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46th Season

David Grandis, Music Director

Featured Guest Artists for 43rd season
George McLennan, photographer
October 20, 2013

photo of George McLennan

I am a photographer residing in Falls Church. I have been taking pictures since childhood, but it has only been the past several years that photography has become a passion more than a casual hobby. I began working in film, of course, but turned exclusively to digital several years ago.

I have studied the work of numerous famous and not so famous photographers and painters, including Ansel Adams, Annie Liebovitz, Richard Avedon, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky.

I take great delight in the beauty of nature’s details. I am often amazed by how much of that beauty is missed by the casual passer-by. I hope that my work makes the observers more aware of what they have missed. My happiest moments derive from the excitement someone expresses over my work.

My goal is to continue to develop as an artist, broaden my vision of what is possible, and sharpen my eye for seeing beauty.

George McLennan’s Web site (will open another browser window)

Noreene Janus, painter
March 2, 2014

photo of Noreene Janus

Noreene Janus, Falls Church, has been painting in watercolor for more than ten years working with several well known artists at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. She is a member of the Lake Barcroft Art League, the Art League in Alexandria, the Vienna Arts Society, Falls Church Arts, and Potomac Valley Watercolorists.

She gets her inspiration from all parts of the world as she traveled extensively for work and pleasure. She has lived in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. She loves painting people-- in markets, city streets, and beach and coastal scenes. Some of her most successful series of paintings have featured coral reefs, fish, and underwater scenes, inspired by the reef protection work carried out at USAID--the agency where she worked for many years.

She has exhibited her work in several local shows and is represented by the B & B Gallery on King street in Old Town Alexandria.

Watercolors by Noreene Janus (will open another browser window)

Dennis M. Layendecker, Mason Symphony Orchestra Conductor
April 2, 2014

photo of Dennis Layendecker

Dennis M. Layendecker; D.M.A.; Col. USAF (Ret.), is the Director of the George Mason University School of Music. He holds the Heritage Chair in Music and serves as Director of University Orchestras in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), positions he has held since joining the faculty in August 2009. The Heritage Chair in Music was established in the 1980s by former Mason president George Johnson and his wife Joanne as a way of promoting the arts on campus and within the community.

During his 26-year Air Force career Dr. Layendecker served as a band commander, conductor, artistic director, pianist, public spokesperson, educator, and diplomat for the Air Force at home and abroad. In July 2002, then Colonel Layendecker assumed command of The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. As part of his duties he provided direct musical and ceremonial support to the President of the United States and his Cabinet, members of Congress and other high ranking civilian and military leaders nationally and internationally. In addition to his duties at the USAF Band, from December 2007, he also served as the Chief of Music for the Air Force. In this capacity he advised the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs leadership on music policy, officer hiring, development and assignments, force structure, and total force integration of Air Force active duty and Air National Guard musical units. During his military career he led more than 6,000 musical performances worldwide in support of public outreach, community relations, troop morale and welfare, and recruitment and retention programs for the Air Force and Department of Defense. He officially retired from the Air Force in late August 2009.

Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Music Education in 1975. He began his conducting studies in 1977 while on full piano scholarship attending the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium. He subsequently augmented his conducting studies during summer master classes at the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy, and at the Vienna (Austria) Academy of Music. In 1981, he earned a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and in 1988, completed a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Air Force, Dr. Layendecker served on the music faculties of The American Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Illinois and Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. He was inducted as a member of the American Bandmasters Association in 2006. He has remained active as a conductor and clinician throughout his professional career.

During his distinguished career in the Air Force Dr. Layendecker led many of America’s finest musicians throughout the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom, and Europe—from Los Angeles to New York, Vienna to London, and Oslo to Tokyo. Gifted in foreign languages, he is fluent in French and functional in German and Italian. He has performed in such notable venues as Washington D.C.’s National Theatre and D.A.R. Constitution Hall; Kodak Theatre in Hollywood; Semper Opera, Dresden; Neues Gewandhaus, Leipzig; Royal Albert Hall in London; Alte Opera, Frankfurt; and the Beethovenhalle in Bonn. He has led his ensembles before numerous world leaders to include seven American presidents, Queen Elizabeth of England, and Pope John Paul II. His radio and television broadcast credits include appearances on BBC, German Radio and Television, Polish National Radio, Radio Luxembourg, RAI Italy, and public radio and national television across America.

In addition to his civilian academic credentials, Dr. Layendecker is a graduate of the Air War College, a distinguished graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and a graduate of the Air Force Academic Instructor’s School and Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with oak leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

A native of Springfield, Illinois, Dr. Layendecker resides with his wife Myriam in Burke, Virginia. They have been blessed to raise six children, and late in 2009 welcomed their first grandchild, Simon Peters.

Stanley Engebretson, Director of Choral Studies, GMU
April 2, 2014

photo of Stan Engebretson

Dr. Stanley Engebretson came to George Mason University in 1990 as the Director of Choral Studies, teaching conducting and directing the University Symphonic Chorus, University Singers, and three Vocal Jazz Ensembles. Prior to coming East, Engebretson taught at the University of Minnesota and served as the Associate Conductor of the Minnesota Chorale from 1985-90. From 1979-1985, he was at the University of Texas Permian Basin and conducted the Midland-Odessa Symphony Chorale. Engebretson holds performance degrees in Voice and Piano from the University of North Dakota, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from Stanford University. In addition, he has received several research awards and grants for advanced study in Aspen, San Francisco, New York, and Europe with internationally acclaimed conductors including Gregg Smith, Margaret Hillis, Roger Wagner, Eric Ericson, and Robert Shaw.

In Washington, DC, he has been the Director of Music at the historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church since 1991, and in 1993 he became the Artistic Director of the Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra which is now the National Philharmonic appearing at the Music Center at Strathmore. For nine years he appeared as lecturer and professional singer at California’s Carmel Bach Festival, and he continues to lecture for the Smithsonian Institution and the Fulbright Foundation as a Senior Specialist. Engebretson’s wide appearances as a clinician include workshops and concerts throughout the United States, as well as Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Cuba, Russia, Lithuania, Iceland, France, Australia and Korea.
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Last updated: 9 March, 2014......v.4.0