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BlackRock Center’s Free Summer Concert Series Set to Return to Germantown

BlackRock Center for the Arts’ annual free summer concert series returns to the BlackRock outdoor stage Saturdays from July 1 to July 29, starting with the U.S. Navy Band: The Commodores on Saturday, July 1.

The summer’s concert series will kick-off with a performance from U.S. Navy Band: The Commodores. The Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, the “Commodores,” presents the finest in America’s truly original music. Their performances are high-energy affairs that not only pay tribute to the legendary big bands of yesterday, but also feature original compositions by members of the group.

The remainder of the free summer concert series includes performances by the Blues and American roots band The Nighthawks, the first and only all-women Mariachi group Mariachi Flor de la Toloache, the Rock n’ Roll sound of Get Off My Lawn, and classic rock and pop from the US Navy Cruisers.

Should inclement weather occur, all performances will move indoors to the BlackRock Main Stage. Tickets to the summer concerts at BlackRock are free of charge, and no reservations are required. Audiences are encouraged to check the BlackRock website, Facebook Page, and Twitter feed for the most up-to-date performance information. More information can be found at blackrockcenter.org.

The LineUp

U.S. Navy Band: The Commodores

Saturday, July 1 at 7:00 pm


The Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, the “Commodores,” presents the finest in America’s truly original music. A specialty unit of the United States Navy Band in Washington, DC, the group features 18 of the Navy’s top jazz and “big band” musicians. Under the leadership of Senior Chief Musician Philip M. Burlin, the Commodores combine the best of jazz and popular music.

Since their founding in 1969, the Commodores have become one of the most acclaimed jazz ensembles in the country. Many jazz legends have appeared with the group, including Ray Charles, Louie Bellson, Terry Gibbs, Bruce Johnstone, Bob Mintzer, James Moody, Clark Terry and Eugene “Snooky” Young. In addition, they have opened for the Beach Boys and appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning, America.”

The Commodores trace their roots to before World War II, when Band members with jazz experience formed dance bands and rehearsed on an as-needed basis for specific occasions. Responding to public demand for unique types of music as well as the changing needs of Navy recruiting, then Ensign Ned Muffley formed a dance band in 1966 from members of the concert and ceremonial units, and in 1968, preparations began to make the ensemble a separate group. In January 1969, the “Dance Band” officially became the “Commodores” jazz ensemble.

The Nighthawks

Saturday, July 8 at 7:00 pm


A BlackRock and DC-favorite, The Nighthawks, are an American blues and roots music band based in Washington, DC with a history that spans more than 40 years.

When Mark Stutso (drums, vocals), master of the deep groove, joined The Nighthawks at the beginning of 2010, the 21st-century version of the legendary American roots band was complete. With Paul Bell (guitar) and Johnny Castle (vocals, bass) in the band for nearly a decade, and founding father Mark Wenner (vocals, harmonica), this team outshines all previous incarnations. The current members bring decades of varied experience to the stage and studio.

Mariachi Flor de la Toloache

Saturday, July 15 at 7:00 pm


BlackRock is excited to debut Mariachi Flor de Toloache to our outdoor summer concert series this year. Their 2014 self-titled debut album earned a Latin Grammy nomination in the Best Ranchera category — a category that celebrates an incredibly long tradition of Mexican music. The nomination undoubtedly illustrates the group’s entrancing mariachi swagger.

Mariachi Flor de Toloache make New York City history as its’ First and Only All­-Women Mariachi Group. Founded in 2008, Mariachi Flor de Toloache is lead by singers Mireya I. Ramos (founder) & Shae Fiol (original member). Reminiscent of the early days of mariachi the group started as a trio, Harp, Violin and Vihuela. Over the course of the last few years, Mariachi Flor de Toloache’s performances have illuminated world renowned stages in Europe and India.

Get Off My Lawn Saturday, July 22 at 7:00 pm


If you hear someone screaming “Get Off My Lawn!” in the suburbs of Washington, DC, it’s probably not a cranky old man yelling at his neighbors. It’s probably a large group of devoted fans shouting the name of their favorite band, Get Off My Lawn, which covers an eclectic mix of classic to modern rock, from Aerosmith to ZZ Top, Pat Benatar to Elle King, Maroon 5 to Black Keys. The band is known for its guitar-heavy sound and driving rhythm section, and for playing dynamic sets that get crowds on their feet. If it rocks, they’ll roll with it.

Five low-key guys and one fireball, Get Off My Lawn combines veteran players who have been in the DC and Detroit music scene for much of the last 15 years. Since its inception, the band has enjoyed a strong fan following and regularly packs the house. Within their first year, Get Off My Lawn earned the headlining role at University of Maryland’s Homecoming Bash, and has since been invited to play at DC’s Rock ‘N Roll Marathon and the City of Rockville’s Hometown Holidays, as well as a variety of other public and private events.

US Navy Cruisers

Saturday, July 29 at 7:00pm


As the US Navy's premier contemporary entertainment ensemble, the Cruisers feature eight of the Navy's most dynamic performers. Formed in 1999 as a specialty unit of the United States Navy Band, the Cruisers are under the leadership of drummer, Senior Chief Musician Leon Alexander. The group takes its name from the Navy's versatile, flexible, multi-missioned ship – the Cruiser – and the band lives up to their namesake by having the capabilities of playing genres of music ranging from jazz and standards, rhythm and blues, classic rock, adult contemporary and pop, as well as original material. This elite group has engaged and excited audiences of all ages throughout the US and abroad with world-class musicianship and high-energy, fun-filled performances.

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