The summer outdoor concert season has arrived, bringing music to appeal to almost every taste at regional parks and other outdoor venues.
This pleasant seasonal entertainment is sponsored by a variety of local businesses and organizations that make the concerts free to the public, requiring people to bring only their own folding chairs or blankets and picnic coolers.
Tomorrow (with a Sunday rain date) brings the grandest concert of them all when the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra heads to Anne Arundel Community College's Siegert Field for its third annual "Fourth of July Spectacular."
At 6:30 p.m., the award-winning Rob Levit Trio, with acoustic bassist Amy Shook and master drummer Frank Russo joining composer-guitarist Levit, will offer a mix of jazz, classical and funk tunes to begin the afternoon's entertainment.
The ASO takes to the outdoor stage at 8 p.m. to perform a full-length program conducted by Lt. Col. John Clanton, who will also lead the U.S. Army Chorus in selections to include American classics by Morton Gould, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" and John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" will accompany the 20-minute fireworks finale to be provided by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale.
Rain washed out Sunday's opening concert of the series presented by the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights in Linthicum Park at Benton Avenue off Route 170. Starting at 6 p.m., the Sunday concerts will include next week's performance featuring the Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, followed July 9 by Crabtowne Big Band (18 pieces). July 16 will bring Them Eastport Oyster Boys (original stories and songs), followed by Bobby and the Believers (big band) July 23, Falstaff 5+2 (Dixieland Jazz) July 30, and U.S. Army Volunteers (touring show band) Aug. 6.
Concerts are offered Sundays through Sept. 3 at Downs Park. A large crowd was on hand in mid-June to enjoy Swing Shift, doing vintage swing such as "In the Mood" and familiar Latin tunes such as the perennially enticing samba "Brazil" and danceable cha-chas such as "Sway with Me," which recently enjoyed a revival stemming from the Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez movie Shall We Dance.
The season continues with 6 p.m. concerts Sunday with Mike and Mike performing classic beach tunes, July 9 with Izzi Does It (jazz), July 16 Electric Brigade (top 40), Country Current July 23 and The Goldenaires (big band) July 30. August concerts start at 5 p.m. and will include a mix of folk music, Motown, country and German oompah. The season closes Sept. 3 with a bluegrass concert by Roadside Cafe.
At Quiet Waters Park on Saturdays starting at 6 p.m., the concert season begins July 8 with Junkyard Saints, followed by Dead Men's Hollow on July 15, Red Letter Day on July 22, Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams on July 29, Linwood Taylor Band on Aug. 5, The Remnants on Aug. 12, Patrick Alban and Noche Latina on Aug. 19, Unity Reggae Band on Aug. 26, the ASO on Sept. 2, The Reapers on Sept. 9, the Doug Segree Band on Sept. 16 and The Geckos on Sept. 23.
Free concerts are offered every Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Annapolis Harbor Center, although no program schedule is currently posted. For information, call 410-266-5857.
On Tuesday evenings, the U.S. Naval Academy Band offers its Summer Serenade Series of free concerts at City Dock in Annapolis. The Concert Band will perform Wednesday (8 p.m.) and July 11, Electric Brigade on July 18, Concert Band on July 25. The Next Wave will perform Aug. 1, the Concert Band on Aug. 8 and closing the season Aug. 15.
In celebration of its centennial, Severna Park has lined up a four-concert series to be presented Sundays at 6:30 p.m. at Hatton-Regester Green on the B&A Trail or, in case of rain, at Holy Grounds Youth Center. July 9 brings local favorites - the Severna Park Bums, followed July 16 by Corey Brooks and The Gumption Group (jazz trio), July 23 by the Federal City Brass Band (historic Maryland music) and July 30 by the Bay Bridge Windjammers, which will offer a variety from Celtic to bluegrass to current popular songs.
Another outdoor concert in Severna Park occurs Wednesday after the annual Fourth of July parade when a group of musicians will offer a Dixieland program at the Anne Arundel Recreation Field off Cypress Creek Road.
A number of other outdoor concert series are available, many of them listed on www.visitannapolis.org.
Although all concerts are free, there is a $5-per-car parking fee charged at Downs Park and Quiet Waters. Anyone 60 or older who plans to attend more than six concerts at these parks might consider purchasing a lifetime pass good any time for all four regional parks - Downs, Quiet Waters, Fort Smallwood and Kinder Farm Park. These $30 passes can be obtained at the gatehouse at any of the four parks or at the park information center (410-222-7317).