Big Names in Music Coming to the Gordon

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While The Gordon Center for Performing Arts is known for bringing top-notch music, film, dance, art and family programming to the venue at the Owings Mills JCC, the 2018-2019 lineup notably includes a number of popular and legendary musicians.

The Gordon Center has been working to expand the types of music included in its annual music series, and this year’s lineup heavily features bluegrass and folk musicians, a niche area the Gordon has been building up for several years.


“This is not so much a shift as an expansion of a genre that has always been successful at the Gordon,” said Alyson Bonavoglia, artistic director at the Gordon Center. “We hope the increased number of bigger names will bring more patrons to the Gordon for music, and to learn about all of our other programming as well as the JCC.”

Kicking off the season on August 8 is surfer-turned-songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter. The season picks back up in October with folk singer Arlo Guthrie, son of the legendary Woody Guthrie and Jewish professional dancer Marjorie Mazia Guthrie. Opening for Guthrie is his daughter Sara Lee Guthrie.

Eclectic Tex-Mex rock band Los Lobos, entering its fifth decade as a band, performs on October 13. The band was nominated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Beatlemania Now and Boat House Row will play on November 10, celebrating all things Beatles and introducing Baltimore to Philadelphia’s premier yacht rock experience. On November 13, audiences will be treated to the immersive concert-style Simon and Garfunkel Story: a show chronicling the folk-rock duo’s journey from humble beginnings, to becoming a bestselling music group, to the split in 1970.

The Travelin’ McCourys at the Charm City Bluegrass Festival in April 2018 (Jordan August Photography)

Two lively acoustic acts are up next. The Traveling McCourys — a bluegrass group founded by Ronnie and Rob McCoury, sons of bluegrass pioneer Del McCoury — present an innovative mix of bluegrass and modern string band music on November 17. Blues duo Hot Tuna, which began as a side project of psychedelic rockers Jefferson Airplane, performs November 29. Labeled by Rolling Stone Magazine as a “psychedelic blues institution,” the duo brings its decades of music and collaborations to the Gordon.

Concertgoers can celebrate Chanukah with Lisa Loeb, singer of the platinum single “Stay (I Missed You)” from the 1994 film “Reality Bites.” Loeb, who is Jewish, is also an author and philanthropist.

The Maccabeats will return for its annual concert at the Gordon Center on December 9 for two shows at 1 and 4:30 p.m.

Dustbowl Revival at the Hot August Music Festival in August 2017 (Marc Shapiro Media)

American soul band Dustbowl Revival brings its unique sound of New Orleans funk, bluegrass, pre-war blues and roots music to Owings Mills for a winter dance party in January.

A longtime Gordon Center staple, International Guitar Night, hosted by founder Brian Gore, will introduce attendees to the next generation of rising guitarists on February 2. Performers will play a variety of genres, highlighting the diversity of the acoustic guitar.

March 12 brings an intimate evening of music, talking and more with Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills and Nash fame.

Closing out the season in April is Carolyn Black-Sotir and the Peabody Symphony with “Bernstein on Broadway.” The performance will feature songs by the late composer Leonard Bernstein.

The Gordon Center actively works to bring cultural, artistic and musical opportunities of all kinds to the community. This year’s lineup shows “an aggressive commitment to the entire community,” as Gordon Center photographer Stuart Dahne put it.” By integrating more mainstream and popular acts, the Gordon Center becomes even more of an attraction that serves community needs for a wide variety of entertainment.

“We anticipate that our efforts will further solidify the Gordon’s place as Baltimore County’s premier performing arts center,” said Bonavoglia. “A gathering place and destination for incredible concerts and shows.”

Further enhancing the Gordon experience, last year the venue updated its sound and lighting systems. Thanks to Baltimore-based HP Electronics, the Gordon Center performance space has been outfitted with new sound and video systems, stage monitors and technology for both visual- and hearing-impaired audience members.

The new sound system serves to reinforce sound rather than amplify it.

“Our stage is close enough to the audience that they can hear what’s going on offstage,” Peter Michaelson, theater manager and technical director at the Gordon Center, wrote in a blog post. “A lot of venues, when you go to see a concert, you’re not hearing the stage, you’re just hearing the amplification.”

A new digital projection system was installed, now requiring only one technician to work it instead of a full projection team as was needed in the past to screen films. The system also has rear projection, which increases the amount of visual content the Center can screen.

An assisted listening system that combines loop technology and traditional headphone technology has been installed as well. Attendees who wish to utilize the assisted listening technology need only pick up an assistive listening device at the box office.

To learn more about the lineup and purchase tickets, visit gordoncenter.com.

Shoshana Goloskov is an intern at the Baltimore Jewish Times.

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