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The Jewel Of Montgomery County Maryland

The Jewel of Montgomery County, can you guess what it is?  It is located in on the Border of Rockville and Bethesda.  It is very easy to get to, it even has it’s own Metro access.  No one lives there, and everyone is welcome.   You can sing, eat, learn and be amazed.  Rich and poor alike flock to see the famous and maybe not so famous.

Have you already guessed?  It is the Strathmore Hall Art Center and they are celebrating 25 years of Art.  The Strathmore Art Center is located on the Grovsvenor Metro stop, perfect for anyone to get to!!  You would think that an Art Center like this would be in the city directly but, we here in Montgomery County are so thrilled call it our own.

Originally the land was purchased by Captain James Frederick Oyster and his wife for their Summer Home in 1899.   They bought 99 acres and built the mansion shortly thereafter.  They Oysters sold the home to Charles Corby and his wife, Hattie who remained in the home until her death in 1941.

After Mrs Corby passed away the land was left to St Mary’s Academy in which the Nuns turned the mansion into a convent and a school called St Angela Hall.   The Sisters then sold the mansion to The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association as their headquarters.  They then gave the property to Montgomery County and it was named Strathmore Hall.  Strathmore Hall would be renovated and used for the arts in 1983.

The Mansion has a 100 seat hall for concerts, tea rooms and many other rooms for education and art exhibits.  It has hosted weddings, and celebrations of all kinds.  It is set up on the lawn and is as beautiful and she is important to cultural events.

Fast forward to 2001.  After 25 years of work and under the direction of President & CEO Eliot Pfanstiehl, there was a ground breaking for the Music Hall.  The music hall was designed by Architect William Rawn Architects, Inc, Kirkegaard Associates who designed all of the acoustics, theater designers Theatre Project Consultants.  It is a masterpiece of architecture.  It is built of German limestone, it sets up on the knoll and has exquisite views.  The concert hall is the most beautiful concert hall I have ever seen, it rivals halls I have seen in New York, Hamburg, Berlin, and Washington DC.  It is as wonderful to see a show as to sit in awe of it’s beauty.

The Strathmore Art Center is partnered with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Washington Performing Arts Society, National Philharmonic, Levine School of Music, CityDance Ensemble, and Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra.  These are major players in the music and art world.

The great thing about Strathmore is that there is something for everyone.  In the Concert Hall you can see anyone from Neil Sedka to Tommy Tune to Bernadette Peters to Arlo Gutherie To Soweto Gospel Choir to Chanukah Feast in Concert to A Rockapella Holiday to the Musical Adventures of Flat Stanely for the kids.  I mean there is something for everyone!  I have seen plays, comedy tours, symphony concerts, the Beatle tour.  Strathmore has not left anyone out.

Check out their website Strathmore.org for all the information.  You can sign up for art classes, chorale classes, kids even have their own classes.  The Mansion has art exhibits featuring different artists. 

If you live in Montgomery County or in the Metro area, do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this Gem, it is truly magic.

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