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Dingwall Fleary Jr. conducting the McLean Symphony orchestra (courtesy McLean Symphony)

The McLean Symphony’s founder Dingwall Fleary Jr., a conductor described by friends and colleagues as “larger than life,” has died.

Fleary, 82, had been the conductor of The McLean Symphony since 1972 and the Reston Community Orchestra since 1996. He died after experiencing a heart attack on Friday, Dec. 30, according to a message from the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Bethesda, where he served as a music director.

“He was absolutely larger than life,” said Mary Bramley, a member of the McLean Symphony’s Board of Directors. “We thought he’d be here forever with the amount of energy and passion he had for music and the community and music education.”

On the McLean Symphony’s Facebook page, tributes to Fleary poured in from current and former orchestra members remembering his kindness and encouragement, with many noting his energetic personality and patience with the musicians in the symphony.

“It’s very interesting. A lot of times when you have a conductor with that much showiness, they take away from the orchestra, but it was never like that,” said Bramley. “He kept it in. When you watched him conduct, that wasn’t the show, it was all about the orchestra. He knew where that limit was. He was passionate, but also patient.”

Several commenters credited Dingwall with instilling a love for music in themselves or their family.

Bramley said Dingwall’s passion was for music education. During concerts, Dingwall would deliberately choose at least one more obscure piece or composer.

“At least one piece was probably a piece you’d never heard of before,” Bramley said. “There would be one composer, someone you’ve never heard of, then it becomes your favorite…You always hear about Bach and Beethoven, but we were playing pieces you’d never heard before.”

A celebration of Fleary’s life is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the McLean High School auditorium (1633 Davidson Road) on Sunday, Jan. 8.

The McLean Symphony, which celebrated its 50th season last year, is expected to begin searching for a new conductor in the coming weeks. Its next concert isn’t until March, giving the group some time for the search, Bramley noted.

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Lynn Langman Lilienthal (Age 81)

It is with the utmost sadness that we say goodbye to Lynn Langman Lilienthal who passed away on October 30 with family by her bedside.

Her family: husband and partner for 59 years, Phil Lilienthal, of Reston, VA; her three children; Andy Lilienthal, Cathy Deutchman and Ben Lilienthal, and their respective partners, Laura Lilienthal Blaisdell, Josh Deutchman and Abbey Lilienthal, and seven grandchildren whom Lynn loved deeply; Ella, Maya, Zev, Levi, Rafe, Leah, and Simon.

Lynn was born in New York City. Her parents were Louis Langman and Anne Wertheim Langman. She was the third of four siblings, all of whom she predeceases: Thomas Langman, of Gaithersburg, MD, Deborah Lesser, of Berkeley, CA, and Betsy Schulberg, of New York City.

Although Lynn grew up in a cradle of comfort, her spirit for adventure, social development, and exploration began at an early age. In high school, she traveled to Sweden with The Experiment for International Living, and later, to Kenya with Operations Crossroads Africa. Lynn studied at the University of Wisconsin and the New School in New York City, where she graduated with a degree in Social Work. She then received a degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University nee; Richmond Professional Institute After receiving a master’s degree in social work, she and Phil served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia for two years. Lynn worked in a mental hospital, a juvenile remand home, and an orphanage for children with mental and/or physical disabilities. A few years later, she and Phil, along with her three children lived in the Philippines and Thailand. Lynn established deep connections with the Yakan weavers on Basilan Island in the Philippines, helping them market their crafts. In Thailand, she volunteered at Jim Thompson’s House and enjoyed becoming an expert on a single room which she would explain to guests.

Her zest for travel never waned as she and Phil experienced the world both with friends and family, and shared with her children and grandchildren the opportunity to explore new and remote regions; whether in Morocco, Ethiopia, Bhutan, the Amazon, or a remote Costa Rican peninsula.

A resident of Reston, Virginia since 1967, Lynn, along with her dear friend, Peggy Jansons, established and directed PALS Child Care Center, the first licensed infant day care center in Virginia. Lynn was a beloved networker and volunteer in the Reston community and beyond, and was a mentor for many who she encouraged to follow their dreams. She served on the Board of the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), Public Arts Reston, was a key figure in the creation of the Reston Museum, was president of Waterview Cluster, and influenced many to continue to make her adopted hometown a connected, thoughtful, and inclusive place for all to enjoy. She also worked for over two decades with Phil directing Camp Winnebago, a boy’s summer camp in Maine, helping to empower and sensitize thousands of boys and young men to societal issues.

Apart from her many organizational successes, Lynn was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and loving people. She especially loved children and had a knack for making them feel valued and loved. This special power was especially evident with her grandchildren as she always accepted an invitation to celebrate a birthday, graduation or any other excuse to be with them. When a dear friend’s health failed, Lynn selflessly became her advocate in getting the best services for her. Lynn’s default was both to empower those around her and to volunteer for whatever was needed.

Lynn also appreciated art and nature. Whether it was a work of art, sublime sculpture, or finding simple delicate shells on the beach, Lynn connected with the profound wonder that surrounded her. In her later years, Lynn took up painting and taught us all how to express ourselves through her outrageous and wonderful “intuitive art.” She especially loved Martha’s Vineyard where she spent time almost every year since her childhood.

We grieve her loss and honor her memory and the immense positive impact that Lynn had on so many. A service will be held at the Reston Community Center in Reston, VA on November 12 at 2:00 PM. There will be a reception following the service.

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Kevin Iglesias didn’t have much time to make an impact at Glasgow Middle School, but he managed to leave a deeply felt impression nonetheless.

Known for his friendliness and dedication to students, the special education instructional assistant died unexpectedly from a head injury on Aug. 21, leaving his family, friends and the Bailey’s Crossroads-area middle school reeling. He was 28 years old.

“The sudden loss has hit our whole community like a punch to the gut because of who Kevin was, the community he was striving to foster around him, and the very young age he was taken from us,” said Abby Ponce, who had been a close friend of Iglesias since they grew up in West Falls Church together.

Ponce says she and Iglesias had especially fond memories of their experience attending Westlawn Elementary School, and he sought to recreate that environment of “care, love and acceptance” for Glasgow students as a staff member.

Iglesias’s commitment to supporting students and attention to their wellbeing was instantly evident to parent Jenna White when she first met him in 2018.

At the time, Iglesias was working on Glasgow’s security team, and White’s younger son, David, a special education student, was new to the school as an incoming sixth grader.

On that particular day, White stopped by the school to take care of some work she had as an officer in the Glasgow Parent Teacher Association. When Iglesias introduced himself and started talking to David, she asked if he could help show her son around the school so he could get more comfortable with the new setting.

“My son spent the next two hours just kind of hanging out with [Iglesias] and helping him, and that turned out to be a really great experience, getting to know Kevin and learning his way around the building,” White recalled.

Once school started, White says Iglesias continued to check up on David to make sure he was settling in, and she would catch up with him whenever they ran into each other.

Iglesias’s ability to connect with students inspired White to nominate him for the “Outstanding Support Staff” award that the Fairfax County Public Schools Special Education PTA (SEPTA) gave out at the end of that school year.

“It was clear that he was really, really a special person who had great interest in making sure all the students felt safe and felt welcome and were doing well in school,” she told FFXnow. “…I was happy to nominate him for that award to recognize all the effort and skill that he put in as an educator.” Read More

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