Photo courtesy of Hylton Performing Arts Center


Anyone who has great American pride and appreciates some of the nation’s most iconic composers and their music should consider attending the American Festival Pops Orchestra’s (AFPO) upcoming concert.

On the evening of Saturday, April 6 at Mason’s Hylton Performing Arts Center, the AFPO will perform “American Icons”, featuring work by well-known American composers such as Leroy Anderson, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington and more. 

Famous works from films such as “An American in Paris,” “West Side Story,” “Star Wars,”  “Harry Potter” and “Indiana Jones” will be played and celebrated for the Mason community to enjoy. 

AFPO’s artistic director and conductor Peter Wilson is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and a veteran of the “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band. He thought it would be important to focus on American music and the evolution of American musical traditions for this performance. 

“I’m really looking forward to collaborating with the great musicians of the AFPO, as always, and having the opportunity to showcase their talents and versatility to our wonderful audience,” Wilson said. 

The AFPO is a full symphony orchestra composed of more than 60 professional musicians from and around the D.C. area. The AFPO includes members of the United States military ensembles, regional symphonies and Mason’s music faculty. 

The orchestra also includes a select group of young musicians from the university’s Reva and Sid Dewberry Family’s School of Music

During the second half of the concert, the AFPO will perform the service songs of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard to honor active-duty service members and veterans. 

“In addition to being a proud veteran of the Marine Corps, I always seek opportunities to pay tribute to those who have served,” Wilson said. 

The full symphony orchestra will perform live music that draws from all walks of the American experience, according to Wilson. They hope folks of all ages at Mason will join them for this one night only event. 

“There really will be something for everyone on this program, and I can’t wait to see their reaction,” Wilson said.