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Classical music returns to KVMR in style: Real sparkle, real smarts

Special to Prospector
Charles Attwell, one of KVMR 89.5 FM's newest broadcasters, hosted a recent edition of "Classics Declassified," the Nevada City station's new classical music program, which runs Sundays from 5 to 7 p.m.
Submitted photo to Prospector

It’s back.

Classical music returns to KVMR 89.5 FM with Classics Declassified, a new program that aims to take listeners on a diverse journey into the world of old and new classical music from around the world.

Airing the first and third Sundays with the occasional fifth Sunday, from 5 to 7 p.m., Classics Declassified features a revolving all-star lineup of hosts including local music scholars, teachers and composers such as Mark Vance of Music in the Mountains, InConcert Sierra founders Julie & Ken Hardin, Dr. Aileen James, and KVMR broadcasters Charles Atthill, Michael Young, Eric Tomb, Keith Porter, and Ralph Henson, among others.

“For nearly two years there had been no classical programming at KVMR,” said Henson who, in addition to his duties as a broadcaster, was a longtime member of KVMR’s program committee. “After a year, we’ve been able to involve several DJs that love and are passionate about classical music, along with local non-profits and concert presenters Music in the Mountains and InConcert Sierra, to bring a vast knowledge and variety of music to the station’s current programming.”

Dates back to ’78

KVMR’s history with classical music dates back to its inception in 1978, when Charles Woods and David Osborn of the American Victorian Museum (now the Miners Foundry Cultural Center) were sharing their love for the classics over the radio waves. Since then there have been various incarnations of the Sunday classical program with individuals such as Ed Martin, John Deaderick, David Tallitsch and Walt Fraser also contributing to its legacy at the Nevada City community radio station.

“When KVMR moved from classical to a more experimental fare earlier last decade, there was still an all-classical station in Sacramento,” said Steve Baker KVMR program director. “Things have changed and the timing to implement Ralph’s idea to bring classical back has been a good one.”

In addition to airing live concerts performed by InConcert Sierra, Music in the Mountains and the Auburn Symphony, DJs have also been exploring and experimenting with programming that expose listeners to an array of new composers, artists and themes.

“This new group brings enthusiasm and a new point of view of what is classical music,” said Tomb who has been involved with the classical shows since the ’80s.

Earns $3,000 in drive

And the response from listeners so far has been overwhelmingly positive. So much so during a recent membership drive, Classics Declassified raised over $3,000 from supportive listeners. This kind of positive feedback is certainly drawing strong attention to classical music’s return to the local airwaves.

“This is, by far, the most support classical music has ever received in one of our on-air fundraisers,” said Baker. “That surely says welcome back, and hopefully we’ll sustain those numbers as more people learn classical is back, alive and well on KVMR.”

“This isn’t going to be the staid version of classical. It’s going to have real sparkle, real smarts and real fun for the audience,” according to Baker.

To Porter, the proof is in the musical genre’s strength.

“Classical music has this power to create an emotional response, and the techniques for appealing to the human brain have evolved over several centuries of human experience and now surface in music everywhere in popular culture — cinema, video, live performance,” said Porter. “Done well, as we hope it is on this show, it stirs the soul.”

Classics Declassified will next air Sunday, July 1, at 5 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).

Kris turns 82

There’ll be 82 candles on Kris Kristofferson’s birthday cake this week, and KVMR 89.5 FM will host quite a special in the singer/actor’s honor from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday

KVMR host Laura Miller will devote her entire show to Kristofferson and his career work, featuring songs by Kris and covers of his music by the likes of John Prine, Joan Osborne, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin and others.

eTown headliners

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore — among the headliners at last month’s Strawberry Music Festival in Grass Valley — will be featured on this Sunday’s eTown program (7 p.m., 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).

The two Americana music stars trade songs, sing some together and have fun with their “California meets Texas” imagery.

Also on the show is Rodney Crowell, no stranger to Strawberry stages himself.

On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City’s volunteer-driven, eclectic community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at kvmr.org. Complete KVMr schedule available at the station’s website, kvmr.org The station now features an easy to use archive of all music shows for two weeks and talk shows for two months at archive.kvmr.org.

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