At the moment, not much is going on in the grand Music Hall or the historic Strathmore Mansion, the performing arts center of Montgomery County.
And that’s how it should be as we enter the scorching days of summer, time best spent enjoying the great outdoors – in the evening, to the blazing sunset of the afternoon, anyway. – particularly from a lush, verdant expanse of shaded land against a backdrop of views of tall trees and gently sloping hills.
It’s the enchanting setting for Strathmore’s annual ‘Live from the Lawn’ concert series, through which local and up-and-coming artists perform from the Gudelsky Gazebo.
All performances are Wednesday evenings beginning at 7 p.m., unless otherwise specified.
The series continues with a “quintessential rock ‘n’ roll performance you won’t soon forget” by Bobby Thompson’s bandwinner of the 2018 WAMMIE Award for Best Blues Album, and now presents a new batch of songs from a new full album (8/3).
Next comes a performance by ladamaa quartet of female musicians from “all over the Americas” – Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and the United States – whose original rhythm-driven compositions blend traditional roots music with pop and feature sung lyrics in a mix of Spanish, Portuguese and English (8/10).
A showcase of Ukulele All-Stars from around the world, as well as a mass concert, is the culminating event of Strathmore’s popular annual summer festival known as UkeFest (8/17).
And Shayna Steelean in-demand former backing vocalist for Bette Midler, Kelly Clarkson and Rihanna, who also collaborated with Snarky Puppy and Moby, performs her latest album watch me flyoffering six originals and four interpretations of soul, blues and jazz classics (8/24).
Other upcoming outdoor events scheduled for the Gudelsky Gazebo are two free children’s concerts on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.: the Grammy-nominated hip-hop/soul artist and “Dad of the Millennial” show “Black To The Future” . Pierce Freelon which draws on Afrofuturism, black history and archival voices with the aim of instilling “values like vulnerability and an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in children today” (7 /28), and “Somos Amigos: Songs on Common Ground, a cheerful, bilingual collaboration between the Latin Grammy-nominated Mexican singer Sonia DeLos Santos and Grammy-winning Americana/folk duo The Okee Dokee Brothers (8/11).
Over the course of five days in mid-August, culminating in the aforementioned Ukulele All-Stars concert, Strathmore presents the 14th annual UkeFest hosted by Grammy-winning folk musicians Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Partners in Music and Life.
UkeFest is primarily designed as an educational event to improve attendees’ skills on the signature Hawaiian string instrument – or, to quote the official description, “a strummer of a summer learning (or perfecting) your ukulele skills”.
Anyone can attend the Live from the Lawn concert as well as two evening faculty showcases, which take place in an education room in the mansion, the first featuring Herb Ohta, Jr., Eve Goldberg and Pablo Regis, followed the following evening by Fink, Marxer and Daniel Ward (08/13 and 08/14, 6:30 p.m.).
Finally, two remarkable concerts take place in the air-conditioned and acoustically rich surroundings of the Music Hall: a special commemorative concert of the Maryland Lyric Opera in tribute to the legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher, who died two years ago at the age of 92, with interpretations of the bewitching Camille Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 by special guest soloist Cécile Licad and bewitching music by Gabriel Fauré Requiem with the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Louis Salemno and with soprano Nayoung Ban and baritone SeungHyeon Baek (8/2, 7:30 p.m.).
And a performance of Dakha Brakhathe famous Ukrainian folk quartet whose music incorporates traditional Indian, Arab, African, Russian and Australian instruments and whose performances are described as “full sensory experiences due to the group’s roots in theater work, bringing their music to the full with an impactful visual element”. (8/6, 8 p.m.).
Gudelsky Gazebo, 10701 Rockville Pike, and Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.