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Home-Grown Acts : Warner Park concerts are adding local talent to the lineup.

June 02, 1995|JAMES E. FOWLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — As the old saw goes, it's hard to argue with success. But this year, as the Valley Cultural Center begins its 20th season of free outdoor Sunday concerts in Warner Park, executive director Marilyn Hankins plans to try something different. Every concert will start at 4 p.m. and feature local performers or entertainment for children.

"At 4 p.m., we're trying to showcase some people who haven't made it yet," Hankins says. "It's all local talent."

Some of the performers slated for that 4 p.m. slot include the Billy Mitchell Uptown Band, Bach to Blues, Janet Carroll & her Dixieland All-Stars, Mitzi Albert, Karen Benjamin & Alan Chapman, the B-Sharp Jazz Quartet, Rebecca Rae & the Promises and Triple Threat. Children's entertainers include Bobbo & Kookee, Caren Glasser, the Nickel Creek Band and C.J. Jones. The headlining act will follow at 5:30. Several favorites from years past will return, Hankins says, including the Horace Heidt Orchestra (July 30), the Med Flory Big Name Band with Sue Raney (Aug. 13) and Poncho Sanchez (Aug. 20).

Opening the concert series this Sunday will be the Four Freshmen, the popular vocal quartet that's been singing pop and jazz standards for more than five decades. The group, which had a number of hits in the 1950s, is also known for its work with jazz great Stan Kenton.

The concerts usually draw between 2,000 and 3,000 people Sunday afternoons, Hankins says. Last year's biggest crowd, 10,000 people, turned out for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The famous New Orleans Dixieland ensemble will return July 9.

Singer/actress Anna Maria Alberghetti will perform July 16. She won a Tony for her starring role in the musical "Carnival" in 1960.

Two popular local club bands will be included in this year's lineup for the first time. Longtime L.A. favorites, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, will perform their brand of R & B on July 23 and the reggae band, Urban Dread, will play Aug. 27.

The Los Angeles Unified School District Children's Choir and the Cal State Northridge Youth Orchestra will perform June 11, and the Pierce College Community Band and Premiere Chorale will present "A Tribute to America" on July 2.

An evening of opera arias is planned June 25 and the Tex Beneke Orchestra will perform Big Band music in the Glenn Miller style June 18. The West Valley Symphony Orchestra will present an all-Gershwin program Aug. 6.

For the second consecutive year, drummer Louis Bellson and His Big Band Explosion will close out the summer concert series Sept. 3. Featured with Bellson will be his daughter, singer Dee Dee Bellson.

Warner Park is at 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills. Parking is available in the structure on the east side of Owensmouth Avenue between Oxnard and Califa streets. The price of parking at the concert has jumped to $2 from $1 last year. Concert-goers are advised to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

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