Tysons Corner, VA

The Filene Center at Wolf Trap has an extensive summer lineup featuring famous rockers and R&B groups from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, along with some well-known country artists.

Tysons Reporter rounded up the noteworthy concerts coming to the outdoor amphitheater.

Photo via Wolf Trap 

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Vienna’s version of “American Idol” plans to return for its eighth annual music competition.

Vienna Idol showcases local talent, while also raising money for the Khristin Kyllo Memorial Fund, which honors the memory of a local Vienna resident who died suddenly due to a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP).

The contest has raised more than $80,000 for the fund, which sends several young people to college, purchases epilepsy seizure bracelets and monitors for people who can’t afford them and donates funds for SUDEP research, according to the competition’s website.

The semi-weekly auditions start the first week of April and will take place at either Caffe Amouri Coffee Roaster (107 Church St NE) or Whole Foods (143 Maple Ave E.) throughout the month.

The winner gets chosen by attendees, who vote for their favorite “Idol” during a concert on the Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave E.) on Friday, June 7.

The first place winner will receive $700 and eight hours of professional recording studio time. The contestant in second place will walk away with $500, while the contestant in third place will get $250.

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April performances at The Barns at Wolf Trap feature a mix of music, from folk to acapella to instrumental.

Omara Portuondo, an 88-year-old Cuban singer and dancer who has been compared to Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, will bring her signature flair from April 23-24. Tickets start at $50.

The Secret Sisters (real-life sisters  Laura and Lydia Rogers) are set to bring their haunting folk songs to the stage on April 19. Their 2017 album “You Don’t Own Me Anymore” earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album. The stop at Wolf Trap is a part of the duo’s current tour. Tickets cost $25.

Singer-songwriter Storm Large will also take to the stage to perform a range of songs, from Cole Porter to Pat Benatar.

You might have seen her as a contestant on the CBS reality television show “Rock Star: Supernova.” Large has an eclectic background. She started as a rock artist before transitioning into the theater and cabaret world. Tickets are $55.

The list of Wolf Trap events in April:

The full Wolf Trap schedule is available online.

Photo via Wolf Trap 

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Nightlife may be one of Tysons’ weak spots, but local music in the area has a long history — and a wide-open future.

The Fairfax scene is very diverse, drawing on artists who are local to the county as well as those from elsewhere in the greater D.C. area.

Emblematic of that diversity is an upcoming performance on Saturday, March 23 at the VFW post in west Falls Church. Six different acts will be playing music — two punk groups, three rappers representing a variety of styles and an indie rock four-piece.

D.C. is famous for its historical punk scene, with names like Fugazi that defined a sound across the entire country — but much of that scene happened on the southern side of the Potomac. Although not all of its current residents are aware, Northern Virginia has a strong tradition of independent music. In the 1980s and ’90s, most of that tradition was being made in Arlington.

The little county was home to the nationally-successful punk group Minor Threat, whose frontman Ian MacKaye later starred in Fugazi, as well as many other bands. It also boasted the Dischord and Teenbeat record labels and the Positive Force activist group, which was closely associated with the “Riot Grrrl” feminist movement.

These groups were often based out of houses, dotted across Arlington. The county was successful musically because it was cheap and offered easy access to the city — but, unfortunately for the punks, the rest of society caught on.

Today, the median home on the Arlington market is listed at over $700,000, and there aren’t many places left in the county for young musicians living on a shoestring budget. In the words of Positive Force co-founder Mark Andersen, “there was another Arlington that existed, and that was a much more humble Arlington.”

In some ways, Fairfax carries on that tradition. By offering (relatively) affordable performance spaces, a large population of potential audiences and a wide network of musical collaborators, the county has a lot to offer a young musician.

There are some major differences, though: today’s scene isn’t only about punk music. Also, it’s less tied to D.C. than it used to be, and has more potential to define itself as “NOVA” music.  It does face some obstacles, though, including the drain of talent and attention to nearby cities like Richmond and Baltimore, and, as in Arlington, the difficulty of coexisting with some of the most desirable residential neighborhoods on the East Coast.

To understand what it’s like to record and perform in Fairfax today, Tysons Reporter spoke with Jason Saul, a melodic rapper native to the area.

Tysons Reporter: First, how did you get to be making music in VA?  Are you originally from the area?  When did you start rapping, and what’s driven you to the style you use?

Jason Saul: I was born & raised in NOVA. I started writing music when I was 13 but it was never anything super serious… Once I turned 20 I realized there wasn’t anything else that brought me the amount of joy that making music does. So now I’m seeking to make music my career. My style comes from influences of music that I listened to when I was young. I’ve always enjoyed storytelling or making music the correlates with the listener. To me, music is all about feeling. Eventually I started to make more melodic music since that’s what I always gravitated towards.

Tysons Reporter: Second, what should I know about the NOVA scene in general? How does it compare to other scenes around the D.C. area — does it have a particular identity compared to, say, D.C. or Maryland? Is it known for particular styles, or for particular venues? Do you want to stay around here, or, if not, where would you go?

Jason Saul: The NOVA scene is very interesting when it comes to music because I see it as a big question mark on the creative map. No one can really say NOVA has a particular sound, and I think that stems from no one really making it out on to the mainstream platform yet. I know there’s Kali Uchis but that’s just one artist. I respect D.C. a lot because it’s so rich with culture but I would definitely separate NOVA from D.C. just because it really feels like two different worlds. MD in my opinion is known for their raw rapping which is great. It’s up to NOVA to see what we come up with now. I’d love to stay here and I probably will but I also enjoy the weather in the west coast.

Tysons Reporter: Third, it’s pretty cool to see this wide a mix of sounds at a single show. Is that standard, would you say, or is this unusual? If it’s unusual, what helped bring it together this time?

Jason Saul: It’s very exciting to see a show like this going down because it’s bringing different groups of people together. I wouldn’t say it’s the ordinary but it’s definitely going to be a good show and should happen more often. What helped bring it together was the relationships some of us have outside of music, just knowing each other really. This gives the audience and artists a great opportunity to discover some music they never thought they’d listen to.

To listen to some of Fairfax’s local musicians, check out these artists, who will be performing at 6:30pm – 11pm on Saturday, March 23, at the VFW Post #9274 (7118 Shreve Road), just 10 minutes from Tysons on Leesburg Pike. There will be a $5 cover charge, and Respawn Thrift will be selling vintage clothing.

Desperry (NoVA, Hip-hop)

Holographic (NoVA, Hardcore punk bootgaze)

Jason Saul (NoVA, Melodic hip-hop)

Needle (D.C., Grind punk)

Wisteria (MD, Indie rock)

Lil Dynamite (NoVA, first show)

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday (March 4)

  • McLean CBC Study Task Force — 7-9 p.m. at Fairfax County McLean Government Center (1437 Balls Hill Rd) — Tonight the task force developing policy recommendations for downtown McLean’s future will continue looking at where the rural transitions to urban in McLean. Staff is also scheduled to present potential land use scenarios.

Tuesday (March 5)

  • McLean Citizens Association Meeting with Superintendent Scott Brabrand — 7 p.m. at Mclean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave) — At an MCA-hosted meeting, the Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent is scheduled to discuss priorities and challenges facing the schools, particularly regarding the overcrowding at McLean High School. Residents will be able to ask Brabrand questions.

Thursday (March 7)

  • 2019 Philadelphia Flower Show 6:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave) — The McLean Community Center will be hosting an all-day trip to Philadelphia to see 10 acres of landscapes and gardens. The trip is $138, or $133 for McLean residents, and includes transportation, tickets to the show, a morning snack and driver’s tip.
  • 2019 Shape of the Region Conference 8-11:45 a.m. at Valo Park (7950 Jones Branch Dr) — The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia will host a conference looking at the economic inequality in the region and how closing that divide can help businesses. Registration is $65.
  • Adventures in History: Ancient Egypt — 4:30-5:30 at Dolley Madison Library (1244 Oak Ridge) — Library staff will host a class for kids ages 6-12 on ancient Egyptian history, featuring games, stories and skill-building exercises. The event will include a costume contest.

Sunday (March 10)

  • Jazz Brunch at Blackfinn 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Blackfinn Ameripub Merrifield (2750 Gallows Road) — The bar and eatery near the Mosaic District is hosting a relaxing Sunday brunch featuring live music from the Blue Dot Jazz Troupe. Seating is first come, first served with free admission.
  • 2019 Trombone Summit — 2 p.m. at Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Ave E) — University of North Texas’ “U Tubes” and the Capitol Bones will host a trombone festival at Jammin Java.

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As Tysons office development launches to new heights, America’s “Next Great City” works to catch up with arts programs.

Here are some arts events — predominately concerts and theater showings — showcased by ARTSFAIRFAX around the Tysons area in March.

  • Epic Grandeur — Tonight (March 1) at 7:30 in Saint Luke Catholic Church (7001 Georgetown Pike) — The Tysons McLean Orchestra will be performing a mix of Georges Bizet and Johannes Brahms. General admission tickets are $40.
  • Thunder Knocking on the Door — Feb. 14 – March 10 at Creative Cauldron (410 S. Maple Ave) — The Creative Cauldron theater group is currently performing the Tony Award-nominated musical about a mysterious Faustian bargain in a small Alabama town. The show runs every weekend with adult admission tickets at $32.
  • Olenna March 7-15 at the Italian Cafe (7161 Lee Highway) — The Providence Players will present the David Mamet 1992 play about two people engaged in a power struggle over a sexual harassment scandal. The play runs approximately 80 minutes and with general admission at $10.
  • In Celebration of Life: Mozart and Faure — March 9 at The Falls Church Episcopal Church (115 E. Fairfax Street) — Choralis will present a broad selection of Mozart’s music, from a song written at 18 to one just five months before his death. General admission tickets are $40. Audience members are encouraged to bring unneeded prescription eyeglasses to the concert for donation to the Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center of Northern Virginia.
  • Reflections — March 17 at Saint Luke Roman Catholic Church (7001 Georgetown Pike) — The Reston Chorale will present an afternoon of choral and organ arrangements with members of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra. General admission tickets are currently $25 until March 16. Active duty military can attend for free.
  • A Bohemian LifeMarch 18 at The Falls Church Episcopal (115 E. Fairfax Street) — The Tysons McLean Orchestra will present a collection of musical selections from Central Europe. General admission tickets are $40.
  • columbinus — March 28 – April 20 at 1st Stage Theater (1524 Spring Hill Rd.) — Tyson’s 1st Stage theater will present a docudrama following the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. The production is comprised of excerpts from interviews with survivors, parents, and community members. General admission tickets are $39.
  • Rachmaninoff: All Night Virgil — March 30 at Church of the Holy Cross (2455 Gallows Road) — VOCE will be presenting an acapella evening of the post-romantic music of Rachmaninoff. A second performance will be held on March 31 at the Church of Holy Comforter in Vienna. Tickets are $25.

In addition to the programming listed above, The Barns at Wolf Trap has extensive programming throughout March.

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It’s a season of duets and intimate conversations for The Barns at Wolf Trap.

First up is Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti and her mother, former Broadway star Linda Benanti, for a musical performance about the relationship between mothers and daughters. Laura Benanti performed in several Broadway productions like “Gypsy”, for which she won Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and Linda starred in the 1981 revival of Brigadoon. The show will have two performances on March 9. Tickets start at $40.

Comedy troupe The Second City will also have five improvised comedy shows from March 20-23. Alumni of the group include Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Bill Murray. Tickets start at $30.

Finally, the venue will host “An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash” on March 25, 27 and 28. Nash is a singer-songwriter and a founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Hollies. Among his many accolades, Nash is a two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee, Grammy Award winner, New York Times bestselling author and an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Tickets start at $85.

Here’s the full list of Wolf Trap events in March:

The full Wolf Trap schedule is available online.

Photo via Wolf Trap

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For Valentine’s Day, you could take your partner to one of the several restaurants and bars offering special deals, but there’s another outside-the-box option: a Vienna singing quartet.

On Thursday (Feb. 14), the Vienna-Falls Chorus will be traveling the Northern Virginia area delivering singing valentines. The in-person deliveries include two songs, a box of chocolates and a personalized card for $50.

The quartet can be sent to an office, restaurant, home or any other location.

Singing valentines can also be sent by phone for $10.

Four songs are available for selection and audio samples are available online.

Photo via Facebook

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The Barns at Wolf Trap don’t feature as many big names in February as in previous months, but there’s plenty of excitement in next month’s musical lineup.

Most of the biggest performances are tributes to classic rock, folk and classical performances.

On Feb. 2, Dustbowl Revival will be performing a mashup of traditional Americana music with modern dance music in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Band. They will be performing alongside Austin-based Hot Club of Cowtown, a jazz and western swing band. Tickets range from $32 for rear orchestra or side balcony seats to $37 for prime orchestra or prime balcony.

While you’ll never get a chance to see The Beatles live, the next best thing might be the cover band 1965 The Tribute, performing on Feb. 14 and 15. The performance starts at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $38-$42.

On Feb. 22, Pianist Wu Han will lead a small ensemble in an “exploration of Schubert’s oeuvre.” Following the performance, attendees will have a chance to meet the artists at a dessert reception. Tickets are $40.

The list of Wolf Trap events in February:

The full Wolf Trap schedule is available online.

Photo via Wolf Trap

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A traveling musical about women’s suffrage, called “19” after the 19th amendment, is stopping in Tysons this weekend for two shows as part of a tour celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the amendment’s passage.

The musical highlights the stories of Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Susan B. Anthony and other suffragists who fought for the right to vote.

“The inspirational story of these fearless women is brought to life through jazz, spoken word, dance, and audience interaction,” according to the musical’s website.

Tomorrow night (Friday) and Saturday, the show will perform at 1st Stage in Tysons. Each show starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students of members of the military.

Later this month, the 1st Stage theater will open “The Brothers Size,” a play by “Moonlight” co-creator Tarell Alvin McCraney about a pair of brothers reuniting in the Louisiana bayou. The play will run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 24.

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