen whether Mother Nature will live up to her windy billing this year, but the darling buds have bloomed in Virginia (probably a little ahead of the Bard’s timetable in 17th century England) and we’re enjoying the “lovely and temperate” spring hereabouts, before that inevitable summer stretch in which “too hot the eye of heaven shines.”

One of the things that is blooming, spring-like, as a harbinger of good things to come is our Education and Rehearsal Wing. If you drop by the Hylton Center for a show, a rehearsal, a meeting, a class, an art exhibit, or a ceremony (or to purchase your 2019-20 subscription series, see below!) sometime soon, take a few extra minutes and look at the beautiful addition to our favorite arts center. In the Didlake Grand Foyer you’ll find poster-size renderings of the design concept that now, with the structure in place and under roof, you can really relate to the building in progress. With continued good weather (spare us those “rough winds” please!), the construction crew is getting past the winter blues and keeping us on track for a fall 2019 opening.

Watch this space for news of various opportunities to tour, cut ribbons, inaugurate, initiate, and otherwise make much of this major enhancement of our capabilities. You, the community of “artists, audiences, and lifelong learners” that we pledge to serve in our Vision Statement, will be the primary users and beneficiaries of this beautiful new space. It is the completion of the dream we all shared some twenty years ago when the first concrete (well, whiteboard and post-it) ideas about this center began to take shape.

Shakespeare ends every sonnet with a rhyming couplet, so here’s my homage:

A place to dance, to act, to learn, to sing —
We welcome all to celebrate our Wing.

Now back to prose (but on a poetic subject).

The new season

Elsewhere in this newsletter you’ll see information about the amazing 2019-20 season that we announced not too long ago, to a record-setting audience of Friends of the Hylton Center and a warm, enthusiastic (dare I say Friendly?) reception. I said then, and will quote myself to go on record again here, that “this is without a doubt our strongest lineup of artists ever, across the board from Hylton Presents to Hylton Center EXTRA! and everything in between. There is depth, breadth, tradition, diversity, and innovation throughout the program. We are developing cherished long-term relationships with certain artists and ensembles—something characteristic of the major arts centers in America—while bringing new voices to the stage in dynamic counterpoint. This season represents a most exciting new chapter in our ever-evolving dialogue with the communities we serve.”

I hope you are as thrilled as I am by the great work that awaits us next season in our various series and in the seasons of the Arts Partners (also featured in our big brochure) and all of our Affiliates. Make this the year that you try something new and add a show or two to your regular theatergoing. I’ll see you there!

Rick Davis — Dean and Executive Director

The 2019/2020 Hylton Center Season is Here!

Gala  celebrationWe are excited to announce our new 2019-2020 season of mainstage performances, featuring a diverse lineup of artists and ensembles across genres! Hylton Presents brings a remarkable season of performing arts to the Hylton Center with an unbeatable showcase of talent from renowned national and international artists. Enjoy the bold and brassy sound of The Hot Sardines (9/21) and the famous sketch comedy troupe The Second City (10/4). The Hylton Presents series continues with the return of pianist virtuoso and consummate storyteller Jeffrey Siegel in his popular Keyboard Conversations performances on October 5 and April 11, as well as an innovative concert featuring cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Simone Dinnerstein (10/13). Direct from the People’s Republic of China, Cirque Mei (10/24) wraps up the month of October with amazing feats of agility, strength, and poise. In November, enjoy the vibrant, action-packed Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue (11/15) and Aquila Theatre’s breathtaking new adaptation of Homer’s classic, The Odyssey (11/24). The holiday months treat audiences to family-friendly, festive performances including A Chanticleer Christmas (12/1); Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy (12/8) in A Celtic Family Christmas; and the American Festival Pops Orchestra’s Holiday Pops: Songs of the Season (12/13). The 2020 new year ushers in luscious Russian classics from the Siberian Symphony Orchestra (1/31) and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine (2/23); guitar phenom MILOS (3/8); swirling colors, music, and dance of Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México de Silvia Lozano (3/22), and an evening of musical theater favorites featuring Broadway luminaries Laura Osnes, Susan Egan, and Courtney Reed in Broadway Princess Party (3/29). Single tickets go on sale August 1. To gain access to Hylton Presents tickets now, become a Hylton Center subscriber. More details are available at HyltonCenter.org

But Wait, There's More!

Gala  celebrationThe Hylton Presents series is just one of four dynamic series presented by the Hylton Center each season. Back by popular demand, Hylton Family Series continues to introduce young audience members to the performing arts in an accessible, affordable, and fun way. The series launches into space with Lightwire Theater Company’s innovative glow-in-the dark theatrical experience Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey (10/6), followed by the slapstick stunts, magic, and comedy of Montreal’s Circo Comedia (11/17). The treasured storybook The Rainbow Fish (2/9) is brought to life by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, and the series concludes with a concert by the four-time Parents’ Choice Award-winning and Grammy® Award-winning children’s band, The Okee Dokee Brothers (4/26).

In its sixth season,  Matinee Idylls  presents talented performers from across Virginia, including flute/cello duo Terra Voce (10/22) with Maria Yefimova on piano; Brass 5 (11/12); the Tidewater Guitar Quartet (2/25); and A Taste of Opera (3/31) featuring some of Virginia Opera’s finest talents. The popular American Roots Series also returns to the Hylton Center with its trademark up-close, down-home concerts featuring the best of bluegrass, country, and blues with the Bumper Jacksons (Note: this performance date has been moved from 10/26/19 to 5/15/20.); The Crooked Road on Tour with New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters and Martha Spencer (11/23); Kevin Burt and Big Medicine (2/22); and I Draw Slow (4/4). Single tickets go on sale August 1, however, you can gain access to these tickets now by becoming a Hylton Center subscriber! More details are available at HyltonCenter.org

Subscribers get "EXTRA" Benefits

PAK  2019  ornamentOne more reason to subscribe to the new Hylton Center season is exclusive access to the following Hylton Center EXTRA! performances: Grammy Award®-winning country and gospel music legends Larry, Steve, and Rudy—The Gatlin Brothers (9/22), and husband and wife banjo duo sensation Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn (4/24). The Gatlin Brothers celebrate six decades of music and family in this new performance highlighting their raw, pure harmonies honed after a lifetime of experience performing together. Don’t miss this evening of hit songs and an inside peek into the stories behind the songs. In spring 2019, banjo extraordinaire and 15-time Grammy Award-winner Béla Fleck joins forces with banjo icon and spouse Abigail Washburn (they met at a square dance!) to perform an epic concert featuring their unique blend of alternative bluegrass that is both familiar and boundary-pushing.

2019/2020 Hylton Center Friends and subscribers have early access to these newly announced Hylton Center EXTRA! performances. Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase advance tickets now by adding them to your subscription before they go on sale to the public August 1! Contact the Hylton Center Ticket Office for details: 703-993-7700.

Renaissance Woman Sheryl Bass takes the "Pops" Podium

As part of last year’s Hylton Center Gala “Raise the Paddle” fundraising event, the opportunity to guest conduct the American Festival Pops Orchestra was among the auction items. On May 3, the American Festival Pops Orchestra (AFPO) makes good on its promise and welcomes auction participant and guest conductor, Sheryl Bass to the podium. An active member of the Hylton Center Board of Directors and former Vice Mayor and Manassas City Councilwoman, Sheryl Bass is a longtime supporter of the Hylton Center and AFPO. A Manassas resident since 1982, she is a charter member of the GMU Sci-Tech Advisory Board and works as a Practice Manager in her husband’s optometric practice, Drs. Bass and Rose. Sheryl is also a Registered Yoga Teacher, has won awards including 2012 Woman of the Year, City of Manassas; 2013 Citizen of the Year, Manassas Lodge 182; 2014 Lions of Virginia Foundation Distinguished Humanitarian; 2018 Justitia Award, and Woman Attorneys Association, Prince William Chapter.

We were excited to have the opportunity to speak with Sheryl about her love of the arts and upcoming conducting debut. . .

Your love of the arts is apparent as demonstrated in your long-time Hylton Center patronage and new role as a Hylton Center board member. When did you first discover an appreciation for the performing arts?
I have to say that I owe my appreciation for the performing arts to my parents, Frank and Wanda Lukasik, and to all of my extended Polish family in upstate New York and Rhode Island.  I grew up dancing the polka at Polish weddings, taking ballet and dance lessons since I was four years old, and learning to play the piano when I was in middle school. There was always music playing in our house, including polkas, Broadway musicals, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vinton, and so much more. I remember dancing with my folks in our living room, at my grandparents' homes, at parties...and just about anywhere!  My mother could play about any instrument by ear, including her own accordion, and my father played the piano and accordion; he played accordion on the radio in Binghamton, NY, as a young man...Frankie Lukasik, on the polka hour!  And before my parents passed away in 2017, they were still members of the "Polka Lovers Club," in The Villages, Florida. I have my father's accordion sitting by my piano at our house, and I plan to take lessons in the near future!

I have also danced and performed throughout high school and in the modern dance company, Orchesis, at the College of William and Mary; I graduated in 1978 and my dance professors are still my longtime friends. My husband, Robert, and I first met in college, when disco was all the rage, so I have to say that he has been my partner for nearly 41 years!  I have also had the pleasure of performing in many a Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and more, and it has always been a pleasure to perform in the roles of mothers and queens. 'Tis good to be Queen! I consider my role as a yoga teacher to be an extension of my dancing, with the movement and flow in my yoga classes as a choreographed sequence of poses and mindfulness...namaste.

How did you learn about the Hylton Center, and what influenced you to become more involved with the organization?
I have been fortunate to be a part of the GMU community since the campus was in its early stages. I serve as a charter member of the GMU Sci-Tech Campus Advisory Board, and have been a part of the "performing arts center," since conversations began about "the next big idea." The late Delegate Harry J. Parrish, Senator Charles Colgan, Mayor Marvin Gillum (I call them my "Dads.") and so many other influential leaders suggested that I become involved in the planning for a performing arts center, and I am thrilled to be a member of the Hylton Executive Board, representing the City of Manassas. 

What are you most looking forward to about your guest conducting debut with the American Festival Pops Orchestra on May 3?
I still cannot believe that I have been given this exciting opportunity! I do want to thank my friend, Donna Flory, for making this happen.  My husband, Robert, and I have been "fans" of the AFPO and Conductor Tony Maiello, since the Hylton opened almost ten years ago. I am most looking forward to getting to know the Maestro, and once on stage, enjoying the music as it fills the space all around me. Wish me luck!

Don’t miss Sheryl Bass in her conducting debut with the American Festival Pops Orchestra in Movie Music Magic on Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. Learn more

Introduce a Young Person to the Arts this Summer

The Hylton Center’s Summer Performances for Young Audiences kicks off the summer months with a playful and diverse offering of entertainment for young audience members: the perfect opportunity for families and children to enjoy the arts together! In June, three-time Grammy nominee and indie music family favorite Justin Roberts (6/25) navigates the adventures of childhood and parenthood in this endearing and witty performance that landed this talented singer-songwriter on the Today Show. Next up, meet Max Darwin AKA “The Amazing Max,” (7/9) who will leave the whole family breathless with his gravity-defying magic tricks, quirky humor, and boundless energy. The Jabali African Acrobats (7/23) close the series in a high-octane show through percussive music, dancing, and acrobatic stunts. Tickets are just $15 for adults and $10 for children. Learn more

Exclusive Benefits, Uncommon Experiences

The Copper Circle of the Friends of the Hylton Center joins individuals and organizations who are passionate about all forms of art — and who want to keep the arts accessible to all. In addition to ensuring that the Hylton Center continues to serve as the creative commons for the region, this group also enjoys exclusive benefits and uncommon experiences, that include:

  • A celebration opening of each new season at the annual Copper Circle Dinner
  • Wine, beer, coffee, soft drinks, and 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
  • Commemoration of their support 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 Hylton PresentsHylton Family Series, Matinee Idylls and American Roots Series continue to remain vibrant and affordable today and for future generations.

Learn more/Join  or contact Jacque Connor at 703-993-7150 or jconnor8@gmu.edu for more information.

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes of a performing arts venue? Does the world of production hold a unique appeal? This summer, the Hylton Center will offer a one-week technical theater training “boot camp” led by professional Hylton Center staff and guest instructors where participants will learn:

  • Essential skills of technical production
  • Basics of stage lighting, carpentry, rigging, and fly system operation
  • Sound equipment operation for reinforcement and effects
  • Good practices for safe and efficient stage crew operations 

Technical Theater Bootcamp runs July 15 – 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to learners of all ages (15 and up). Successful completion of Technical Theater Boot Camp earns a Certificate of Technical Theater Training and qualifies the holder for consideration for future select crew assignments at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. The deadline for registration is July 11. Registration Fee is $425 per person. For more information on how to apply, email slandess@gmu.edu , call 703-993-9344, or register online. Scholarships available from Performing Arts for Kids (PAK).

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