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.

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.

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."

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.

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.