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Vol. 70: June/July 2019 Newsletter

Rick  Davis,  CVPA  Dean  at  Mason  UniversityDirector's Corner

It’s that time of the year — the little pause between the end of one season (whether in nature or in the decidedly unnatural world of the theater!) and the beginning of the next. As I write this on a June afternoon, summer’s heat is not yet fully established and the memory of winter is receding. And the anticipated joys of the Hylton Center season to come are beginning to eclipse the cherished moments of the season just past. So allow me to reflect on some favorite Hylton Center memories from the past year and, in so doing, invite you to do the same.

Your hard-working Executive Board, a group of 19 individuals appointed by the members of the Tripartite Agreement that founded the Hylton Center (Prince William County, the City of Manassas, and George Mason University) held a wonderful strategic planning retreat with the staff and other volunteers in February, facilitated by Duncan Webb, an internationally-renowned management consultant who, not coincidentally, did the initial feasibility planning and market research for the Center some fifteen years ago. Duncan’s insights (and the ones he coaxed from all of us in the room) will guide us as we revisit the strategic plan over the coming year. It was also nice to see one of the “godfathers” of the Center return and be impressed — even a little amazed — at how much we have accomplished in our nine years of operation, including the very tangible evidence out front, as the Education and Rehearsal Wing continues to take shape.

The Veterans and the Arts Initiative had a banner year, scoring a legislative victory in Richmond, receiving statewide and national recognition in various forums and conferences, and most importantly, continuing to deliver innovative and impactful programs for our Veterans and Servicemembers and their families. Our Education programs offered amazing opportunities across many genres to thousands of “kids” of all ages from the very young to the — let’s say, not so very young, and increasing accessibility and inclusion as well. Our Hylton Presents, Matinee Idylls, Hylton Family Series, American Roots Series, Summer Performances for Young Audiences, and Hylton Center EXTRA! programs brought a stunning diversity of high-level professional artistry to the community, and the community’s own talent was on display thanks to the great work of our Arts Partners and Affiliates, which continue to grow in quality and impact both on stage and off.

Everyone will have their own “favorite of favorites” performance, and I hesitate to take sides, but here goes: the Gourmet Symphony performance in Matinee Idylls, where the Gregory Family Theater became a theater-in-the-round as those incredible musicians took the audience through a full-course menu of Beethoven and haute cuisine, linking two great forms of human expression and literally sharing their meal with us; the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble (one of the world’s greatest, and also winner of the longest title of a performing group), whose concert in Merchant Hall was nothing short of sublime; guitar giant Will Ackerman sharing an impromptu summit with our old friend Shaun Hopper (his opening act, invited back on stage for the grand finale) was another highlight. Chanticleer. Every year. And finally, a show I missed belongs on this list too, The Seldom Scene in our American Roots Series — only because we had been trying to book that great group for years and finally did, and everyone said it was great, and I was out of town. So let’s call it the best concert I never saw. Perhaps my favorite moment of all was the highly successful collaboration with the Washington National Opera ‘s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program on April’s “Raising Voices ” concert. Not only did our Mason Opera students and alums work seamlessly with the emerging professionals from downtown to create a beautiful opera program, but we planted the seeds for future projects that will bring high-level operatic performance back to the Hylton Center. Stay tuned!

It’s been a great year at your friendly neighborhood world-class performing arts center. I can’t wait for the season to change again (summer, I’m talking to you) so we can see what’s next!

Rick Davis — Dean and Executive Director

Summer Family Entertainment at Fun Family Prices

Gala  celebrationFrom live music to gravity-defying magic tricks to African circus arts, the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s 2019 Summer Performances for Young Audiences has something for families and kids of all ages! This entertaining series of three lighthearted summer performances includes
Justin Roberts (6/25), Max Darwin, AKA “The Amazing Max,” (7/9), and the Jabali African Acrobats (7/23). Three-time Grammy nominee and indie music family favorite Justin Roberts (6/25) gives a concert that captures the joys and struggles of navigating childhood and adulthood in this heartwarming performance about family life and growing up. In July, Max Darwin (7/9) brings his magic tricks, quirky humor, and boundless energy to Merchant Hall in what PBS Kids calls “An awesome and hilarious, live magic show!” The Amazing Max can be seen as a featured artist on Seasons 3 & 4 of Brain Games (National Geographic Channel) and as a magic consultant for Gotham (FOX) and American’s Got Talent (NBC). Late July closes our summer series with the Jabali African Acrobats in a high-octane showcase of athleticism and grace that includes percussive music, limbo, dancing, juggling, and more in this combined performance of Chinese and African acrobatic stunts. With plenty of magic and fun to go around, children and adults alike will be left spellbound by the amazing feats and storytelling they’ll witness this summer at the Hylton Center. With ticket prices just $15 for adults and $10 for children, bring the entire family to all three performances! Learn More

Subscribe for Advance Access to Big-Name Artists

Gala  celebrationDid you know that if you subscribe to the 2019/2020 Hylton Presents season, you’ll gain immediate access to two Grammy® Award-winning Hylton Center EXTRA! artists?

Don’t miss your chance to purchase advance tickets to these performances! Contact the Hylton Center Ticket Office now and let us help you customize a subscription of just three or more performances. Here’s a peek at just a few of the world-class performances you’ll find on the 2019/20 Hylton Presents season: 

Claim your seats today for great savings of up to 30%, prime seats, personalized service, and free ticket exchanges. Call 703-993-7700 and let us assist you or subscribe online. P.S. Looking for a fun group outing? We also offer discounted ticket prices for groups of 10 or more. Contact our Group Sales office at 703-993-7758 or learn more online.

Ukulele Workshops for Veterans

PAK  2019  ornamentThe ukulele is a unique instrument with a rich history and tradition dating back to the 1800s. It first appeared in Hawaii as an adaption of the Portuguese machete, a small guitar-like instrument introduced by Portuguese immigrants. The ukulele has been performed by popular artists ranging from Don Ho, Hawaii’s most famous singer and worldwide entertainer to Eddie Vedder of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame “grunge” band, Pearl Jam. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at this tiny musical marvel, now is your chance! The Veterans and the Arts Initiative is offering the Veteran community ukulele workshops in August. Register for Session 1: August 6 & 8 or Session II: August 27 & 29. Sessions are FREE to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families, and military caregivers. Musicians of all skill levels are invited, as each session will include Level I (beginner) or Level II ( intermediate) courses.

Instruments will be provided to participants during the workshops led by Glen McCarthy, guitar instructor at Mason Community Arts Academy and George Mason University, who has shared his expertise with the community during Veterans Day events at the Hylton Center. Learn More

The Hylton Center’s Veterans and the Arts Initiative ukulele sessions are an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Forces ®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, a partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and the state and local arts agencies with administrative support provided by Americans for the Arts.

A Word from our Friends

People visit the Hylton Performing Arts Center for many reasons — to watch their children in a production, enjoy local performing groups and international touring performances, and to share their love of the arts. Fred and Karen Baillie have been Friends of the Hylton Center since our first season. Recently, they shared their thoughts about why they support the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

The Hylton Center is a unique and special venue in which to enjoy quality performances in a local, easily accessible, and customer-friendly location. The fact that the facility also offers outstanding accommodations, including comfortable seating, state-of-the-art acoustics, and unobstructed views just adds to the enjoyment. Each year, the performances cover a diverse offering of artists. We have enjoyed a wide range of performers from Dr. Ralph Stanley, Chanticleer, Black Watch and the Band of the Scots Guards, Aquila Theatre’s Shakespeare, Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, and many others. We are truly never bored given the eclectic selection each year.

We look forward to many more years of supporting the Hylton Center and discovering new acts, as well as enjoying familiar favorites. We are also excited to see the expansion of a new Education and Rehearsal Wing that will allow for increased support of the arts life cycle in the region. We want to thank the entire Hylton staff for its hard work and effort in making this local gem a world-class performing arts center.

Learn more about how to become a Friend of the Hylton Center.

Prince William Little Theatre Presents Sensory-Friendly ANNIE

We are delighted to announce a special performance collaboration with Prince William Little Theatre and Didlake. On Saturday, July 27 at 2 p.m., Prince William Little Theatre will present a sensory-friendly performance of the classic musical, Annie. This performance is designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all people with autism or with other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. 

Performance accommodations include: 

  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds
  • Lighting left at a low level setting in the theater during the performance
  • A reduction of strobe lighting or lighting focused on the audience
  • An atmosphere where patrons are free to talk and leave their seats during the performance
  • Designated quiet areas within the theater
  • Space throughout the theater for standing and movement
  • Trained Hylton Center staff who are inviting and accommodating of families’ needs

This performance will feature Tucker, the service-dog in training, as Sandy. Learn more
about this performance and how to purchase tickets.

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