Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Strathmore’s Live from the Lawn Highlights

Everything from Ukulele All Stars to the Maryland Lyric Opera will perform on Strathmore's lawn in August

Strathmore — Photo: Courtesy of Strathmore

At the moment, there’s not a lot going on in either the grand Music Hall or the historic Mansion at Strathmore, the Montgomery County performing arts hub.

And that’s how it should be as we enter the dog days of summer, time better spent enjoying the great outdoors — in the evenings, as the blazing afternoon sun sets, at any rate — particularly from a luscious and leafy shaded stretch of land backdropped with a view of tall trees and gently sloping hills.

That’s the delightful setting for the annual “Live from the Lawn” concert series at Strathmore, through which local and up-and-coming acts perform from the Gudelsky Gazebo.

All performances are on Wednesday evenings starting at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

The series continues with a “quintessential rock ‘n’ roll performance you won’t soon forget” by The Bobby Thompson Band, winner of the 2018 WAMMIE Award for Best Blues Album, and now showcasing a new batch of songs from a new full-length album (8/3).

Next up is a performance by Ladama, a quartet of women musicians from “across the Americas” — Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, and the U.S. — whose original rhythmic-driven compositions blend traditional roots music with pop and feature lyrics sung in a mix of Spanish, Portuguese, and English (8/10).

A showcase of Ukulele All-Stars from around the globe, plus a mass strum-along, is the culminating event of Strathmore’s popular annual summer festival known as UkeFest (8/17).

And Shayna Steele, a former in-demand backup singer for Bette Midler, Kelly Clarkson, and Rihanna, who has also collaborated with Snarky Puppy and Moby, performs from her most recent album Watch Me Fly, offering six originals and four interpretations of soul, blues, and jazz classics (8/24).

Other upcoming outdoor events set for the Gudelsky Gazebo are two free Cool Concerts For Kids on Thursdays at 7 p.m.: the “Black To The Future” show from Grammy-nominated hip-hop/soul artist and “millennial dad” Pierce Freelon that draws from Afrofuturism, Black history, and archival voices with the goal of instilling “values like vulnerability and having an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in today’s children” (7/28), and “Somos Amigos: Songs on Common Ground, a joyful, bilingual collaboration between the Latin Grammy-nominated Mexican songstress Sonia De Los Santos and Grammy-winning Americana/folk duo The Okee Dokee Brothers (8/11).

Over the course of five days in mid-August, ending with the aforementioned Ukulele All-Stars concert, Strathmore presents the 14th annual UkeFest organized by Grammy Award-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 stringed 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, taking place in an Education Room in the Mansion, the first featuring Herb Ohta, Jr., Eve Goldberg, and Pablo Regis, followed the next evening by Fink, Marxer, and Daniel Ward (8/13 and 8/14, 6:30 p.m.).

Finally, two concerts of note taking place in the air-conditioned, acoustically rich environs of the Music Hall: a special memorial concert from the Maryland Lyric Opera in tribute to legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher, who died two years ago at the age of 92, with performances of Camille Saint-Saëns’s mesmerizing Piano Concerto No. 2 by special guest soloist Cecile Licad and Gabriel Fauré’s haunting Requiem featuring the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus led by Louis Salemno and featuring soprano Nayoung Ban and baritone SeungHyeon Baek (8/2, 7:30 p.m.).

And a performance by DakhaBrakha, the acclaimed Ukrainian folk quartet whose music incorporates Indian, Arabic, African, Russian, and Australian traditional instrumentation and whose performances are described as “full sensory experiences due to the group’s roots in theatrical work, fully staging their music 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.

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