Friday, December 10, 2010


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jill Graziano Laiacona

Phone: (703) 993-8794

E-mail: jgrazia1@gmu.edu








Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at 3 p.m. in Gregory Family Theater


MANASSAS, Va., Dec. 3, 2010 “Their collaboration transcends form and culture, radiating a universal power and hope,” says The Washington Post of Word-Beat, a duo that combines the artistry of singer-actor Charles Williams and global-jazz percussionist Tom Teasley. The pair appears at the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Gregory Family Theater as part of the Encore Events on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 at 3 p.m., bringing a family concert in commemoration of the birth of Martin Luther King Jr.  This stirring program features Williams delivering spirited readings of inspirational texts by such authors and leaders such as Langston Hughes and Nelson Mandela, as well Teasley’s masterful blend of ethnic percussion and cutting edge electronics, showcasing the music of Africa, the West and beyond.

                “This vibrant, energetic and eminently danceable music welcomes all listeners to celebrate while also offering food for thought and balm for the soul.” (Jazz Times) Williams and Teasley have brought their moving concerts to a variety of prestigious performance venues and educational institutions, including the Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education, the Kennedy Center, the Eastman School of Music, the Brooklyn School of Music, the East Coast Jazz Festival and the Atlas Performing Arts Center, among others. The ensemble has released two critically acclaimed CDs: “Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song,” which interprets the words of Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson with spirituals from the Deep South; and “Soul Dances,” which features African proverbs and traditional African-American spirituals.

                Hailing from Louisiana, Williams has won international acclaim since his debut at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has performed in theaters and opera houses across Europe, and at Carnegie Hall, the Barns at Wolf Trap, the Smithsonian Institute, the Kennedy Center and the Metropolitan Opera, where he appeared as Sportin’ Life in “Porgy and Bess.” Williams is on the faculty of the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as a vocal consultant for the internationally-renowned female a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock. “Williams has a rich, resonant voice ... He is an expressive reader who can put forth the shout of a Baptist preacher and the whisper of a lullaby with equal conviction.” (Dirty Linen)

                Described by The Washington Post as a “percussionist in the widest and most exuberant sense of the word,” Teasley is highly regarded in the world percussion arena as a recording artist and a clinician, and holds the unique distinction of having presented at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) on three separate occasions. Teasley has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles World Music Festival and at the Kennedy Center as an “Artist-in-Residence.” He has served as the chair of the percussion department at the Levine School of Music and currently serves of the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia. “Percussion wizard Tom Teasley deserves his own slot in the CD bins … maybe his own store … Besides having the God-given gift of groove, Teasley is a true textural artist.” (Jazz Improv Magazine)


Tickets for WORD-BEAT are $15 (general admission). Visit the box office or charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit hyltoncenter.org. The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Prince William Campus at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center. For more information, please visit hyltoncenter.org.


About the Hylton Performing Arts Center
Dedicated to bringing a world-class performing arts venue to the Prince William region, the Hylton Performing Arts Center was born out of a partnership among Prince William County, George Mason University, the City of Manassas, the Commonwealth of Virginia and individuals and businesses in the private sector. Soaring more than nine stories and boasting a stunning mix of copper, glass and masonry, the 85,000-square foot center is home to two unparalleled performance venues for local arts groups and performers from around the world, as well as university-related activities. Modeled after the intimate European opera houses of the 19th century, Merchant Hall is a 1,140-seat multipurpose proscenium theater, which is encircled by 27 private boxes that rise three levels. The Gregory Family Theater is a flexible, 4,400-square foot space that can be configured for many different types of performances and events. In addition, the Didlake Grand Foyer, with its sweeping staircase, provides an ideal setting for community, corporate and social events. The Hylton Performing Arts Center, the only building of its kind in the area, is sure to quickly become the cultural hub of Prince William County and the surrounding communities and is a shining example of collaboration and commitment to the arts.



About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University – Where Innovation Is Tradition.


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