BSO kicks off free concerts

Series: Local talent will also take the stage at Anne Arundel Community College's Siegert Field on Saturday.

June 29, 2000|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra comes to Anne Arundel Community College's Siegert Field on Saturday for the main event of the county's free outdoor concert season.

The fifth annual Star Spangled Celebration for Independence Day is presented by Anne Arundel County and the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County. Easily qualifying for the county's largest celebration of the arts, the concert usually attracts audiences of 6,500 to 8,000.

Carol Treiber, executive director of the Cultural Arts Foundation, calls this concert "a great way to begin the summer season of free concerts in the park." A number of county groups offer free park concerts in Linthicum, Glen Burnie, Crofton and in Downs Park and Quiet Waters - each supported by CAF grants.

Treiber says the season will close with two Labor Day concerts by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra - one at Downs Park and another at Quiet Waters.

The concert hasn't been without its critics. A few years ago, some Annapolis folks opposed using county funds to bring the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to the Arnold campus. That concern dwindled recently when they learned county funds were not involved; rather, support has always come from a number of private donors including Northrop Grumman and MIE Properties.

County Executive Janet S. Owens said that since taking office a little more than a year ago, "private donors have contributed the entire amount," adding that "the county has supported CAF with minimal money to set up events."

Owens, a strong supporter of the arts, added that "the more arts we have in the county, the better off we all are. We are really blessed with so many arts groups, and we have to celebrate that."

And the Annapolis Symphony has additional reason to celebrate, Owens noted, with county funds paying for construction of a shell in Quiet Waters Park where the ASO is expected to perform Labor Day.

On Saturday, before the BSO takes the stage, local talent will be showcased from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Crabtowne Big Band will start the festivities with its 18-piece band. Formed in the county in 1981, this popular swing band has been a favorite of the Siegert Field audience every year. Crabtowne performs at Surfside 7 in Edgewater every week, where dancers enjoy their classic swing tunes.

Another local performing arts group that is returning for the fifth year is the Annapolis Chorale, directed by J. Ernest Green. The singers will bring their elegant style to a medley of Broadway show tunes and popular classics. And for the second year an ensemble from Maryland Sings, a Baltimore County-based group of young singers age 10 to 23, will perform. This group is building a growing reputation at major Maryland events.

For the first time, players from Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre will come to Siegert Field. Technical director Peter O'Malley expects to present some performers from the theater's sold-out opener, "Jesus Christ Superstar." In addition, O'Malley is considering previewing his August offering, "Once Upon a Mattress," with a few of that show's numbers.

Directed by Daniel Hege, the BSO will take the stage at 8:15 p.m. to offer a program billed as musical Americana that will feature Sousa marches and favorite patriotic songs. The finale will include selections from "Star Wars" by John Williams and a fireworks display.

Concert-goers can bring folding chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to Siegert Field, which has open bleachers and lawn seating. Food will be sold. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit county arts groups. Information: 410-222-7949.

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