Chasing Light (Press Release)

City of Manassas, Virginia
9027 Center Street, Manassas, VA 20110

For Immediate Release
Feb. 19, 2019

NR# 003
Contact: Patty Prince
703-257-8456 or 703-895-6535

Chasing Light

Chasing Light is a new art/light/music installation that will be held during the Manassas One Love Arts Festival on Saturday, April 27. It is not meant to be the kind of performance that folks sit and watch, but participate in.

Dallas artist Carmen Menza will produce the first-of-its kind 3D projected visual and music installation on the Manassas Museum lawn. Menza hopes that visitors will connect with others and says that participatory public art affords us the experience of making something beautiful with those around us and strengthening a sense of community. The multi-level art installation will include 3D projected visuals and Chasing Light, an original musical score created by Mark Menza, a Dallas composer and Carmen’s husband.

Chasing Light, which Mark Menza wrote specifically for the City of Manassas, is a 21st century chamber piece that employs both recorded and live players and is juxtaposed to electronic and sampled sounds. Because a strong central element of this work is improvisation--using elements of jazz, philharmonic, soundscape, and an electronic score—it lends itself to improvisation by musicians at the event.

A copy of the musical score will be released prior to the event and musicians who want to participate on the night of the performance will be invited to join performers on stage. The music that community musicians perform will also trigger elements of the 3D light show and will continually transform throughout the evening. The projected visuals include abstract illuminated backgrounds and geometric objects created through camera shots and 3D software.

Mark Menza’s work may be familiar to those who have attended Manassas Ballet performances of Colin: Son, Marine, Hero, an original work that reflects on the life of the Ballet’s Artistic Director Amy Grant Wolfe’s son Colin, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006. Menza created the original musical score for the ballet, which premiered in 2013 to national acclaim. The Manassas Ballet will be premiering Chasing Light at their March performance of A Fantasque Evening at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Spoken word artists and dancers are also invited to collaborate during the continuous performance. The underlying music will serve as a soundscape for those who perform spoken word and poetry as they are invited to take the stage alongside musicians and dancers throughout the evening.

Carmen Menza has works in several prominent public spaces including The McKinney Avenue Contemporary and the Aurora Light and Sound Biennial, both in Dallas. The Aurora event had more than 60,000 visitors.

The second annual One Love Manassas Festival, which will be held April 26 - 28, 2019, is designed to give artists a platform to perform, share their art, raise awareness, and inspire hope for the love of all artistic platforms. The three-day event features a juried art show, Manassas Reads - a literary arts event, performances by local musicians, a film showcase, a marketplace, panels and workshops. Leading up to Chasing Light, weekend participants will walk to the Museum Lawn carrying light orbs in a parade of sorts called Turn on Your Light. Each orb will represent that individual’s Celebration of Life through the arts.

The Virginia Commission for the Arts is sponsoring the Chasing Light installation. Visit www.facebook.com/onelovemanassas or www.onelovemanassas.com for more information or to see how you can participate in the event. For up-to-date information about One Love Manassas, text the word OneLove (all one word) to 888-777. You can opt out at any time.

Photos of the artists are available by request.

Rebekah Raze