If you're one of the thousands of workers who have been laid off in the current recession -- or one of countless others guarding expenses more carefully these days -- your financial situation doesn't mean you have to restrict your enjoyment of cultural to the late-night movies on television.
Although tickets for such top-line events as "Ziegfeld: A Night at the Follies" (up to $42.50) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (up to $26) may be beyond the limit of anyone on a tight budget, there's a wealth of cultural events available in the Baltimore area for free. Many of them are offered through local colleges and universities; they include not only the best student and faculty performers but some nationally known artists as well.
In addition, some of the city's top cultural institutions have special admissions policies designed to make them available to everyone.
Here's a generous sampling of upcoming events in the next several weeks for which there is no admission charge:
MUSIC Some of the best amateur vocalists in town will compete for in the second annual Billie Holiday Vocal Competition tomorrow from noon to 5 p.m. in the Walters Art Gallery's Graham Auditorium. Call 396-4575.
The Towson Chamber Players will perform a woodwind concert featuring works by Claude Arrieu, Franz Danzi and others tomorrow night at Towson State University's Fine Arts Concert Hall. Call 830-2836.
Pianist Agi Rado will inaugurate the annual April Steinway Series at Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St., Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Call 467-4210.
Flutist Tatiana Johanning and pianist Frank Levy will perform at 12:20 p.m. Thursday at Old St. Paul's Church, Charles and Saratoga streets, as part of the lunchtime Nave Concert Series. Call 685-3404. That evening, Trio Americas, the resident Chamber Ensemble at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, will perform at 8 in the Fine Arts Recital Hall. Call 455-2942.
The guitar duo known as the Psaltery will perform at Anne Arundel College's Humanities Lecture Hall at 10 a.m. and noon April 15. Call 541-2341. The Peabody Ragtime Ensemble will perform April 14 at 2:30 p.m. at the Inn at the Colonnade, 4 West University Parkway. Call 235-5400. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Mihaly Virizlay will play at 3:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church as part of the Steinway Series. Call 467-4210.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institution's Choral Society and Chamber Orchestra and violist Richard Field will perform a concert of works by Hungarian composers April 21 at 3 p.m. in Turner Auditorium, Monument Street and Rutland Avenue. Call 955-3363. Also on April 21, BSO violinist Bruce Wade will perform 3:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian in the Steinway Series. Call 467-4210. And at 4 p.m., Soprano Yvette Vanterpool will perform at St. Katherine's Church, Division and Presstman streets, as part of the Lois J. Wright Memorial Concert Series. Call 296-9410 or 296-9430.
The Peabody Institute Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of Gene Young, will perform works by Mozart and Mahler April 25 at 8:15 p.m. in the Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall, One East Mount Vernon Place. Call 659-8124.
The Loyola College Concert Choir, under the direction of Ernest Liotti, will perform April 28 at 3 p.m. in Alumni Memorial Chapel. Call 532-5024. On April 28, TSU's Percussion Ensemble will play at 8:15 p.m. in the Fine Arts Concert Hall. Call 830-2839.
The Peabody Camerata chamber choir will perform April 30 at 8:15 p.m. in Friedberg Hall. Call 659-8124.
May begins with three concerts in TSU's Fine Arts Concert Hall. First, violinist Zoltan Szabo and pianist Reynaldo Reyes, members of the TSU faculty, will perform 20th century works May 2 at 8:15 p.m. That will be followed by a faculty recital by pianist Lawrence Crawford May 5 at 7:30 p.m. And the school's jazz combos will play May 6 at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Call 830-2839.
The Maryland Camerata, UMBC's chamber choir, will perform May 7 at 8 p.m. in the school's Charleston Chapel. Call 455-2942.
TSU's Flute Ensemble and Brass Ensemble will perform May 8 at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. respectively in the school's Fine Arts Concert Hall; the Guitar Ensemble will perform May 9 at 8:15. Call 830-2839.
The UMBC Symphony Orchestra will play works by Riegger, Shostakovich and Copland May 12 at 3 p.m. in the school's Charleston Chapel. Call 455-2942.
Baritone Eugene Holmes will perform May 19 at 4 p.m. as part of the Lois J. Wright Memorial Concert Series. Site to be announced. Call 296-9410 or 296-9430.
The Baltimore School for the Arts' Honors Recital, featuring solo performances by top members of the class of '91, will be May 30 in the Recital Hall of the school at 1712 Cathedral St. Call 396-1185.
ART The Walters Art Gallery has no admission charge Wednesdays; the Baltimore Museum of Art is free on Thursdays.