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Sounds of the City

Live music that won’t break the bank

Boston Landmarks Orchestra violinists perform in one of many free summer concerts. Photo courtesy of Boston Landmarks Orchestra

One of the nicest things about summer in Boston is the city’s offerings of free musical events, whose number seems to increase with the temperature.

This summer, for the ninth year, the Boston Harbor Hotel features the Summer in the City Entertainment Series,  with a different musical genre three nights a week. R&B and soul groups, such as Soul Sound Revue, New England’s famous nine-piece dance and show band, perform on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, the White Heat Orchestra provides swing-dance music, and on Thursdays, blues artists play on a floating stage behind the hotel. The series  began June 21 and continues through August 29, from 6 to 10 p.m. Included in the series is Movies by Moonlight, every Friday through August 31.

The Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade also hosts a variety of musical groups throughout the summer. The Boston Landmarks Orchestra, founded in 2001 to perform free classical concerts celebrating historical, geographical, and architectural settings, performs every Wednesday from July 11 to September 5. Three WODS Oldies in Concert nights remain — July 14, July 28, and August 11. The final Oldies night  features1960s summertime favorite the Beach Boys.

Other free music events in the Boston area include:

The Berklee Free Summer Concert Series
Students, faculty members, and alumni from Berklee College of Music perform free concerts in a variety of venues this summer. Locations include the Boston Center for the Arts Complex, Kendall Square, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Back Bay Fens, O’Day Park, and Highland Park. .

Boston City Hall Plaza Concerts
The Dorothy Curran Wednesday Evening Concert Series runs from July 11 to August 15 and features the U.S. Air Force Band of Liberty, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Fifth Dimension, and other groups.

Free Summer Concert Series at Copley Square Park []
Each Thursday from July 12 to August 16, Mohegan Sun and WBOS 92.9 present a mix of local and mainstream artists.

Jazz in July 2007
From July 6 to 30 Lunch Hour Concerts are held three days a week — South Station on Mondays, Downtown Crossing on Wednesdays, and Borders on Fridays. The After Work series takes place in an assortment of nightclubs on Tuesdays until July 31.  

Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park
Every Tuesday from July 17 to August 21, at 10:30 a.m. and again at 6 p.m., the sounds of jazz, soul, and R&B fill the Franklin Park Playhouse stage.

Lowell Folk Festival 2007
The 21st annual festival of crafts, ethnic foods, and family activities includes 25 musical acts on six stages, free of charge, July 27 to 29.

Rebecca McNamara can be reached at ramc@bu.edu.