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Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s nearly summertime, which means a whole new season of theater, music and art to enjoy, and possibly distract us from the Valley’s soon-to-be oppressive heat. Back in the studio is Donald Munro, a longtime Fresno arts reporter and creator of The Munro Review.

Courtesy of John McCutcheon

Wisconsin-bred, Georgia-based musician John McCutcheon is folk music's Renaissance man — master multi-instrumentalist, powerful singer-songwriter, storyteller, activist, and author.  

His latest album is a tribute to his long-time friend and mentor Pete Seeger. John McCutcheon will be performing at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fresno on Thursday, January 17, in a concert presented by the Fresno Folklore Society.

The Munro Review

Donald Munro is kind of a legend among arts lovers in Fresno. For 16 years, he covered theater, visual art, dance, classical music and more for the Fresno Bee.  Now, he’s keeping his arts reporting alive with a member-supported website called The Munro Review. It’s kind of like public radio: Anyone can access it, but he relies on donations from subscribers. He spoke with us about this project, and what shows we should look out for this Fall.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Brian Turner

Brian Turner is perhaps best known in Central California, and across the country as a poet whose art has been fused in a time of war. Author of the acclaimed collection Here, Bullet, Turner is one of the many literary giants to come from the San Joaquin Valley. Yet with his new project, he has turned his focus in two different directions: first in pursuing his musical visions, and second to showcasing the poetry of his late wife Ilyse Kusnetz.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley is a melting pot. It’s home to diaspora from dozens of countries, and we celebrate that diversity with traditional festivals and performances throughout the year. One celebration that flies under the radar, however, is a summer camp in the Sierra foothills that teaches some traditional arts from West Africa. In this story, we take you to a music camp in Dunlap.

Some people escape into the Sierra Nevada for serenity and silence. But every August, a few hundred campers flock to the Fresno County foothills for the freedom to be loud.

Herbalpert.com

Even if he didn't sell 72 million recordings, with 15 gold albums, and five number one hits - Herb Alpert would still be a music industry icon. For while he's best known as the trumpet player behind the instrumental pop sounds of the Tijuana Brass of the 1960's and 70's, his role as a record producer is also legendary. A co-founder of A&M records, he went on to sign and record superstars from Sergio Mendes to The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, and Sting.

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. 

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