Sounds of a Baltimore summer

Living in a big metropolitan area means that boredom is not the easiest thing to achieve. This certainly is true as far as music lovers are concerned. They have a cornucopia of free offerings between now and the first whiffs of autumn.

Beginning tonight with a concert featuring veteran jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, Baltimore's Hopkins Plaza will be alive with free music from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. each Thursday night during the month of June. This year's performers include some big names: saxophonist Kim Waters (June 9), guitarist Stanley Jordan (June 16), rhythm-and-blues singer Angela Bofill (June 23) and the Rippingtons (June 30).


Another musical tradition resumes June 30, when the city Bureau of Music kicks off its free concert series. The city has provided band music for its residents since 1860. This year's performances consists of 12 concerts by the Municipal Concert Band and seven by the Baltimore Big Band. For times and locations, call 396-7076.

Neighborhoods also sponsor free concerts. Ellis Island, a Celtic folk music group, will play at 5 p.m. this Sunday under the gazebo of Union Square. The park is located off the 1500 block of West Lombard Street. Concerts will continue there on the first Sunday of each month until Oct. 2.


Music also provides a splendid excuse for city dwellers to visit neighboring towns.

Glen Burnie will have jazz from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on three consecutive Fridays, starting June 10. All concerts will be held at the Arundel Plaza North, Crain Highway and Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard.

"Towson at Night" premieres at 7 p.m. June 12 at the Courthouse Plaza. A variety of musical styles will be featured in concerts that conclude Sept. 11. Call 825-1144 for information.

Centennial Park South, along Route 108, is the site for Columbia's weekly "Sunset Serenades" from 7 p.m. June 15 to Aug. 17. The opening act is Rhumba Club.

These are only a few examples. When all the pay concert series are included, the list seems almost endless. They range from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to Ladew Topiary Gardens, from bluegrass to blues. We recommend that residents take advantage of the wealth of performances going on this season. Go, listen -- and see different places. Above all, enjoy!