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Arts Council offers Plaza Party Concerts

August 04, 2005|by JANET HEIM

janeth@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Arts Council is offering another reason to take in the sights and sounds of summer with its Plaza Party Concerts on Thursdays at noon through Aug. 18.

Set in the University Plaza adjacent to the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown on West Washington Street, the hour-long live concerts draw up to 100 people, said Kevin Moriarty, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council.

Musical groups are featured every week except for the final week, when a youth theater group will take the stage.

The plaza is an open space in the middle of town with benches that encourages lingering. Many listeners bring lunch to the plaza and take a break from work as they listen to local musicians.

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Moriarty said part of the arts council's mission is to enrich the social, economic and cultural life of the community. The Plaza Party Concerts accomplish this by providing local musicians an opportunity to perform, while showcasing University Plaza.

The concert series has been beneficial to some downtown restaurants that have had an increase in takeout sales for the Thursday performances, Moriarty said.

"I think it's kind of cool working downtown," said Moriarty, who added that the performances are a way to remind downtown workers of that. He said the next goal is to get people who don't live or work downtown to come to the concerts.

With the inaugural year off to a successful start, plans already are under way for next year.

"Be on the lookout for next year," Moriarty said. "It's coming back bigger and better."

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