The Valley Music Hall of Fame has finalized its second class of inductees.
This list includes the patriarch of Fresno’s first folk music family, a field worker turned R&B star, two big band pioneers, the area’s OG classical concert club and one of the most renowned Armenian musicians in the world. world.
The inductees – Gene Bluestein, Ray Camacho, Allen and Faye Harkins, The Fresno Musical Club and Richard Hagopian – were announced at an event last month and will receive a formal presentation ceremony Sept. 27 at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater in the Fresno Tower District. The event will also serve as an official non-profit fundraiser.
“Our passion is to celebrate the musical heritage of the Central Valley,” says Valley Music Hall of Fame President Don Priest.
“People who have truly given of themselves and their talents to enrich their community.”
2022 Valley Music Hall of Fame Inductees
Bluestein gene retired as a Fresno State teacher, but was a folk recording artist with a well-known family band with his children Joel, Evo, Jemmy, and Frayda. He was known for creating programs to help bring music (especially folk music) into schools and for bringing many well-known folk musicians to Fresno, including luminaries Pete Seeger, Doc Watson, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. .
Ray Camacho is the man who set the rallying cry “Si Si Puede” to music. Camacho grew up working in the fields in Mendota before discovering the trumpet at Fresno City College. His band, the Teardrops, fused the rock and soul music of the day with regional Mexican music and cumbias and became a fixture on the regional touring circuit (with bands like Santana and Tower of Power). The band played their first gig at the Rainbow Ballroom in 1960.
Allen and Faye Harkins established the “Harkins Music Machine” in Madera in the late 1950s.
Allen was a teacher at Madera High School and a pianist, composer and arranger of big band music. Faye was a designer, seamstress and choreographer known for teaching cheerleading routines on her lawn.
In addition to winning various awards for Madera High bands over the years, Allen became the “arranger” for high school and college bands throughout the Valley. His own big band performed for the naming and dedication of the Allen Harkins Amphitheater in Madera.
The Fresno Music Club was the cultural forerunner of Fresno Grand Opera, from Broadway to Fresno and its ilk. The group was created in 1905, before colleges and symphonies made “cultural arts”. For 81 seasons (from 1908 to 1980), the all-volunteer organization presented an annual concert series.
In the early 1960s, the club was also heavily involved in a fundraising project to bring new works of art to the Saroyan Theatre. You can still see it today.
These days, the club is focusing on its scholarship and awards program, which it hands out each spring to qualified, classically trained, career-oriented musicians.
You can find by Richard Hagopian bio at the National Endowment for the Arts. The Fowler native was made a National Heritage Fellow in 1989. He is considered “one of America’s most accomplished folk musicians” (according to a New York Times reviewer) and one of the world’s leading oud players. the most famous in the world.
The Oud being an ancient stringed instrument, similar to a lute.
According to the source, the 85-year-old started playing traditional Armenian music between the ages of 9 and 13 and became something of a collector and library of Armenian music, learning more than 1,500 traditional folk songs. He is known for passing on this legacy as a performer and masterclass instructor at places like the Manhattan School of Music and Fresno State, where he served as artist-in-residence.
In addition to music, Hagopian and his wife ran Hagopian’s International Deli in downtown Visalia for 36 years.
Valley Music Hall of Fame Appointments
For those following, the Hall of Fame has been working, since at least 2017, to commemorate the contributions of those in the Central Valley music scene. Its inaugural class, inducted in a virtual ceremony last year, included Russell Howland, James Winter, Dave Stogner, Dick Contino and Audra McDonald.
Inductees are chosen by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors using a scoring rubric and selection from a list of nominees generated by the public each year. Applications for the class of 2023 are open until December 31. The full form can be downloaded from the organization’s webpage.
Although the board receives more nominations than there are seats, Priests encourages public comment.
“We want people to be named,” he says.
For example, he would like to see guitarist Juan Serrano worthy of a nomination.
“But no one has done it yet.”