George Mason

On-air host, Clearly Classical

George Mason, a host of FM89's Clearly Classical,  is a longtime presence on the airwaves of Central California,  in both radio and television. George has spent the last 29 years here in the Valley, though he says he’s still thawing out after 40 years of Michigan and Ohio winters.  He got his start as a cue card boy at age 16.  Soon after, he took on a midnight on-air shift for a Detroit FM station.  George later served in Vietnam, in 1967, and in Thailand in 1968. 

His years working in radio, including time in Detroit in the mid-1960’s, would lead to opportunities in television, as he soon was doing weather for stations in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. George came to the Valley in 1983, when he took a job at KSEE, channel 24 in Fresno.  It was that year that he began listening to Valley Public Radio as well.  In Fresno, George would meet his wife, Toom, who now works as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at VA Hospital in Fresno.  “It is profoundly humbling what they know and do,” George shared.

George became a part of the FM89 team in 1990, when he began working as a night and weekend announcer.  From 2000 until 2005, he was the station’s Morning Edition announcer, and since 2010 has been enjoying semi retirement, while doing some part-time announcing for the station. George says that when it comes to his past work in television news and weather, “I’m happy to put that identity behind me, with its requirement for suit and tie, makeup, anchor chit-chat, and having to smile at a camera when you sometimes don’t feel like it.”  He enjoys the challenge of learning on the job, and feels that “you can never know enough about classical music composers and I find it impossible to understand how they could do what they did.”

George Mason / Valley Public Radio

With members seemingly beyond their years in life experience, the Bakersfield Youth Symphony String Quartet graced the FM89 studios with individual stories to tell, in addition to the musicians’ performances of Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky and more.

Violinist Henry Song, a Stockdale H.S. senior and in his second visit to Young Artist Spotlight, came ready to tell us of his football prowess and his hopes for the future on a college gridiron. Hearing his violin mastery, one hopes he insures his fingers!

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It was a full studio this time for Young Artists Spotlight, in the second of three Youth Orchestras of Fresno programs, which are being spread across the total 13 Wednesdays this season. So to the Bonner Studio came Emily, Lynette, Sebastian, McKenna, Amanda, and Peyton.

The rest of the young musicians looked on as 11-year-old violinist Emily Okayasu, who attends St. Anthony’s school, performed for her third year on Young Artists Spotlight.  It is not an exaggeration to say that jaws dropped and eyes lit up. And Emily’s accompanist was Matthew Dean.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Young Artists Spotlight we hear performances from two talented musicians from Bakersfield's Stockdale High - junior Alice Lee and sophomore Liang (Vicky) Zhao. Both are members of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra and the each play multiple instruments.

Alice plays piano, flute and piccolo but her emphasis is violin, which she has been playing for six years. She even has two students of her own now. And Alice is Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra soloist for the 2014-15 season. She plans to major in music, all the way to a PhD professorship.

Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert Series

Fresno's Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert Series returns to the airwaves of Valley Public Radio this fall with broadcast performances recorded during last year's season. Since 1972, the series has brought the world's finest pianists and organists to Fresno to perform for local audiences. This year FM89 listeners will hear the following performances Wednesday nights at 8:00 PM.

This week on Valley Writers Read, Oscar G. Williams reads “It's Coming.”  A science fiction story.  A very strange object in outer space is headed our way, and the astronomers decide it's a huge black hole which has a good chance of colliding with our galaxy.  So all the nations start building spacecraft in hopes of saving humanity if what's out there dislodges the earth from its regular orbit.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Young Artists Spotlight, we continue our series of soloists from the Youth Orchestras of Fresno. This week we hear performances by three exceptionally talented musicians from YOOF:

Joanne Chen, violin performs Max Bruch's Concerto in G minor, first and second movements

Henry Woolf, flute performs Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto Pastoral, first mvt

Aaron Grisez, marimba performs Paul Lansky's Hop(3)

  This week on FM89's Young Artists Spotlight we hear the President's Quintet of California State University Fresno. This scholarship woodwind ensemble is funded through the office of the university's President Joseph Castro and performs at many official campus events. The student members also receive additional support from the Fresno State Associated Students Inc. for tours, supplies and commissions. The group was founded in 1978, and is directed by Fresno State flute professor Dr. Teresa Beaman. In previous years, the ensemble has toured Europe, Asia and California.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Young Artists Spotlight, we hear the music of the Fresno City College Guitar Quartet, featuring students from the FCC Advanced Guitar class. The ensemble is directed by Dr. Kevin Cooper and performs music by Albeniz, Penella, Praetorius and others. 

Fresno City College Guitar Quartet:
Andrew Gomez-Ramirez
Roger Hallaway
Brandon Mendez
Micah Byers
Dr. Kevin Cooper, director

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The 23-year-old pianist Michael Delfin is no stranger to FM89 listeners. He has twice before performed on Young Artists Spotlight, and this week he returns to our studio to share his music with local listeners. Now a resident of Baltimore, Michael is on the faculty of the Baltimore School of Music. He also is a double major at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University, studying both music (at the Peabody Conservatory) and history. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Young Artists Spotlight, we continue our series of performances from members of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno. This time, we feature five young string musicians from ages nine through eleven. Hear these talented pre-teens: Emilea Okayasu, Benjamin Pegram, and Hope Yuan, violin, and Olivia Lin and Luke Zhao, cello.

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