Imagine relaxing in the warm summer air with the sounds of Beethoven and Bach drifting through the air: just you, the music -- and 10,000 others.
Each year, crowds flock to Oregon Ridge Park to partake of performances by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The casual series kicks off tomorrow evening at the Baltimore County park and joins an expanding lineup of outdoor music productions.
While the BSO has been taking its show to Oregon Ridge for more than 20 years, many features have been added in recent years, including a covered stage for better sound, more performances for growing audiences, and fireworks at the end of most shows. The BSO has also diversified its selections. This summer, one evening focuses on the brass section for jazz improvisation and another show features movie hits.
The relaxed setting also provides families with a way to introduce classical music to children. The "Family Fun and Fireworks" show Aug. 5, for example, will feature selections from "Beauty and the Beast," "The Sound of Music" and "The Lion King." Infants as young as 6 months have been brought to the informal shows.
Other area parks and outdoor amphitheaters will also provide people with music and a chance to catch the sunset. Here is a sampling of the offerings. Unless noted, the concerts are free.
Oregon Ridge Park
Shawan Road off Interstate 83.
The Summer Fest schedule features a varied selection, beginning with classical, then concluding with jazz and movie hits. Ticket prices vary; for information, call (410) 783-8000. BSO performances:
* Gershwin, By George, tomorrow, 7 p.m.
* All-American Salute, July 3 and 4, 8 p.m.; there will be fireworks.
* Bravo Beethoven, July 16, 7 p.m.
* Romantic Works and Fireworks, July 21, 8 p.m.
* Bring on the Brass, Aug. 4, 8 p.m., fireworks
* Family, Fun, and Fireworks, Aug. 5, 8 p.m.
Starlight Serenades Performances:
All concerts begin at 7 p.m. Call (410) 887-1818 for more information
* Baltimore County High Schools Band, June 29
* Bob Barrett Big Band, July 7
* The Fabulous Hubcaps, July 14. Call (410) 356-7118 for tickets
Lurman Woodland Theater
The stage is tucked in the woods next to Catonsville High School. Because bench space is limited, be sure to bring blankets. All concerts begin at 6 p.m. and are easily accessible to those in wheelchairs. Bloomsbury Avenue and Rolling Road; (410) 887-0959.
* The U.S. Navy's Commodores, July 2
* Tim McFadden and Friends (Tony McGuffin, Abby Bardi & Others begin at 4 p.m.), July 23
* The Satin Rhythm Band, Aug. 6
* Terra Nova, Aug. 20
* Windy Ridge and Frontier Justice, Aug. 27
Cromwell Valley Park
A hearty country setting complete with stone house and wooden bridge. Before the shows start at 7 p.m., concert-goers can explore the fresh hiking trails that meander through Baltimore County's newest park. East Cromwell Bridge Road; (410) 887-2503.
* Powerhouse, Night Train, July 13
* George Hipp, July 20
* Maryland Summer Center for Arts High School Band, Aug. 13
* Aldo Lagrutta, Aug. 17
Tuesday nights feature a wide variety of music at these concerts, which begin at 7 p.m. For kids, Dundalk Elementary School's playground sits right behind the stage. Dundalk Avenue to Dunway Street; (410) 282-4116.
* Pride, July 18
* 229th Army Band, July 25
* Statham, Aug. 1
* The Nancy Carroll Band, Aug. 8
* Bobby and the Streetrods, Aug. 15
* Townsmen, Aug. 22
* Chorus of the Chesapeake, Sweet Adelines, Aug. 29
Gwynn Oak Park
Concerts in this shaded venue -- at 6010 Gwynn Oak Ave. and Park Drive -- begin at 7:30 p.m. ; (410) 887-1357.
* St. Patty's Day in June, June 28
* Trinidad and Tobago, July 12
* Patapsco Valley Chorus, July 26
* Children's Concert, Aug. 9
Classical music continues as recitalists from around the world perform on the chapel's bells. Listen from the lawn or in your car, then take a tour of the tower after the show. Concerts are from 7 p.m. until 8 and continue from July 7 through Aug. 4. Tagart Memorial Chapel, Reisterstown Road to McDonogh Road; (410) 363-0600.
Grilled specialty platters from Chef Dana, Centennial Park's concessionaire, are available 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
All concerts begin at 7 p.m. Although parking for the Sunset Serenades costs $2, guests may receive $1 off by bringing a Giant register receipt dated no more than 10 days prior to the show. Off Route 108, Columbia; (410) 313-7275.
* Silver Wings, June 28
* Phileutonia, Royal City Band of Helmond, Netherlands, July 5
* Totally Confused, July 12
* Family Sing-Along, July 19
* Country Current, July 26
* Mama Jama, Aug. 2
* 98Rock presents "Friday Night Live," 5 p.m.-8 p.m., to showcase regional rock-and-roll bands.
* Magic 95.9 and Beefeater have teamed up to bring "Smooth Sounds Saturday Nights" to local jazz and rhythm-and-blues fans every week from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.
* Military and community bands perform patriotic favorites for "Celebrate America Sundays" from 6 to 8 p.m. weekly. Call Harborplace, (410) 332-4191, or the Harbor Events Line at (800) HARBOR-1 for more concert information.
Westview Neighborhood Park
Come early to take advantage of the park's ball diamond, hiking HTC trails, two huge playgrounds and picnic pavilion, then stick around for the concert. Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. Chesworth and Gilston Park Roads; (410) 887-0962.
* Trinidad and Tobago, July 20
* St. Patty's Day in August, Aug. 10