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Brittany Greeson/GroundTruth

Critics across the globe are starting to pay attention to the music of one young valley artist – Omar Nare. The Sanger native was recently profiled on Public Radio International and the New York Times for his fresh take on mariachi traditions. He’s taking traditional songs and re-inventing them with hints of jazz, soul and funk.

In 2011 the a cappella group Pentatonix won the third season of NBC's show "The Sing Off."  Avi Kaplan, a bass in the group, is from Visalia and recently decided that he will be leaving the group.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The song “Burn, Baby Burn” was originally written about the Watts Riots – a series of deadly protests against police brutality in 1965 – but it later became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 assassination. The songwriter, Jimmy Collier, now lives in Fresno. But in the 1960s, he worked alongside Dr. King, using his music to organize civil rights activists. He wrote about the experience in a book published last year on the Chicago Freedom Movement. Here, he speaks with reporter Kerry Klein about the book and what it was like to work with Dr.

Grizzly Fest Facebook

At this year's Grizzly Fest in Downtown Fresno acts like the indie band Cold War Kids and the reggae fusion group Slightly Stoopid will take the stage. Fresno hip-hop artist Fashawn will perform as well as other local artists.

https://www.facebook.com/Fresno-Community-Chorus-Master-Chorale-109889742395143/

The Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a special concert on March 6th titled “Like Streams We Gather.”

The concert at the Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall at Clovis North High School will feature a new work commissioned for the event by composer Joungmin Sur with text by Glad Ruiz. Director Anna Hamre joined us on Valley Edition to talk about leading this all-volunteer ensemble, which includes two members who have been with the group since it began. 

http://www.bakersfield.com/thebakersfieldsound

Kern County is known around the globe for the way it revolutionized American music.  In Robert E. Price's new book "The Bakersfield Sound," he recounts how a generation of displaced Okies altered musical history. The book remembers household names like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard as well as lesser known names that influenced American music.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition, we look at the the future of California’s state parks system. After years of budget cuts and closures, how should this treasured part of the Golden State reinvent itself? We hear a special report.

We’ll also learn more about a new program called Talking Is Teaching that focuses on early childhood education, and something called the "word gap." That's the estimated 30 million fewer words that children from lower income families hear compared to those from upper income families. 

Talking Is Teaching segment guests: 

Fresno Philharmonic

The Fresno Philharmonic will soon be looking for a new conductor and musical director. Theodore Kuchar, who has led the orchestra for the past 13 seasons announced on Thursday that he plans to step down following the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season. 

In a written statement Kuchar praised the orchestra's performances:

Kuchar: "I have no reservation in saying that the Fresno Philharmonic and I have often delivered performances that are not typical of a regional American orchestra but those of a standard to be expected in a major musical capitol."

http://www.fresnophil.org/

The Fresno Philharmonic begins its 61st season this weekend. This year the orchestra will feature a diverse  mix of concerts, with programs dedicated to Armenian contributions to classical music, and a complete cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos.

www.fusefest.com

Seven years ago Creative Fresno, a Fresno based non-profit, created a festival called Fresno Urban Sound Experience or F.U.S.E. Fest. 

The festival was created with one goal: to capture what the Fresno underground music scene sounds like. And the festival only has a few rules: each band gets 30 minutes to perform, every band has to be local and can only play original music.

William J Sanders

A new documentary film seeks to tell the story of one of the most influential figures in the development the Bakersfield Sound. But when the film makes its Bakersfield debut this Thursday night at the Crystal Palace, the star on the screen won’t be Buck Owens or Merle Haggard, it will be musician, songwriter and influential TV personality Billy Mize.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Some people call Fresno's Patrick Contreras a rock violinist. To others, he's a jazz musician. To others still he's a blues or a Latin music artist. His music spans categories and influences from plugged-in Jimi Hendrix inspired riffs to romantic boleros.

Benjamin Boone

Fresno jazz artist, educator and composer Benjamin Boone has embarked on a fascinating new musical journey: mixing his music with the poems of former Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine. 

Levine, who is a longtime Fresno resident is among the nation's most revered poets. He's also a big jazz fan, dating back to his youth in Detroit. In fact, many of his poems reference jazz, including iconic stars like Clifford Brown and John Coltrane. 

Courtesy Vince Gill

From the honky tonks of Oildale to  concert halls across the world, the hard driving, guitar driven country music that came out of Kern County – known as the "Bakersfield Sound" - has captured millions of fans across the world. Superstars like the late Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, not to mention hundreds of other musicians made Bakersfield, at least for a few decades, a true rival of Nashville’s famed music row. Now a new album by Vince Gill and pedal steel guitarist Paul Franklin seeks to honor that music – it’s called simply Bakersfield.

Valley Public Radio

 

 This week on Valley Edition we take a look into stories and issues across the region including water, possibly reducing the the legal limit for blood alcohol content for drivers, an update surrounding a Bakersfield man who was beaten to death by law enforcement and more.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This weekend the stage of the Saroyan Theatre will be filled with hundreds of young musicians, with hundreds more in the audience. It’s all part of an effort by a Fresno composer to break down the boundaries between classical music and mariachi, and to bring young audiences into the world of music, in a fun, interactive way. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports.

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It’s Sunday afternoon and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is rehearsing a new, mariachi-inspired song.

Zachary Maxwell Stertz

Mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor has received international acclaim performing with the world’s premier orchestras and conductors, premiering exciting new works, and breathing new life into familiar favorites.

Charmion N. Kinder / HUD

On this week's Valley Edition, we talk with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and Congressman Jim Costa about the nation's on-going housing crisis, and possible solutions. Donovan is visiting Fresno to talk about the Obama administration's Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) and another set of proposals from the President involving housing issues.

Little Dragon In Concert

Aug 13, 2012

Swedish electro group Little Dragon has been remixed countless times. Their soul-infused dance songs steal scenes in primetime TV shows. They've collaborated across genres with the likes of the Gorillaz, SBTRKT and Big Boi. But their experimental evolution is most impressive when it unfurls live — as in this set that brought down the house at Celebrate Brooklyn.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about access to mental health care in Fresno County. We also hear about a new study that has bad news for Valley residents, as the Valley is actually experiencing setbacks in a number of key health indicators. And we close the program with an interview about an event called heART beat that aims to help support music programs in the schools. 

Valley Edition for May 8, 2012: