Perfect Pitch: Songs of Summer

A selection of can’t-miss summer concerts. 

The Hackensaw Boys will perform July 23 at AMP (Courtesy photo)

The Hackensaw Boys will perform July 23 at AMP (Courtesy photo)

Our coverage of the Washington arts scene has taken us from the great halls of The Kennedy Center to the Music Center at Strathmore and led to conversations with distinguished artists. Opening night concerts and elaborate arts receptions have found us dressed to the nines. But with the heat of summer upon us, we are inclined to loosen our bow ties and trade our suits for shorts as we soak up culture on a lawn in the countryside or on a sleek bar surrounded by jazzy melodies. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will perform on July 11 at The Castleton Festival. (Photo by Charles Dharapak)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will perform on July 11 at The Castleton Festival. (Photo by Charles Dharapak)

Law and Opera with Justice
July 11, 2 p.m.
The Castleton Festival; 7 Castleton Meadows Lane Castleton, Va.; $35
We all know Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the unprecedented influence and moderate voice she adds to our nation’s highest court. But just as much as she loves the melodies of the law, she is an impassioned supporter of opera. Founded by the late conductor Lorin Maazel, Castleton plays hosts to several performances and recitals this summer, including a rare chat with the Notorious RBG. In this intimate setting, Justice Ginsburg shares her insights on the intersection of law and the arts, followed by performances from the Castleton Training Artists Program’s young performers.

Patti LaBelle will perform on July 19 at The Filene Center at Wolf Trap. (Photo courtesy Wolf Trap)

will perform on July 19 at The Filene Center at Wolf Trap. (Photo courtesy Wolf Trap)

Patti LaBelle
July 19, 8 p.m.
The Filene Center at Wolf Trap; 1645 Trap Rd. Vienna, Va.; $30-$65
What better way to enjoy the music of beloved singer and Emmy-nominated actress Patti LaBelle than under the beauty of the evening stars? Whether you spread your blanket on the lawn or grab a seat in the pavilion, you can enjoy such classic LaBelle’s hits as “Lady Marmalade,” “New Attitude,” or “On My Own.” As Rolling Stone Magazine once said, “When LaBelle’s voice simmers in its churchy low register, it’s usually a sign she’s about to leap up and howl the roof off.” LaBelle will be joined by The Jones Family Singers, who have performed their gospel hits internationally at festivals including the Winnipeg Folk Festival and released “The Spirit Speaks” in 2014.

Hackensaw Boys
July 23, 8 p.m.
AMP Powered by Strathmore; 11810 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda, Md.; $25-$35
For a relaxed contrast to the concert hall setting, check out AMP Powered by Strathmore, the hottest new venue for live music. Cool drinks, appetizers and the intimacy of a smaller space make for an enjoyable evening. The Hackensaw Boys, playing AMP this summer, blend classical bluegrass and a unique combination of tongue-in-cheek lyrics to create a light-hearted show. Their unique style and raw musical talent have all added to the popularity of the Charlottesville-based band.

The 2015 Summer Spirit Festival on August 8 at Merriweather Post Pavilion will feature Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Floetry, Estelle, Junkyard Band, Avery Sunshine and other special guests. (Photo by Stefan Cramer)

The 2015 Summer Spirit Festival on August 8 at Merriweather Post Pavilion will feature , Anthony Hamilton, Floetry, Estelle, Junkyard Band, Avery Sunshine and other special guests. (Photo by Stefan Cramer)

2015 Summer Spirit Festival
Featuring Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Floetry, Estelle, Junkyard Band, Avery Sunshine and special guests
August 8, 3 p.m.
Merriweather Post Pavilion; 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy., Columbia, Md.; $48.00 – $125.00
It is not often that you can attend a concert with several headliners at the same time.  Wind down with a Sunday afternoon of soulful tunes with some of the nation’s leading performers, including Grammy Award-winning songtress Erykah Badu. Get ready to move and sway to the music with this impressive line up of artists. And if you are a native Washingtonian, the hallmark  Go-Go sounds of the legendary Junkyard Band will surely get you on your feet. 

patrickmccoy

Recently named among the Forty Under 40 for his contributions to arts and humanities, Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and a M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. , where he serves on the alumni board of directors. He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price. McCoy has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Martina Arroyo, Denyce Graves, Eric Owens, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence Brownlee. He is music director at Trinity Episcopal Church, DC. Listen to these interviews and others at Blog Talk Radio. Additionally, he is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America. McCoy may be reached via email at wlperformingarts@aol.com and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *