Four Montgomery County communities are hosting free weekly lunch-hour concerts this summer to lure officer workers and others outdoors for good music and good times.
Performances featuring a variety of music, from pop and jazz to grunge, are underway in Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring and Rockville.
"We want people to enjoy themselves during lunchtime, and we want people to get out more and enjoy Silver Spring as a city," said Elizabeth Gallaursi, a Silver Spring business owner who coordinated this year's concerts.
There's so much more going on now than there was five years ago, she said. "We want people to enjoy what is out there."
Organizers of the Silver Spring series said they hope it will help maintain the momentum of the downtown redevelopment. "There is something for folks to do here on Fridays at lunchtime, and we hope to continue with the concept so that more and more people will come to Silver Spring," said Susan Hoffmann, manager of marketing and special events at the Silver Spring Regional Services Center.
The Silver Spring music series, "Friday Street Stuff," which has moved over the past few years, has a permanent setting at two outdoor plazas: the new Silver Plaza on Ellsworth Road, built as part of the downtown redevelopment, and the renovated Metro Plaza on Second Avenue. The Friday concerts will be held from noon to 2 p.m.
"We are using two different locations so that we are capturing the built-in audience that comes to those plazas," Hoffmann said. "There is always a large number people having lunch outside or are in those public places."
Tomorrow's performance at Silver Plaza features the local band the Grandsons, which will be performing a mix of New Orleans R&B, swing and country two-steps.
"We have history in the D.C. area, and this is a great music community to be a part of," said Alan MacEwen, the band's vocalist and guitarist. "We hope to entertain and will strive to put on a fun performance that people can enjoy."
At the Silver Plaza on July 16, the Charles Woods Quartet will play tunes from its new CD. "Live music always brings a touch of class and a touch of community," said Charles Woods, who has been playing jazz for more than 30 years. "We feel really motivated to be part of the burgeoning arts development scene in the Silver Spring community."
The lineup for the remaining "Friday Street Stuff" performances is:
July 23: Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, roots rock and pop, at Metro Plaza.
July 30: Lilo Gonzalez Band, Latin rhythms, at Silver Plaza.
Aug. 6: Almost Recess, a cappella, at Metro Plaza.
Aug. 13: Bittersweet Manics, alternative grunge, at Silver Plaza.
For more information, contact the Silver Spring Regional Center at 301-565-7300.
Two groups are continuing their annual concerts this year. The Willow Garden Theater has been bringing lunchtime shows to downtown Bethesda for two decades. The Bethesda Urban Partnership, which promotes the downtown area, started its concert series 10 years ago.
The Willow Garden Theater hosts its concerts from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays at the Bethesda Gateway Building, 7201 Wisconsin Ave.:
July 14: Pat Garvey, Irish acoustic.
July 28: Mike Suratt, keyboard and vocals.
Aug. 4: Steven Gellman, contemporary folk.
Aug. 11: Lori Kelley and Cletus Kennelly, folk rock.
Aug. 18: Chris Dunnett, Latin, Gypsy, neoclassical.
Aug. 25: The Gumption Group, instrumental jazz, R&B, funk and standards.
Sept. 1: Rear View Mirror, R&B, rock and jazz.
Sept. 8: Susan Jones and String Shift, classical jazz.
Sept. 15: George Spicka and Jane Lamar, jazz.
For more information about the Willow Garden Theater series, call 301-352-5387.
"Lunchtime Concerts" sponsored by the Bethesda Urban Partnership are held from noon to 2 p.m. Fridays at Bethesda Place Plaza, at Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue. The remaining concerts are:
Tomorrow: Indigo, smooth-jazz vocals.
July 16: The James Bazen Project, contemporary jazz.
July 23: Almost Recess, a cappella.
July 30: Second Story Duo, acoustic blues and world music.
For more information, contact the Bethesda Urban Partnership at 301-215-6660 or visit www.bethesda.org.
Gaithersburg's Thursday lunchtime concert series, "Noon Tunes," is held from noon to 2 p.m. at the City Hall Concert Pavilion, 27 S. Summit Ave.
The remaining concerts are:
Today: Steven Gellman and Rick Kanton, folk.
July 15: Ellis, Doyle and Jones, Caribbean and pop.
July 22: Laurie Rose Griffith and Petre Mealy, folk and pop.
July 29: Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition, bluegrass.
Attendees can bring a blanket, lawn chairs and a picnic. For more information, call 301-258-6350.
Rockville's "Out to Lunch Wednesdays" take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rockville Town Center, East Montgomery Avenue. The concert series is held jointly with Rockville's Farmers Market.
The remaining concerts are:
July 14: Marge Calhoun, urban folk.
July 21: Rockfish, rock.
July 28: Kevin Kline Band, pop and original.
Aug. 4: The Musical Theatre.
Aug. 11: Riptide, rock.
Aug. 18: the Lovejoy Group, Latin jazz, Afro rhythms.
Aug. 25: Unstrung, jazz.
Sept. 1: The Grandsons, roots rock.
Sept. 8: Rita Clarke and the Naturals, bayou rhythms.
Sept. 15: Lisa Moscatiello and Rosie Shipley, Irish traditional.
Sept. 22: The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, original rock.
Sept. 29: Jeff Ball, Native American.
Oct. 6: Rock 'n' Roll Review, oldies.
Oct. 13: The Lisa Moscatiello Band, folk rock.
Oct. 20: The Hula Monsters, Hawaiian swing.
Oct. 27: Red Toed Road, bluegrass.
For more information about the series, call 240-314-5000.