American Festival Pops Orchestra

Press Releases


Released Jul. 22, 2010


May 21, 22 and 23 With performances by Celtic family band Leahy; American Festival Pops Orchestra with conductor Anthony Maiello, Broadway sensation Lisa Vroman and pianist Thomas Pandolfi; and resident performing arts groups from Prince William County

MANASSAS, Va., March 29, 2010 – The partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the private sector, the Hylton Performing Arts Center raises its curtain this spring with its highly anticipated Grand Opening Weekend on May 21, 22 and 23. This world-class, state-of-the-art performance facility on Mason’s Prince William Campus provides both a home for local and regional performing arts organizations and ensembles and a venue where the Northern Virginia community can experience outstanding performing artists of national and international renown. The Grand Opening Weekend Performance Sponsor is Novant Health. Tickets for the Grand Opening Weekend performances are on sale now.

The Grand Opening Weekend kicks off on Friday, May 21 at 8 p.m. with a captivating and joyous performance by internationally acclaimed Celtic music and dance group Leahy in the Hylton’s 1,140-seat main stage venue, Merchant Hall. This spellbinding Canadian octet of brothers and sisters plays to sold-out audiences around the world, and amazes and enchants countless fans with incredible fiddle-driven music, awe-inspiring dancing and enchanting vocals. Raised on a cattle farm in Lakefield, Ontario, the Leahy children (11 total!) learned to play the Celtic fiddle from their father, while their mother taught them to sing, dance and play the piano. The siblings also learned a variety of instruments including guitar, banjo, mandolin, drums and bass, and during performances they often switch instruments, each demonstrating remarkable skill. With a style planted squarely in the family’s Irish and Scottish roots, this talented ensemble explores a broad range of musical genres and cultures with formidable instrumental prowess. One of Canada's best exports, Leahy has sold numerous albums, but it is on the live stage that this stunning group truly shines. Tickets for Leahy are $50, $42 and $34. An opening night reception in the Didlake Grand Foyer follows the performance.

Hylton opens its doors in style on Saturday, May 22 at 8 p.m. with a celebratory Black Tie Optional fundraiser performance in Merchant Hall featuring the patriotic sounds of Northern Virginia’s own American Festival Pops Orchestra under the direction of Anthony Maiello. Titled “An American Festival Celebration,” this riveting concert treats audiences to a festive experience that pays tribute to the celebrated musical genre that is a treasured part of American popular culture. Joined by the radiant soprano Lisa Vroman and virtuoso pianist Thomas Pandolfi, this impressive orchestra, which comprises more than 60 professional musicians from the Washington Metropolitan area, performs a program that includes rousing patriotic songs and cherished music from Hollywood films and Broadway, as well as some of Gershwin’s most memorable works. A sensation on Broadway, Vroman, who starred as Christine Daae in “The Phantom of the Opera,” performs selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gershwin, and Rogers & Hammerstein. Hailed by The Washington Post as “an artist who is the master of both the grand gesture and the sensual line,” Pandolfi performs Gershwin’s beloved “Rhapsody in Blue.” Tickets for the American Festival Pops Orchestra are $125 and $75. Funds from the gala concert will benefit the Hylton Performing Arts Center. A post-performance reception will follow in the Didlake Grand Foyer.

On Sunday, May 23, the Northern Virginia community is invited to Hylton Family Day to experience the excellence of the Prince William County resident arts groups that will now call the Hylton their home. Beginning at 1 p.m., both Merchant Hall and the Gregory Family Theater will reverberate with the excitement of local theater, dance and music groups performing every half hour. Resident arts groups include the Manassas Ballet Theatre, Youth Orchestras of Prince William, Manassas Symphony, Prince William Little Theatre, VpStart Crow Theatre, the Creative and Performing Arts Center, Woodbridge Flute Choir, Parrish Handbell Choir and the Manassas Chorale. Families will enjoy the Youth Orchestras of Prince William’s interactive instrument “Petting Zoo” in the Hylton’s rehearsal studio. Tickets for the Family Day are $10 for adults and free for grades 12 and under. A barbecue lunch will be available for purchase on the Hylton Terrace. Hylton Family Day is sponsored by Prince William County and the City of Manassas.

For more information about the Hylton Performing Arts Center and the Grand Opening Weekend events, please visit The Hylton Performing Arts Center will announce its 2010-11 performance season, “Hylton Presents,” on May 12, 2010.

Tickets for the HYLTON GRAND OPENING WEEKEND PERFORMANCES on sale on April 1, 2010. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on the Prince William campus of George Mason University. Directions from Rt. 66 East and West: Take Exit 44 (234 South), turn left at University Boulevard (the 4th stoplight) and make a left on Freedom Center Dr., then a left on Edwin King Lane, and a left onto George Mason Circle and take the road all the way to the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Parking is available in the lots surrounding the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Please visit