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Ashley Walters, a cellist who graduated from Oakton High School in 2001, returns to her hometown when she performs “Ten Freedom Summers” with Pulitzer Prize nominee and jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith next week at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

Walters, who earlier this year completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of California, San Diego, now lives in Los Angeles.

“Ten Freedom Summers,” a work straddling contemporary music and jazz, is a tribute to the civil rights movement, which Smith defines as the period between Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act: 1954 to 1964. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, he pays homage to heroes including Rosa Parks, Medger Evers and Martin Luther King Jr.

Walters met Smith, a composer working primarily in the fields of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation, at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where she received her Master of Fine Arts. Walters says she owes her recent interest in improvisation to Wadada and his music.

As a child growing up in Oak Hill, Walters performed with all four levels of the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, and studied cello with Barbara Van Patten of Burke. Walters started dancing at age 3 and from fourth grade on danced with the Center for Ballet Arts in Fairfax, where she was a member of the Ballet Arts Ensemble.

She studied cello at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Curiosity about new music took her to CalArts, where in 2007 she, Mark Menzies, Andrew McIntosh and Andrew Tholl formed the Formalist Quartet, focusing on adventurous repertoire and world premieres for strings.

The Formalists soon will embark on a European tour, leaving in November for Austria, Germany and Italy.

Walters is set to release a debut solo album next year, featuring six works for solo cello, four of which were written for her, including “Sweet Bay Magnolia with Berry Clusters,” by Smith. The piece presents a series of sometimes sweet and sometimes “groovy” musical vignettes with an improvisatory middle section.

“Ten Freedom Summers” will be performed at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 and 3 and 8 p.m. Oct. 26. Atlas Performing Arts Center is at 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $33.50. Call 202-399-7993, ext. 2, or visit

35 to sing with Virginia’s 2013 Honors Choir

Vocal musicians from 16 Fairfax County public schools have been chosen for the prestigious Virginia Honors Choir for 2013.

The choir, open to the top 125 singers from the commonwealth of Virginia, is the highest honor a choir student can attain during his or her high school career.

Thirty-five Fairfax County Public Schools students were selected for the choir, and five students were named alternates. They will perform at the Virginia Music Educators Association convention Nov. 23 at The Homestead in Hot Springs.

• Centreville High School: Hailey Knapp, Sanya Manoj and Patrick McGinty.

• Chantilly High School: Amanda Mason and alternates Daniel Belsky and Luke Reyda.

• Edison High School: alternate McKenzie Sterner.

• Fairfax High School: Emily Ennis.

• Hayfield Secondary School: Erik Kovatch.

• Herndon High School: Michael Frederickson and Brooke Nywen.

• Lake Braddock Secondary School: Lindsey Bross, Craig Momon and Abby Sowa.

• Langley High School: Kathryn Bailey, Madeleine Chalk, Melissa Donley, Ivy Kenton, Ariana Kuhnsman, Vanessa Strahan, Ariana Tayebi and alternate Emily Nesbitt.

• Adison High School: Noah Calderon, Julianne Kim and Erin Nicklas.

• Marshall High School: Jessica Campbell, Melissa E. and Daniel LaBarbera.

• Oakton High School: Thomas Hinds.

• Robinson Secondary School: William Hardgrove.

• South Lakes High School: Samyukta Venkat.

• West Potomac High School: Anjum Choudhury and William Havrenek.

• Westfield High School: Emma Sieber.

• Woodson High School: Julie Bullock, Eli Cryan, Michael Niemann, Isabella Valdes, Sanjana Venkatrama and alternate Alice Boyars.

Auditions were open to seniors enrolled in choral programs at their respective schools.

Reston is for biking

The League of American Bicyclists announced this week that Reston has been named a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community, making it one of 291 BFCs in 48 states across the country.

“Reston is playing a critical part in creating a truly bicycle-friendly America,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know Reston’s investment in bicycling will be returned many times over in the health, environmental and quality-of-life benefits of a thriving community.”

The BFC program is transforming the way communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation networks. The bronze-level award recognizes Reston’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.

Tech council announces Innovator Awards finalists

The Northern Virginia Technology Council, based in Herndon, has named the finalists for the 2013 Innovator Awards, which honor groundbreaking companies and technologies in the region’s technology community.

NVTC will honor the finalists and announce the winners on stage at TechCelebration, NVTC’s annual banquet Oct. 30 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

An independent panel of business leaders chose the finalists in four categories.

Agile Systems Development: Agilex, Dovel Technologies, Noblis, Northrop Grumman and Octo Consulting Group.

Cloud: BrightContext, Exostar, Parature, SAP and ScienceLogic.

Cyber: Invincea, nPulseTechnologies, PhishMe, SAIC and Sourcefire.

Mobility: Agilex, AirWatch, LATISTA Technologies, Mobile System 7 and Natural Insight.

For more, visit

New businesses open doors

Potter’s Fire Studio, where customers can find one-of-a-kind gifts and keepsakes, opened Oct. 10 in historic downtown Herndon. Studio owners Michael and Rosemary Faul hosted a grand opening to introduce their three lines of pottery: Artisan, Heritage and Agape.

The Artisan line features handmade pottery and sculptures for the home. Heritage is a line of barware honoring military and first responder service, and Agape is a custom line of dinnerware for weddings and anniversaries, allowing couples to custom design their own pattern.

The Fauls donate 10 percent of all profits to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides no-cost housing to military families that have a loved one in a military medical facility.

The studio, at 767-B Center St., is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday though Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more, visit

Noodles & Company, serving classic noodle and pasta dishes from around the world, has opened two new restaurants — one at 12961 Fair Lakes Center in Fairfax, and the second at 1500 Cornerside Blvd. in Vienna.

The menu features more than 25 fresh, customizable dishes, including sweet and spicy Japanese Pan Noodles, zesty Pesto Cavatappi and Wisconsin Mac & Cheese. Visit

Elements Therapeutic Massage has opened at 122 Maple Ave. W in Vienna. Elements strives to match the right therapist with each client, allowing a customized experience, whether to relieve pain, release tension or reduce stress.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome. Visit

California Tortilla has reopened at 1470 Northpoint Village Center in Reston, with a new logo, a fresh new look and new ownership. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. For catering, call 855-CALTORT (225-8678).