IT IS usually a cold day in January when Jo Barker and Charlotte Wheeler, chairwoman and co-chairwoman, respectively, of the music committee of the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights, start planning summer concerts in Linthicum Park.
They, with 14 committee members, begin making calls to line up performers and iron out all the details necessary to present free concerts to the public.
The idea for Concerts in the Park was proposed by Eloise Vaughan in 1981, when she was president of the club.
"The club started with one concert, the Naval Academy Band, and we rented a showmobile from the county," Barker said.
The concert was such a success that it was decided to present more the next year, but problems arose when planners tried to coordinate the entertainment with the availability of the showmobile.
During Verena Linthicum's presidency, the club took up the challenge of raising money to purchase a permanent bandstand for the park.
It sponsored a spring tour of Linthicum homes to raise money, and with some help from the county was able to purchase the bandstand in 1986.
With a permanent bandstand placed under a canopy of trees, it was possible to schedule more groups to perform.
"We've come a long way since those first days," said Barker, president from 1984 to 1986 and chairwoman of the concert series since then. "The community just loves the concerts. And it's gone beyond Linthicum; people are coming from outside the community."
Money budgeted by the club, donations from other community groups and a grant from the Cultural Arts Foundation of Anne Arundel County, as well as donations received at the concerts, add up to support the seven or eight programs each year.
Supporting organizations for Concerts in the Park this year include the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association, Linthicum Lions and Rotary clubs, Performing Arts Association of Linthicum, Crestwood Improvement Association, Anne Arundel County Optimists, and AARP Chapter 2244.
Barker said people appreciate the concert series, and she gave examples of how they help.
"This year, out of the blue, we received a check from AARP Chapter 2244," Barker said. "They just came to us and offered to be a sponsor. We didn't ask them. Also, we have this wonderful guy who supplies the port-a-potty for the park."
The "wonderful guy" is Olson Krouse of Ferndale, who arranges the rental of the portable toilet that is available during each concert.
"I am overwhelmed by the generosity of people," Barker said.
The music committee takes on other responsibilities.
Before each concert, with the permission of the Police Department, members cover the no-parking signs along Benton Avenue so spaces there become available. They also make beverages for each entertainment group and provide a supper for members of the Naval Academy Band when they play.
Sometimes a group makes an unexpected request - such as when Mahina & the Polynesians asked committee members to provide a dressing room so they could change costumes.
Members created one by draping sheets over ropes that were tied to trees.
Barker said most problems can be worked out, but she found one thing in her 16 years as chairwoman of the concert series that causes the most anxiety: the weather.
No rain dates are provided for the concerts, scheduled Sundays.
In the past, the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association has planned a picnic for the community on the day of the last concert.
But because of a rainout last year, the association decided to schedule this year's picnic for Aug. 5 - coinciding with the next-to-last concert, and allowing for a rain date if needed.
Remaining concerts in this year's series include the big-band music of Zim Zemarel at 6 p.m. today; the Sounds Good jazz quartet at 6 p.m. July 15; Frankie and Company (music of the 1940s and 50s) at 6:30 p.m. July 22; the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition (traditional and contemporary bluegrass) at 6 p.m. July 29; Crabtowne Big Band at 6 p.m. Aug. 5; and the Naval Academy Band at 6 p.m. Aug. 12.
Linthicum Park is on Benton Avenue, off Camp Meade Road (Route 170). Turn at the blinking light by the firehouse. Extra parking is available on the lot of Linthicum Elementary School on School Lane, adjacent to the park.
Audience members may bring chairs and blankets. Picnics and coolers are welcome, but not alcoholic beverages.
Information: 410-859- 3308.