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Music by the Lake draws listeners from near and far

July 09, 2006|by DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN

Seeing a crowd of people, many with collapsible chairs slung over their shoulders, wandering into City Park, a foursome of Pennsylvania women followed them in and discovered Music by the Lake.

"We're from out of town. We happened upon it," said Wanda Speck of Belleville, Pa. "We thought it might be leftover fireworks."

"We stopped and asked a guy. He said it's a free concert of bluegrass and clogging," said LaDonna Weiler of McAlvey's Fort, Pa.

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So Speck, Weiler, and Holly Bell and Cindy Aurand, both of Lewistown, Pa., capped off a day of outlet shopping and dinner at The Grille at Park Circle with an evening of entertainment by the South Mountain String Band and the Rock Candy Cloggers.

Saturday's show was the first of eight consecutive Saturday night concerts in the Music by the Lake series, said Kevin Moriarty, executive director of the Washington County Arts Council, which presents the shows in partnership with the city.

"We have an emphasis on talent that is local. Regional. The best we can get" from Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Moriarty said.

A few hundred people spread out before the band shell for the inaugural concert for the series' fifth season.

Rob Caruthers on fiddle, Paul Mackrell on clawhammer banjo and Mary Dailey on mountain dulcimer played and sang old-time music, while Rock Howland and Candy Ranlet performed their percussive folk dances.

Dailey, of Hedgesville, W.Va., said she joined the band about four years ago, but Caruthers and Mackrell have been playing together for better than two decades.

There are many other opportunities for free entertainment from the arts council this summer, Moriarty said, including a dozen Thursday lunchtime concerts downtown, a dozen Wednesday night gospel concerts in the park and "a whole menu of children's programs."

The arts council is sponsoring Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen of Verona" Thursday at 8 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater, Moriarty said.

While not sponsored by the council, Moriarty said that the Hagerstown Municipal Band has been a big draw on summer Sunday nights for decades.

"We come to the park every Sunday night for the band concerts," said Jean Beck of Hagerstown.

"We don't miss many of those," said her husband, Bob.

"Our kids grew up in City Park," Jean said, recalling her now-grown daughter dancing in the grass.

Jean Warren said the concerts bring back memories of her childhood. Hagerstown is her hometown, but she spent much of her adult life living elsewhere before she and her husband, Wayne, moved to Greencastle, Pa., about eight years ago.

"We have so many places that have so much music, you can hardly keep up with it," Jean Beck said.

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