Local Commentary

A Penny For Your Thoughts: The News of Greater Falls Church

What are you doing this summer? With high gas prices and limited time, many people are planning to stay closer to home this summer, and enjoy the wide variety of activities we have right here in Mason District and Fairfax County. One popular summer activity for all ages is the free concert series, Spotlight by Starlight, at the Newton Edwards Amphitheatre in Mason District Park, 6621 Columbia Pike in Annandale.

The first concert is tomorrow night, June 1, and will feature Sior-Og, (“Forever Young” in Gaelic), an Irish folk band. The Friday night concerts feature folk music from around the world – Vietnamese, Latin, Flamenco, Russian, Mariachi, Klezmer, and Hawaiian musical groups will entertain you at 7:30 p.m.

Variety is the hallmark of the Sunday concerts. Big band sounds, tap dancers, the Fairfax Symphony Summer Band, the Navy Sea Chanters, Hexagon, and the Capitol Steps are some of the performers scheduled for the well-attended Sunday night concerts. The Navy Sea Chanters will perform on June 17; Hexagon on July 15; Capitol Steps on August 5. All are very popular shows, so be sure to get there early. This Sunday’s performance is by the City of Fairfax Concert Band.

Wednesday nights feature jazz and blues. Brooks Tegler, Deanna Bogart, the Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, and Dixieland Direct are among the local and regional talent booked for the amphitheatre. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Parking is free. Bench seating is ample, but some regular concert-goers bring lawn chairs or cushions for greater comfort. They also bring dinner; picnicking before the concert is not unusual. A handicapped seating area is available for wheelchair patrons. Dogs on leash are welcome. Concerts are cancelled if it’s raining.

The very popular Saturday morning children’s concerts begin on June 9 and run though August 18. Musical instruments, puppets, and story-tellers will enthrall even the tiniest toddler at the 10 a.m. concerts, which last about 45 minutes. Blankets are especially appropriate for the little ones, who can sit up close to the stage and not miss a beat.

Spotlight by Starlight is sponsored by the Friends of Mason District Park and the Fairfax County Park Authority, and supported through generous contributions from community members and local businesses, including Cox Communications, Magill’s Restaurant, Goodwin House Baileys, and the West*Group. The complete schedule is available for pick-up at my office, 6507 Columbia Pike, or on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/performances. See you at the Park this summer!