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Lorton Valley Star Newspaper
monthly and on the web

Covering the greater Lorton, VA area from Fairfax /Franconia Parkway to Prince William Parkway.

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Floyd Harrison,
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Lorton Valley Star Communications, LLC

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Nature’s Patterns

The Artists’ Undertaking Gallery in Historic Occoquan presents “Nature’s Patterns”, an exhibit featuring Salt-Fired Pottery by Marianne Cordyack of Reston, Graphite and Colored Pencil Drawings by Tina Kannapel of Fairfax and Oil Paintings by Steve Myles of Oakton. A Meet the Artists Reception will be held on Saturday, November 21, from 1 to 5 pm. The exhibit runs November 3 through December 7. The gallery is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and The Fourth of July), and is located at 309 Mill Street in Historic Occoquan. For more information contact the gallery at 703-494-0584 or at

PWAS Sculpture by Faraoni

The Prince William Art Society will present a free program by sculptor and painter Ken Faraoni on November 23rd at the Tall Oaks Community Center, 12298 Cotton Mill Dr., Woodbridge. Mr. Faraoni’s early career was steeped in contemporary culture, and included work sculpting and painting movie character monsters, masks and props. He began working in bronze in the early 1980s, and paints on panels. An irreverent humor balanced by a reverence for the beauty of natural forms lends emotional range to his smaller, original pieces. Recent projects have involved preserving large historical sculptures in Lynchburg, Virginia, including repairing the Doughboy statue and the total reconstruction of the zinc Water Bearer in bronze. Come enjoy an evening being entertained by Mr. Faraoni as he shares some of his experiences making art and making a living doing so, from movie monsters to historical statuary. His work can be viewed at: Browse


James Adelsberger Recognized Pure

James Adelsberger won the Pure Country CD of the Year award from the Rural Roots Music Commission in LeMars, Iowa. It was the first time that young James had been to the Festival; amazing talent. His CD is on the Roughshod Records label in cooperation with our friend #1 Black Yodeler, Mike Johnson who we know from the Coffee House of Occoquan and other venues between Lorton and Alexandria.

Castaways Play On with New Season

The Castaways Repertory Theatre’s 2015-2016 season starts with a fall production of the comedy Play On!, written by Rick Abbot and directed by Sallie Willows. Performances are October 23, 24, 25 (matinee), 30, 31, November 6, 7, 8 (matinee). All evening curtains times are 8:00 PM and the matinee curtain times are 2:00 PM. Note the change in start time for the matinees. All performances are at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building 15941 Donald Curtis Drive Woodbridge. Season Tickets will be mailed to you prior to the first production. *Dates and plays subject to change. General admission tickets for plays are $15.00 and for musicals $18.00. Season Tickets are $33.00 each. Save when you buy Season Tickets to all 3 of the productions. Any questions 703-232-1710. The Castaways Repertory Theatre is a non-profit organization affiliated with the NVTA, WATCH and partial funding has been provided by Prince William County. As with every non-profit community theater, we depend on the support of individuals, groups, and corporations. As a donor you will help us to continue our tradition of bringing the performing arts to Prince William County. Our Castaways Contributors are listed in our programs and on our web site for the season to acknowledge their patronage. Contributors may wish to remain anonymous. Your contribution is tax deductible.



New Book from Lorton Author, Communication Specialist - Tucker

Lorton author has released a promotional statement about her new book: With gender roles in mind, first time author Nichole M. Tucker has released a new chapbook of poetry “The Upside of Insanity,” that highlights the struggle of modern day relationships, and personal identity. Through mind-bending verse Tucker covers controversial topics like abuse, depression and even rape but also soft topics like loneliness, longing, lust and love. Because of the ideas that lead her to publish this work, Nichole M. Tucker considers herself a feminist with conventional desires. “The Upside of Insanity takes you through the struggle between being feminist and being feminine.” The chapbook’s highly controversial poems include “The Flaws of Nature,” “Allure” and “The Lion’s Den.” However, based on public response to the chapbook which was released on September 14th, the first two poems “The Hunter’s War and “Sic Semper Tyrannis” are fan favorites. With online fans that have followed the author through her career as an online journalist raving about the “The Upside of Insanity,” Tucker who currently resides in Lorton, VA and works in the field of Communications is likely to publish a full length collection of poetry in 2016. This chapbook is available on Amazon. It is a 32 page chapbook with 26 poems. Nichole Tucker was born in New Jersey and received a BA in Communications from Virginia State University- Petersburg, VA (2012) and a MA in Media and International Conflict from University College Dublin- Dublin, Ireland (2015) Nichole writes poetry, plays, fiction and non-fiction She is a Communications Specialist full time heading her own business, Tucker Town Communications, a small Public Relation and Digital Marketing firm. She is also a freelance journalist for publications like Paste Magazine and The Inquisitr.

Occoquan Historical Streetscape Art

The Occoquan River Communities, the Town of Occoquan and the Occoquan Historical Society have unveiled a new Streetscape public art installation on the west end of Mill Street.

The streetscape is 130 foot panorama of black and white silk screen images. Over twenty photos depict a visual comparison of then and now, to showcase Occoquan during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

It is the first of the public art projects that the Occoquan River Communities organization is facilitating throughout the Occoquan River region – intended to add to the area’s already blossoming arts and culture scene.

The evening unveiling was conducted by Earnie Porta past Mayor who explained the images. The street was briefly closed to traffic as it drew quite a crowd of artists and merchants. It remains for the public to view right across from the Secret Garden restaurant.


HeartBeats Music & Dance Completes Major Expansion

HeartBeats Music & Dance in the Saratoga Center has expanded its operation to now include the adjoining 4,000 square ft space formerly occupied by The Little Gym. The resulting school now comprises 9,500 sq. ft. making it one of the largest in Northern Virginia with 6 large dance studios, 7 music studios for private lessons, and two large reception and waiting areas, one with a large one-way mirror for parental viewing of classes without distracting the dancers. The studio also added a retail area for basic dance attire. By opening its moveable walls, HeartBeats can provide a full 2,000 sq. ft. stage-size space for large master classes, rehearsals, in-house music recitals, camps, and large parties.

According to executive director, Rockley Miller, “The 14-year-old center was starting to burst at the seams and when the opportunity to expand presented itself we just couldn’t pass it up.” HeartBeats plans to dramatically increase its offerings to include more early childhood dance along with tumbling and basic gymnastics. It will also offer many more classes for its core group of both recreational and competitive dancers as well as new classes for adults in both dance and fitness. The dance studios all feature professional floating floors with hardwood, bamboo and two types of Marley surfaces. A new multi-purpose room is ideal for children’s classes as well as birthday parties and camp activities. It includes a counter, sink, microwave, full-size refrigerator for snacks, cake and ice cream and a large window for parents to view the fun. With all its new offerings HeartBeats is almost becoming more of a community center than just a music and dance school.

HeartBeats Center has long been a favorite with new military families due to its strategic location and welcoming family atmosphere. HeartBeats also hosts the Northern Virginia Players homeschool theater group and is the second home of the National Champion West Springfield High School Dance Team. After hours you will often find a large group of talented local break dancers enjoying the hospitality and nice floors.

HeartBeats’ own studio dance companies, led by dance director Krista Jennings, have been winning top honors at both local and national competitions along with many scholarships and honors at numerous dance conventions. Jennings’ award-winning choreography, and her general approach to the entire HeartBeats dance program, emphasizes strong technique and a passion for the art of dance, not just the tricks. Her positive encouragement brings out the best in all her dancers while having a great and fulfilling time together in the process. She has assembled a superb faculty that shares her vision and is committed to providing the best experience for every dancer at every level and age.

HeartBeats further set itself apart three years ago when it opened a second studio, X-factor Dance and Gymnastics, in Celebration Florida, the original planned community connected directly to Disney World. Most of the X-factor faculty are active professional dancers and performers at Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, dinner theaters, and major production companies such as Cirque Dreams. According to Miller, the sister relationship between the two studios in such strategic locations allows them to plan special events that can include students from both locations, providing a unique crossover experience for all.

HeartBeats studio director, Dianna Toler, is already planning many new classes and camps to take advantage of the new space. For more information visit their website at Or stop by and check out the new space at 8060 Rolling Road at Fullerton Road in Springfield. Phone 703-440-9000.

Cappies review: It’s a Wonderful Life

at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School Dumfries

by Gillian Wright of McLean High School

‘Tis the season for caroling, festive decorations, and holiday gatherings galore. But in the midst of the seasonal cheer, one man feels like a failure. St. John Paul the Great Catholic School’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” explores the value of a single person and the amazing effect we each have on so many others.

The famous movie of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” released in 1946, starred Jimmy Stewart and was nominated for five Oscars. The play adaptation of the movie follows the same lead character, George Bailey. Opening on a suicidal Bailey being coaxed off a bridge by Clarence, his guardian angel, the show relives various stages in Bailey’s life to first explain how he got to his current position, and then to illuminate why he is so dearly needed on earth. Along the way, many characters are introduced who have played instrumental roles in Bailey’s life, as well as he in theirs.

Starring as George Bailey, Jonathan Madorma carried the show well. Madorma portrayed Bailey’s dynamic personality through his physicality and mannerisms. Mary (Clare Starrs), Bailey’s wife, epitomized the early 20th century wife. Starrs portrayed the classic composed, maternal housewife while maintaining a compelling chemistry with Bailey. Caretaking for Bailey, Clarence Oddbody (Jimmy Mullen) displayed a dynamic character as he made various appeals to both Bailey and God; Mullen also demonstrated a surprisingly angelic singing voice.

With George and Mary came a passel of Bailey children (Luke Morris, George Howard, Tori Sicilia, and Sabrina Morales). Their enthusiasm and joyous clamourings were thoroughly enlivening, even managing to hearten their downtrodden father. Each member of the diverse townspeople ensemble individualized their character in some way, whether by adding vocal inflections or mannerisms. Mother Bailey (Teresa Cummings) stood out with her doting maternal habits. Another memorable character was Violet Peterson (Megan Krakie), a friend of Bailey’s who provided much humor.

Good sound quality and countless perfectly-timed sound effects enhanced the show. Many of the props had an impressive level of detail and historical accuracy, and creative measures were used to replicate props used in the movie, such as the utilization of a highly realistic stuffed kitten. The versatility of the main set piece provided a background for a wide variety of scenes. Beautiful craftsmanship was employed in the production of the set, which included functioning light fixtures and chiseled handrails.

The most wonderful time of the year can be lonely for a great number of people. For George Bailey, failing his business seemed to be the final straw in his descent. But all it takes is a guardian angel, a lovely wife, and plenty of jolly holiday cheer to prove to George that he does, in fact, live a wonderful life.


Informal Writers Group

The Occoquan, Woodbridge and Lorton Writers’ group meets in Occoquan on Saturday’s monthly. The group was founded to bring together anyone who has a serious interest in writing fiction or nonfiction: authors, poets, freelance journalists, bloggers, lyricists and other ‘storytellers’ – word-crafters in general in the OWL area for networking, sharing knowledge and experience, and mutual support. Please RSVP if you are interested in coming to the next meeting. Contact Lewis at The next meeting Saturday, TBA


Discount Energy Services Call 703-550-0035

Ellis & Dutson Orthodontics, Lorton, Virginia, Call 703-750-9393

Free Call 811 before you dig message from Aria Energy.

Sew Easy Sewing School & Attic Treasures

Crosspointe Animal Hospital

Labella Bridal & Consignment boutique

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