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Morning Notes

Health Department Tweaks Approach to Quarantined Students — Starting today (Thursday), students who have been exposed to COVID-19 can complete wellness checks and get guidance from the Fairfax County Health Department online instead of having to wait for a phone call. The change is part of an ongoing effort to speed up the contact-tracing and quarantining processes so students can return to school buildings. [FCHD]

Local Arts Groups See Bright Spots Amid Upheaval — “Fairfax County’s art scene is under-funded, under-capacity and still weathering the pandemic, but several upcoming projects will bring it closer to its potential, the president of ArtsFairfax said. The county’s prospects are changing more quickly than at any other point in her 12 years with the organization, Linda Sullivan told the Greater Tysons Citizens Coalition during a Sept. 9 roundtable.” [Sun Gazette]

Vienna Schedules Meeting on Economic Strategy — The Town of Vienna will hold a public meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 for residents to discuss a draft economic development report that looks at how the town could more effectively attract and support businesses. The town hired a consultant in January to conduct a market study and propose an economic development strategy that were released in June. [Patch]

Italian Bakery Sets Tysons Corner Grand Opening — “Handcrafted Italian pastry is coming to Tysons Corner Center! Celebrate the Grand Opening of DreamStart Winner Bisnonna Bakeshop on Saturday, 09/18 with family-friendly activities starting at 10am” [Tysons Corner Center/Twitter]

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Steelpan musician Josanne Francis will close out the 2021 MPAartfest on Oct. 3 (courtesy McLean Project for the Arts)

After shifting to a virtual format last year, the McLean Project for the Arts will be back in person at McLean Central Park for its 15th annual MPAartfest, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3

In addition to showcasing the for-sale work of visual artists with mini galleries and a juried contest, the free festival will feature food from local restaurants, a children’s art walk, and a full day of live music.

Announced on Wednesday (Sept. 1), the musical program curated by Veronneau guitarist Ken Avis will kick off at 10 a.m. with the Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra and close with Caribbean steelpan musician Josanne Francis, whose set will start at 3 p.m.

The full lineup from MPA’s press release is below:

Blues Alley Youth Jazz Orchestra will kick off MPAartfest at 10:00 am*. Comprised of accomplished student musicians and directed by legendary jazz bassist Michael Bowie, this award-winning, 15-piece youth swing big band seeks to preserve and promote the big band jazz art form. Now in its third decade, the Orchestra has performed at DC’s leading venues.

Vocalist, pianist and guitarist Sheyda Do’a will perform with her band at 11:00 am. Blending sounds from across the globe into what she calls “melodies for the soul,” Do’a draws on her multicultural heritage and her upbringing in Albania to create music that inspires across cultures and generations. Do’a was selected in 2020 to the prestigious Strathmore Artist in Residence program.

Nataly Merezhuk’s Hot Band takes the stage at 12:00 noon. Originally from Russia, Nataly has made her way from the Moscow Conservatory all the way to the United States’ Peabody Conservatory. Influenced by the sounds of Stéphane Grappelliand Svend Asmussen, Merezhuk brings her beautiful, classical tone to the world of hot jazz and swing.

At 1:00 pm, Project Locrea brings international harmonies to the MPAartfest Music Stage. Project Locrea is an all-star international collective featuring musicians from China, Argentina, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Peru… and even the USA. With vocals and traditional instruments, the band weaves an intriguing, multicultural tapestry of music with impact and appeal to all and a joyous onstage presence. Led by Bulgarian flute player Yana Nikol, the music reflects not only the band’s ethnic diversity but their backgrounds in multiple music genres. Locrea is a word invented to reflect their ethos of Love and Creation.

Italian vocalist and loop artist Irene Jalenti kicks off the 2:00 pm hour. A dynamic, soulful and passionate performer and composer, Jalenti delves deeply into the meaning of each song and brings drama and conviction to her performance with her naturally deep tone and an impressive wide range. Adept at scat singing and able to sing in five different languages, Jalenti connects with and delights a range of audiences.

Steelpan musician Josanne Francis will close out the MPAartfest Music Stage at 3:00 pm. Born and raised in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Francis’s music blends together and draws influence from traditional Calypso music, jazz, Indian, funk, rock and classical music.

MPA says on its website that it is working with state and local officials to ensure the festival follows all COVID-19 health guidelines.

“The health and safety of our community, artists, and staff is our highest priority as we plan for the return to McLean Central Park for our 15th annual MPAartfest,” the nonprofit says. “We are working with state and local authorities, as well as following CDC guidelines, to ensure that we are in compliance with official policies as we develop COVID-19 protocols and procedures.”

MPA, which operates out of the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue), uses the funds raised by MPAartfest through sponsorships and donations to support the exhibitions, classes, and other programming it provides throughout the rest of the year.

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Traveling Players Ensemble is one of the organizations to receive funding from ArtsFairfax (via Traveling Players Ensemble/Facebook)

ArtsFairfax has awarded grant funding to 40 nonprofit organizations in Fairfax County, the arts agency recently announced.

This year, ArtsFairfax received requests for over $937,000 in funding and allocated a total of $441,900.

The Operating Support Grant program is designed to assist local, nonprofit arts organizations with funding to support their basic operational needs.

In recognition of the challenges that the arts community has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, ArtsFairfax says it increased the minimum grant amount to $1,000 and waived a requirement that recipients match the funds they receive.

ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan says the program was also modified to place more emphasis on equity and how organizations are considering issues of diversity, access, and inclusion in their operations, programs, and services.

“The past year has created an unprecedented hardship for arts organizations and artists,” Sullivan said. “The Operating Support Grant provides arts organizations with critically needed funding for basic operations — funding that helps keeps the doors open — as they develop artistic programming for audiences return.”

The Tysons, Vienna, McLean, and Falls Church organizations that received grants are:

“Fairfax County residents benefit from a dynamic and diverse arts sector,” Sullivan said. “To sustain and grow our cultural capital over the long-term requires a consistent source of public and private funds. ArtsFairfax’s Operating Support Grants are a direct investment in our community ensuring that the arts remain centerpieces and economic engines in our community.”

Photo via Traveling Players Ensemble/Facebook

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Renovations for the first phase of improvements at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts have been completed.

The renovations include the introduction of permanent, roofed wooden pavilions that replace temporary tents that covered the park’s Ovations restaurant, Encore Circle Lounge, and associates and terrace decks. The old temporary vinyl tents had to be erected each spring and taken down in fall.

Each of the new structures were constructed out of Douglas fir and designed to match the Filene Center, a 7,000-seat outdoor amphitheater.

The finished renovations were revealed Thursday (July 29) during a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the nonprofit that partners with the National Park Service to provide concerts and other programming at the park.

“This day has been five years in the making,” Wolf Trap Foundation President and CEO Arvind Manocha said. “Five years ago, we convened a group of leadership of the foundation and our partners at the National Park Service to consider this park’s needs and reflect carefully on how to bring Wolf Trap into the next half century as a national beacon for the performing arts.”

Each of the renovated pavilions retained the open-air concepts that distinguish Wolf Trap, and they are intended to enhance the park experience for the performance season and encourage a greater year-round use of the park than what was possible with the tents.

Additional announced enhancements include a replacement of the Filene Center’s over 20-year-old audio systems and the renovation of the backstage artist areas.

Funded with money that the foundation raised from private donors, the renovation project coincides with Wolf Trap’s 50th anniversary, which it celebrated on July 1.

“These projects were funded by members of our board, led by a group of visionary donors who stepped forward to ensure that we could move quickly and decisively,” Manocha said.

The renovations fall in conjunction with upgrades being performed by the National Park Service. Those upgrades include security upgrades, the installation of new fencing, and electrical infrastructure improvements.

The park service is also looking at some more substantial updates, such as a new pedestrian tunnel, as part of a proposed amendment to Wolf Trap’s master plan. The NPS detailed its plans in a virtual meeting on May 25 and closed a public comment period for a required environmental assessment on June 25.

Wolf Trap National Park Acting Superintendent Ken Bigley says finished and planned upgrades illustrate the National Park Service and Wolf Trap Foundation’s shared commitment to ensuring that visitors “have a memorable, amazing experience” at the park.

“We are in this business for the long term,” Bigley said. “We wanted to build advocacy for a love of the performing arts, for a love of the importance of live music and dance, a love of public lands.”

Dan D’Aniello, who chairs the Wolf Trap Foundation board of directors, closed out the ribbon-cutting event by challenging everyone in attendance to continue to “embrace what needs to be done to ensure that this asset remains viable and dear to not only us, but all people.”

“We are deeply, deeply proud of our friendship and partnership with the National Park Service, both from cultural perspective in artistic programming and from a financial perspective in our role as philanthropic partner,” D’Aniello said. “We are and we will continue making good on our promises to advance the potential of Wolf Trap.”

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1st Stage Theatre’s production of The Brothers Size (courtesy Teresa Castracane/1st Stage Theatre)

Two Tysons arts organizations are among the five honorees selected by ArtsFairfax for its 2021 Arts Awards, an annual celebration of Fairfax County’s arts community.

ArtsFairfax, a nonprofit that has been designated as the county’s arts agency, announced the winners of this year’s awards on Tuesday (July 27).

“For ten years, our annual Arts Awards has recognized the creative visionaries who inspire us, engage us, and create transformational change in our communities,” ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda S. Sullivan said in a press release. “This year’s honorees exemplify the impact that artists, arts and cultural organizations, and those that support them are making to the future of Fairfax County.”

In addition to marking their 10th anniversary, this year’s Arts Awards herald a return for both the awards themselves after they were canceled last year and local arts groups, which are tentatively starting to reemerge from the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1st Stage Theatre is this year’s recipient of the Arts Impact Award, which “recognizes an arts organization, program, or activity that has provided a significant opportunity or impact through their transformational programs and individuals served,” according to ArtsFairfax.

The only professional theater company in Tysons, 1st Stage “serves as a cultural hub” and has proven skilled at adapting to the “community’s changing needs and challenges” with accessible performances, ArtsFairfax says.

The nonprofit highlights the virtual Community Conversations program that 1st Stage developed to kept audiences engaged when the theater was shut down during the pandemic.

1st Stage could not be reached for comment. The theater will reopen its doors at 1524 Spring Hill Road in November after kicking off its 2021-2022 season with the Logan Festival of Solo Performances at The Boro.

The Traveling Players Ensemble will receive the Arts Education Award, which goes to “an arts organization or individual arts educator that has provided superlative arts education opportunities, experiences, or training in the arts for youth, adults, and artists,” according to ArtsFairfax.

Operating out of a Tysons Corner Center studio, the Traveling Players provides camps, classes, and other opportunities for youths to gain theatrical skills and experience. The company adapted its summer camp program to a virtual world last year, putting on a one-act play festival via Zoom in December.

“Traveling Players is honored to be the recipient of the Arts Education Award,” said Jeanne Harrison, founder and producing artistic director of the Traveling Players. “As an educational theatre company, teaching and training is our organization’s sole focus and mission.” 

Traveling Players will celebrate the award at their summer performances, including shows on the Plaza at Tysons Corner Center on Aug. 4 and 5.

This year’s other honorees are:

The 2021 ArtsFairfax Awards will hold a reception on Oct. 15 in The Atrium at Capital One Hall (7750 Capital One Tower Road), which will open for its inaugural season that month. Tickets are now available for purchase.

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Capital One Hall (courtesy HGA)

Get ready to belt out some showtunes, because the Great White Way is getting ready to bring some razzle dazzle to Tysons.

Capital One Hall announced today (Thursday) that its upcoming inaugural season will include a trio of musicals, alongside an already unveiled slate of pop concerts and comedy shows.

“Capital One Hall is excited to bring an annual Broadway series to Fairfax County and its surrounding communities as part of our inaugural season,” Capital One Hall Executive Director Dolly Vogt said. “We are confident this region will embrace ‘Broadway in Tysons’ due to Capital One Hall’s location near major roadways and being a few steps from the McLean Metro Station on the Silver Line.”

With descriptions from the press release, the upcoming shows will include:

Waitress (Oct. 29-31)

Inspired by the beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town. A baking contest and the town’s new doctor may offer her a fresh start, but Jenna must summon the strength to rebuild her own life. Don’t miss this uplifting celebration of friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

Fiddler on the Roof (March 11-13, 2022)

Tony®-winning director Bartlett Sher brings his fresh take on a beloved masterpiece to life as FIDDLER ON THE ROOF begins a North American tour direct from Broadway. A wonderful cast and a lavish orchestra tell this heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the timeless traditions that define faith and family. To love! To life!

An Officer and a Gentleman (May 13-15, 2022)

An Officer and a Gentleman based on the Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, is a breathtaking production that celebrates triumph over adversity and includes one of the most iconic and romantic endings ever portrayed on screen. Featuring the Grammy Award winning, #1 hit single ‘Up Where We Belong’, and a score based on the 1980’s catalogue of music that gave voice to a generation, the live stage production is a new adaptation by multiple Tony Awards nominee Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Everyday Rapture), based on the original screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart. The musical is directed by Scanlan with choreography by Patricia Wilcox (Motown, A Night with Janis Joplin).

Each show will have performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1 and 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Capital One Hall is currently selling subscription packages to its first season, which will kick off with the country band Little Big Town on Oct. 2, but single tickets for the Broadway shows won’t go on sale until a later date.

With a 1,600-seat main theater and a 225-seat black-box theater called The Vault, Capital One Hall has been envisioned as the cornerstone of Capital One Center, the mixed-use development taking shape around Capital One’s headquarters by the Capital Beltway.

While it was primarily constructed as meeting space for Capital One employees, Capital One Hall promises to bring a mix of big-name and more community-based artists to Tysons. It has partnered with ArtsFairfax to provide space for local perfoming arts organizations and will host the agency’s 2021 Arts Awards luncheon in its 500-seat Atrium on Oct. 15.

Since opening its new headquarters in 2018, Capital One has been steadily building out the 24-acre campus surrounding the tower, starting with an 80,000 square-foot Wegmans that opened in November.

The Perch, an outdoor park on top of Capital One Hall with a dog park and a beer garden, will open in August, and the 25-floor, 300-suite The Watermark Hotel is scheduled to open on Sept. 21, Capital One Center told Tysons Reporter in June.

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After being adapted for emergency uses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the former Container Store in Vienna could undergo another transformation.

The vacant storefront at 8505 Leesburg Pike near the Greensboro Metro station could be used by the Tysons Partnership and Celebrate Fairfax, Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives Director Rebecca Moudry told Tysons Reporter.

The building is 19,260 square feet in size and has approximately 95 parking spaces. The Container Store previously used the space before relocating to 8459 Leesburg Pike in 2018.

The county acquired the space in 2019 for $16.6 million with the hopes of using it to support innovation and entrepreneurship and create a vibrant destination for residents and visitors. Those goals remain and could be realized by this fall, Moudry says.

When the county requested proposals for the space before the pandemic, development officials suggested the property could host temporary or “pop-up” community-oriented events, arts and cultural special events, innovation hubs or exchanges, or civic and cultural programming that complements and supports primary uses of the property.

Over the past year, it has been used for storage, including for personal protective equipment, and it was designated as a hypothermia shelter from Dec. 1 to April 1.

“As we plan for reopening and economic recovery, placemaking, local businesses and community engagement will play vital roles in this work,” Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik said in a statement. “The county owned building at 8508 Leesburg Pike is uniquely situated to serve the growing residential and business community in this area of Tysons, and we are currently reviewing proposals to provide such opportunities.”

A representative for Tysons Partnership, the nonprofit group charged with implementing the county’s vision for Tysons, had no update on the plans as of mid-June, and Celebrate Fairfax did not immediately respond to a message.

“I hope to be able to see this site activated in the coming months, both with its indoors and outdoors spaces,” Palchik said in her statement.

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Morning Notes

Wolf Trap Goes Full Capacity Starting in August — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts will return to full capacity in August for the second half of its summer season. Unveiled yesterday (Tuesday), the lineup for August and September includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Indigo Girls, and Renée Fleming with the National Symphony Orchestra. [Patch]

Justice Department Will Assist in Bijan Ghaisar Case — The Justice Department will allow FBI agents to cooperate in the prosecution of two Park Police officers charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar in 2017. The move reverses a decision made during the Trump administration and could help the Fairfax County prosecutors on the case. [The Washington Post]

Longtime McLean Hardware Store Owner DiesMcLean Hardware owner Glenn Kirby Wiggs died on June 5 at Medstar Washington Hospital Center at 71 years of age. He had operated the store for almost 40 years after purchasing it in 1984, and he continued visiting twice a week from his home in Frederick, Maryland, even as his health declined. [Patch]

Merrifield Student Advances in Spelling Bee — Akshita Balaji of Merrifield is one of 30 students to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee’s semifinal round after she spelled two words correctly and gave an accurate definition for a third word during yesterday’s quarter-finals. Broadcast on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. on June 27, the semifinals will determine the 10 to 12 spellers who will go to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for the finals on July 8. [Inside NoVA]

1st Stage Celebration Sold Out — Tickets for 1st Stage’s first in-person event since February 2020 have sold out. The theater company’s June 27 outdoor concert reading of “A New Brain” at The Boro will still be available for other viewers to watch via an online livestream. [1st Stage/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

MCA Shares Concerns About McLean Central Park Proposal — The McLean Citizens Association unanimously approved a letter last week highlighting its reservations about the Fairfax County Park Authority’s McLean Central Park redesign. Top concerns include noise and traffic impacts from the proposed amphitheater and a need to coordinate with other county projects, such as the McLean downtown revitalization plan. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Federal Relief Will Be Windfall for Falls Church City — The Falls Church City Council learned Monday (June 7) that the city will receive an estimated $18 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds over two years, including $15 million from the American Rescue Plan and about $2.9 million from the CARES Act. Councilmembers say it’s “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for a city with an annual operating budget of just over $100 million. [Falls Church News-Press]

McLean Student Will Compete on Reality TV Show — Max Feinberg, a rising senior at McLean High School, will appear on Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior, a reality TV series where athletes compete to navigate obstacle courses. This is the show’s first season with a lowered age limit of 15. Feinberg’s episode will air on NBC on June 23. [Dranesville District School Board Member Elaine Tholen]

Falls Church Arts Grant Program Opens for Applications — “The City of Falls Church welcomes applications for eligible non-profit organizations that support the arts, culture, theater, and history based within the City of Falls Church. The application deadline is July 21, 2021 and funds must be utilized before May 16, 2022.” [City of Falls Church]

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(Updated at 5:45 p.m. on 6/7/2021) Country singer Clint Black will perform at Capital One Hall early next year as part of the new Tysons performing arts venue’s first season.

Joined by his wife, singer and actor Lisa Hartman Black, Black will stop at Capital One Hall on Feb. 5, 2022 as part of their “Mostly the Hits and the Mrs.” nationwide tour, according to a press release from Pepper Entertainment Inc.

Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen told Tysons Reporter that this is the first Capital One Hall performance to be publicly confirmed.

Presales will start at 10 a.m. on June 10, and tickets will go live the following day at 10 a.m., Trossen says. Tickets will start $39.50 and will be available through Ticketmaster.

According to the event page, Black will perform in Capital One Hall’s main 1,600-seat theater. The venue will also feature a 225-seat black box theater called The Vault, classrooms, and other event spaces.

“We are thrilled to announce Clint Black’s performance at Capital One Hall, the first of many exciting announcements to be made in the coming weeks and months,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said. “Capital One Hall is the cornerstone of the broader Capital One Center development, and will host a wide-array of artistic programming and memorable events, providing a much needed cultural venue for the Tysons and  broader community.”

Scheduled to open in October, the hall is part of the 24.25-acre Capital One Center mixed-use development taking shape next to the McLean Metro station. The next segment of the development — The Perch, a skypark above Capital One Hall with a biergarten anchored by Starr Hill Brewery — is expected to open in July.

While Black is the first confirmed performer, ArtsFairfax President and CEO Linda Sullivan told Tysons Reporter in March that the nonprofit organization will hold its annual awards luncheon at Capital One Hall on Oct. 15, making it one of the venue’s first events.

The 2020 Arts Awards were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The designated local arts agency for Fairfax County, ArtsFairfax has been collaborating with Capital One Center on the hall’s development since 2015 and is responsible for vetting the eligibility of local arts organizations that are interested in booking the main theater and The Vault.

The nonprofit recently closed an application period for Capital One Hall’s second season on May 1.

“I think this Capital One campus is really a tremendous asset for the county and for the arts community,” Sullivan said to Tysons Reporter in March. “I mean, it’s going to bring more cultural programming and activity and people to Tysons, and it’s going to give the arts community a high-end, state-of-the-art facility to grow their program and audiences.”

Photo courtesy HGA

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