Good Hope Grooves Strathmore’s Bloom at Good Hope concerts in Silver Spring uplift the community and musicians alike.

Ceylon Mitchell At Strathmore Min
Bloom Concert Outdoor Audience
Good Hope Jim Saah Chris U


Strathmore’s Bloom at Good Hope concerts in Silver Spring uplift the community and musicians alike.  

By Barbara Ruben 

From Latin jazz to spirituals to Afrobeat percussion, Judy Croker makes it a point to attend most of Strathmore’s free concerts at the Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center in Silver Spring, one of many free Bloom by Strathmore programs. Not only does Croker enjoy the diversity of music, but she also values the location’s convenience—the center is less than a mile from her home. 

“The concerts are well planned and organized,” she says. “Most definitely the venue is a major influence, and being free encourages an eager, well-packed audience.” 

That is precisely the intent of Bloom’s year-round concert series, which takes place every second Saturday of the month. While Strathmore is renowned for its free summer concerts on the lawn at its North Bethesda campus, it also extends similar opportunities at Good Hope, located in the Colesville area, near New Hampshire Avenue. One of the program’s primary goals is to reach broader audiences across the county, including communities without easy access to Strathmore’s main campus. 

“The Bloom stage has opened doors for many artists from the surrounding communities to perform. Many of the artists that have been selected do resonate with the community,” says Monika Hammer, communications program manager and public information officer for Montgomery County Recreation. “One big impact has been the introduction of the audience to the different forms of art, artists, and types of music. Members of this community may not previously have had access to these types of experiences, so seeing them brought right into their backyard has been very impactful.” 

The concerts have also played a role in bringing new members to the recreation center, which offers amenities such as a gym, fitness room, and game room. Some attendees use these facilities before or after the concerts, notes Hammer. 

“Visitors and community members have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the concert series,” she says. “They have expressed how grateful they are to have the opportunity to enjoy the free live concerts and enjoy quality family time.” 

Spring concerts featured performances by pianist Joshua Jenkins, specializing in Cuban and Brazilian music, plus acoustic animal-themed music with Kevin Elam. Both artists are alumni of Strathmore’s Artist in Residence (AIR) program. 

Music enthusiasts will get another chance to immerse themselves in Cuban music on July 13, when the ensemble Raíces Negras takes the stage. Led by AIR alum Ceylon Mitchell, a flutist who also performed at Good Hope in 2022, the concert will showcase the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms and European classical instruments. 

“This concert will highlight the Cuban charanga tradition, which really took off in the 1940s and ’50s. It was spotlighted and promoted through the musical group Orquesta Aragón. I want to pay homage to that group,” he says. 

“To be able to put this ensemble together is really a dream of mine. People can’t help being moved by charanga’s universal appeal. It will very much be an interactive experience,” Mitchell says. 

This summer’s concert will differ from Mitchell’s previous Strathmore performances. As an AIR, he performed with a larger ensemble at the Mansion at Strathmore to a noticeably different audience than at Good Hope. 

“My last Bloom concert was very diverse from an ethnic and racial perspective,” he says. “There’s a really [big] population of Brazilian and Cuban cultures [at Good Hope]. It’s a good experience for the audience to see musicians with similar backgrounds.” 

Discover our upcoming free shows and community events at STRATHMORE.ORG/GOODHOPE 

Strathmore is deeply grateful for Washington Gas’s multiyear commitment to help make our Good Hope Concert Series possible.