Category Archives: Music

Twinbrook hosts Bicycle Drive on Sat., June 11

wall-sport-green-bikeThe Rockville Bike Hub (RBH) will host a bicycle drive on Saturday, June 11, between 3 and 6 p.m., during the Bikes, Brews and Barbecue event outside Revolution Cycles at 5750 Fishers Lane adjacent to the Twinbrook Metro. All bikes will be accepted but the critical need is for bicycles for children in first through fifth grade. Adult bikes will be used for education and volunteer training or donated to Bikes for the World.

In partnership with the City of Rockville, the non-profit, RBH recently gave away more than 30 bicycles to local elementary school children as a reward for performing a small service project. “In general, a bike gives a child a sense of independence and freedom and the ability to broaden the area that they can explore in their neighborhoods,” said Rockville Bike Hub Board President Steve Andruski. “Our hope is that, it turns into a lifelong activity and they become connected to the bicycling community.”

In addition to collecting bikes, the Rockville Bike Hub will be Continue reading →

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Rockville Rooftop Opens with a Preview this Friday night

VisArts opens Rockville’s Rooftop this Friday evening, April 26, with an open house for friends and families.  The open house begins at 5:00 pm as DJ CBreeze, Rooftop Live’s curator of Intelligent Dance Music, will be warming things up early with a powerful Cajun/House/Zydeco vibe and a blues performances by Bad Influence and Mary Shaver at 8:00 pm.

Rooftop Live is an arts-themed music lounge open under the stars and atop Rockville Town Square.  VisArts recently took over the management of the Rooftop and will be presenting live entertainment Thursday and Friday nights during the summer.  The Rooftop is on the 6th floor of 155 Gibbs Street in downtown Rockville (above La Tasca and La Canela restaurants).

Rockville Celebrates 25th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Festival

The best Memorial Day party this side of the Bay Bridge is coming soon. Rockville’s Hometown Holidays will celebrate 25 years of music, food, and fun in town center next month. The weekend will include five stages with more than 30 bands, the Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Rockville event with area restaurants participating, amusements and entertainment for children, and the Memorial Day ceremony and parade. Events start at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25 and continue through Monday, May 27.  In the 25 years since Hometown Holidays began, 1.2 million people have enjoyed the event.

Performing on Saturday will be:

Performing on Sunday will be:

  • Christylez Bacon, a progressive hip-hop artist from Washington, D.C., performing at 6:30 p.m. on the Town Square Stage.
  • The Waiting, a tribute band to Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • The Nighthawks, an award-winning DC-based blues and roots rock band

Watch Rockville’s Channel 11 for Hometown Holidays All Access, a show previewing some of the musical talent coming to Rockville this Memorial Day weekend. For updated information, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/hth.

The City’s Hometown Holidays Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RockvilleHometownHolidays) will be updated as the celebration nears, so stay tuned there for announcements of more bands and food vendors.

Hometown Holidays in Rockville

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Hometown Holidays is one of Rockville’s biggest events and spreads out among several streets in downtown with artists, restaurants, music, kiddie rides, businesses, and local organizations.  For a few hours today I joined the volunteers in the food ticket booth in a wonderful location between Oro Pomodoro and Bombay Bistro, two great Rockville restaurants.  Oro Pomodoro brought their wood burning stove and prepared the pizzas next to me, which was fun to watch (and I ordered a pizza al funghi when I finished my rotation in the booth).  Strolling the artists’ booth, I encountered Charlie Barton of Baltimore, who creates stunning silkscreened images that merges high contrast panoramic photography with the boldness of 1960s psychedelic art.  If you collect contemporary art by local artists, he’s one to watch.

Homes and Hospitality Tour this Saturday

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Get to know your city a bit better through the upcoming Homes and Hospitality Tour on Saturday afternoon, May 12.  Peerless Rockville organizes this special one-day exploration of a neighborhood every two years, and this year’s focus is East Rockville.  Most people don’t realize that this neighborhood east of the tracks not only has one of the densest collections of historic houses, but also some award-winning contemporary homes.  Once directly connected to downtown Rockville via Baltimore Road, after the streets were rerouted in the mid-20th century, East Rockville became hidden and forgotten, with many of the houses being cut up into apartments or falling into disrepair.  During the last couple decades, however, young couples and entrepreneurial investors saw the potential of this derelict neighborhood and began restoring the historic houses or building new ones on rare empty lots.  Interest in this neighborhood continues to grow given its long history, its architectural diversity, and its proximity to Metro, MARC, and downtown.

The Tour includes six different places to visit at your own pace and in any order:  three historic houses, two modern houses, and one public building.  All have remarkable stories (one of the first electrified houses in the city, another linked to a typhoid epidemic, and another that stands on a former “laboratory to prepare for Armageddon”–wow!) and by exploring them together, you’ll leave with a new appreciation for your community and be inspired by the care of your fellow residents (several have won awards).  Unlike most home tours, however, the event is staffed by many community leaders (so you may greeted by your Mayor, Police Chief, or State Delegate), many local restaurants provide refreshments (such as Carmen’s Ice Cream and Tower Oaks Lodge), and music is provided by local artists and students.  For $25, it’s a bargain for a special afternoon in your own town (and a great gift for Mother’s Day!) but if you buy in advance or if you’re a Peerless Rockville member, you can get a discount of up to 25% off.  Get your tickets in advance at PeerlessRockville.org or on the day of the event at the Pump House at 401 South Horner’s Lane.

Live Music in and around Rockville

One of the gazillion bands performing at Hometown Holidays, 2011

When Rockvillians are looking for live music, their tendency is to look south towards Silver Spring, DC, or, heavens! across the Potomac.  Well, those are great places–who can argue with the concerts at the Kennedy Center, The Fillmore, 9:30 Club, Wolftrap, or the Birchmere.  But there are plenty of great places for seriously good music in and around Rockville if you know where to look and when to show up.  In no particular order, here’s my list of concert venues and presenters of good live music:

  1. The Institute of Musical Traditions may be based in Takoma Park but it holds a concert series of Celtic, folk, bluegrass, and Creole music at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church (they call it Rockville, but it’s south of White Flint on Old Georgetown Road, so perhaps North Bethesda or South Rockville).  Takes a break during the summer.  Tickets run $15-20.
  2. Unplugged on the Rooftop, a Tuesday night concert series in Town Square featuring a mix of established and undiscovered local bands, such as The Digits and Meredith Seidel.   Admission free, cash bar.
  3. Wine Down is a Thursday night series from June through August that features live acoustic music while sampling wine and food from the nearby restaurants.  Free.
  4. Friday Night Live starts the weekends from May through September with free outdoor concerts (mostly rock from the 80s and 90s) in Rockville Town Square on Friday nights.
  5. Focus Music presents concerts of acoustic traditional and contemporary folk music at three locations around DC, including the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockville.
  6. Folk ‘N Great Music hosts intimate house concerts every other month on a Saturday evening (yup, in houses around Rockville and it’s the very first unionized house concert series in the US).  Next concert in June.  Reservations required, donations encouraged.
  7. Maryland Summer Jazz Festival, now in its eighth year, includes public concerts and a jazz camp in July.  Not exactly sure of the location but I suspect it’s somewhere in the south end of Rockville judging from the list of sponsors.
  8. Rockville Concert Band, Potomac Valley Youth Orchestra, and other musical groups perform at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater in Rockville’s Civic Center Park throughout the year.  Admission fees vary and most recommend reservations.
  9. Also in Civic Center Park, Glenview Mansion hosts monthly concerts on Sunday afternoons in its conservatory.  Admission free.
  10. Music Center at Strathmore is certainly of the region’s crown jewels and just ten minutes from my house.  It has two venues:  the large new concert hall and the intimate music room in the historic mansion.  Both present amazing performances by some of the leading artists in the country as well as being a home for the National Philharmonic (Rockville’s own Piotr Gajewski is conductor), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Washington Performing Arts Society.
  11. Hometown Holidays, a regional event hosted by the City of Rockville, takes place over Memorial Day weekend with something like forty free concerts on eight stages (this year’s headliner is country singer Easton Corbin), along with lots of food, craft booths, and of course a parade.

Wow, there’s plenty here in Rockville to keep your feet tapping all year but I’d love to make it a dozen.   If I missed a local concert venue or presenter (local means within two miles of the Red Brick Courthouse), please share it in the comments below.

New Blog for Rockville: Patch

Rockville Patch

In addition to Rockville Central and Rockville Living, Rockville Patch provides another online source of news and information about our fair city.  Patch is based in New York City and operates throughout the country, working in communities of 15-100K population that are “underserved by media and would benefit by having access to local news and information about government, schools and business”.  Each “Patch” is run by professional editors, writers, photographers, and videographers who live in or near the communities they serve and for the Rockville version includes nearly two dozen editors and contributors, including Sean Sedam, Lauren Sausser, Jillian Badanes, and Nathan Carrick (in case you run into them at an event).  They’ve been operating in Rockville since October 2010 and recent posts include a review of Zio’s Restaurant, a video on the Comptroller’s visit to Best Buy to promote Maryland’s tax-free weekend, and images from around town.  It seems to have already attracted the attention of the usual online community activists, including Temperance Blalock, Theresa Defino, and Joe Jordan (on Red Gate Golf Course, no surprise), so you’ll see some familiar faces.

Rockvillian Nathan Foley featured in Post magazine

Gutsy local musician Nathan Foley is featured in the November 28 issue of the Washington Post Magazine.  A 15-year old student at Montgomery Blair High School, his guitar-playing talents have won him Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater a record-breaking seven times and co-title of Super Top Dog 2010.  What an amazing achievement (just getting up on that stage shows he’s braver than most people).  How lucky we are to have him in our community!  See him on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al8XpTczi7g.