Amphitheater in Catonsville will echo to bluegrass sounds

June 03, 1993|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Staff Writer

Bluegrass is growing wildly in Catonsville -- the kind you "pick," not mow.

Thanks to a music-store owner who helped resurrect an almost forgotten county amphitheater, accomplished guitarists and just plain pickers will get a chance to play or listen at a series of 13 bluegrass concerts -- called "Music in the Woods" -- beginning Saturday evening.

The free concerts will be held every Saturday through Aug. 28 at the Lurman Woodland Theatre on the Catonsville High School campus near the intersection of Bloomsbury Avenue and Hilltop Road. The hours are 5:30 p.m. to dusk.

"I wanted to help create family-oriented entertainment," says co-sponsor Emory Knode, owner of the nearby Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe. Mr. Knode is providing sound equipment, promotion and a volunteer staff to operate the concerts in cooperation with the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks.

"We need to expose young children to live entertainment; maybe some of it will rub off on them," he says. "And it's a wonderfully pleasant way to spend the evening with your family."

Lurman Theatre is actually a small glen under large oaks, sweet gum and maple trees. There is a bandstand at one end, and a few benches, but there's room for several hundred people sitting on blankets or lawn chairs. It was built by the county in the 1960s but largely neglected until Mr. Knode came along.

"I've been looking at that spot for years," Mr. Knode said. "It was basically unused; it was overgrown with weeds. There was no power source. I went to Tony DiAngelo of the recreation department, and he got it fixed up. Last year we had five concerts there and decided to expand it this year."

The bluegrass series will be on an "open mike" basis. Acoustic (unamplified) musicians of all ages and styles will be invited to perform in 10-minute segments. Professional musicians will wind up each show.

For information, call 744-1144.

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