Even with many clouds overhead threatening to dampen the already wet lawn at Strathmore Hall, Mike Warner of Aspen Hill was still able to call it a "marvelous summer night."
"We come a couple times a year, almost every year to make good use of the free concerts," Warner said.
This is the effect that Strathmore Hall, the center of Bethesda's musical community, seems to have on people that go there. Even on an evening when heavy rainstorms soaked the lawn less than an hour before the performance, the lawn was still covered in a sea of blankets and beach chairs.
THE WARNERS WERE among more than 200 people that came to see Strathmore's free summer concert series called “Summer Serenades,” which brings such acclaimed classical groups as the WWII USO Review featuring members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Carolyn and Ronald Manslow of Rockville said that while they used to go to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for their concerts, they recently been have coming more and more to Strathmore.
“We like it here,” Carolyn said. “It's close to home and there are a lot of quality events here.”
However, Strathmore Hall is not just about classical music and world-class art galleries — there are several annual events that the whole family can enjoy. Every year in July, Strathmore hosts the Comcast Outdoor Film Festival to benefit NIH Children's Charities, 10 straight days showing such classics as the “Wizard of Oz,” “Jaws,” and “Star Wars,” as well as new movies like “Lord of the Rings.”
Strathmore provides arts programming to more than 150,000 people each year, and will open their new, 2000-seat concert hall on Feb. 5, 2005. The concert hall will be home to classical, jazz, folk and pop music as well as dance and comedy performances.
The Music Center at Strathmore will be, as Eliot Pfanstiehl, President and CEO, Strathmore Foundation, puts it, “the Carnegie Hall of the region.” This exciting new concert hall and education center will bring such famous musicians as Savion Glover, Barbara Cook, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Peter Cincotti, Dr. John and Dan Zanes to our own backyard.
“Strathmore is a campus for the arts and a village-green for the county,” Pfanstiehl said.