One area Howard County can certainly boast about is its vibrant arts scene, with an abundance of choices that include theater, music and dance companies, as well as free outdoor concerts at Lake Kittamaqundi, Centennial Park and Columbia’s village centers. Performances are staged throughout the year at local venues, which include:

> The Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College houses, among other facilities, the John G. Monteabaro Recital Hall, as well as a state-of-the-art black box theater. 443-518-1490.  

Merriweather Post Pavilion This open-air amphitheater in Columbia’s Symphony Woods has become a major stopping-off point on the pop-star circuit, offering everything from rap to folk, from Kenny Chesney to Elvis Costello. 410-715-5550 or www.merriweathermusic.com.

Smith Theater at Howard Community College, 443-518-1490.


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Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School, 410-997-1317.

FESTIVALS

>    Columbia Festival of the Arts The annual Columbia Festival of the Arts (CFA) was founded in 1989. Musical artists as varied as Wynton Marsalis, Arlo Guthrie, Aretha Franklin, Dave Brubeck and Emmylou Harris have performed at CFA, as well as dance troupes like MOMIX, Alvin Ailey and Ballet Hispanico. By featuring area artists alongside top-name talents, the festival has forged its own identity and established itself as one of the leading area summer celebrations of the arts. 410-715-3044 or www.columbiafestival.com.

CONCERT SERIES

>  Candlelight Concerts Its subscription season regularly attracts top talents like Awadagin Pratt, the Tokyo String Quartet, the Billy Taylor Trio and pianist Richard Goode. Other components include a jazz and children’s concert series and theater productions. 410-997-2324 or www.candlelightconcerts.org.

Music at Marriottsville At Bon Secours Spiritual Center. 410-442-1320 or www.bonsecoursspiritualcenter.org

Sundays at Three Chamber music series at Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia. 410-992-0145 or www.sundaysatthree.org.

 MUSICAL GROUPS

Columbia Pro Cantare This world-class volunteer choir presents programs of American standards and the area’s only full orchestral and choral performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”  www.procantare.org.

Columbia Orchestra In its 33rd year, this ensemble led by conductor Jason Love offers concerts with instrumental works ranging from classic to contemporary composers. 410-465-8777 or www.columbiaorchestra.org.

>  Musicians and singers of all ages have a variety of outlets for their talents, ranging from the Maryland Children’s Singers and the Howard County Children’s Chorus to the Heart of Maryland Chorus/Barbershop Harmony Society and the Elkridge-based Sweet Adelines chorus to the Maryland Youth Symphony and the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra. Several clubs and festivals offer regular “open mike” nights.

THEATER

Toby’s Dinner Theatre specializes in Broadway-style musical fare, presented with a live band, professional costuming and inventive staging. 410-730-8311 or www.tobysdinnertheatre.com.

Rep Stage Company Based at Howard Community College, this is the county’s first Actors’ Equity troupe, featuring the area’s premier acting talent in challenging plays. 443-518-1500 or www.repstage.org.

>  Community stages include Columbia Community Players, Columbia School for Theatrical Arts, Howard County Summer Theatre, Kittamaqundi Players, Drama Learning Center, Summer Actors Institute and Young Artists Theatre in Laurel.

ART CENTERS AND MUSEUMS