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Summer Splash: The Valley | ROCKTALK

Warming Up : Local concerts will feature a range of performers at parks and outdoor sites.


Summer is the time for backyard barbecues, trips to the beach and picnics in the park. All those excursions can be enhanced by music from a radio or a boom box, but it's better still if the music is live.

Luckily for Valley residents, several communities and organizations are again sponsoring summer concert series that are free or almost free.

Burbank is sponsoring evening concerts and shows at the Starlight Bowl, kicking off with its annual Fourth of July celebration, featuring fireworks and music by the Bill Elliot Swing Orchestra and Beachfront Property. Tickets to that show are $5-$20, but admission to subsequent Starlight Bowl Summer Concerts is only $2.

Singers-songwriters Christopher Cross and Karla Bonoff will perform Aug. 3. Cross' 1980 debut album sold over 4 million copies and won five Grammys. Although Bonoff has released records of her own, she is best known for her work as a songwriter. She has written hits for Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt and others.

Capt. Cardiac and the Coronaries will bring their '50s oldies show to the Starlight Bowl on Aug. 10. Other scheduled concerts include the Cajun sounds of Queen Ida on July 20, Latin jazz by Pacquito D'Rivera on July 27, and jazz by Keiko Matsui on Aug. 24.

* Starlight Bowl, 1246 Lockheed View Drive, Burbank (818) 238-5300.

Playing in the Park: For the 22nd straight year, the Valley Cultural Center will sponsor its Concerts in the Park series at Warner Park in Woodland Hills. Admission is free. The series starts June 1 with the Cal State Northridge Youth Symphony Orchestra and musical ensembles from local junior and senior high schools.

Jack Mack and the Heart Attack will perform June 29. The longtime L.A. club faves have been entertaining people with their high energy renditions of R&B classics since the early 1980s.

On July 13, a Blues Festival, starring singer-sax man Joe Houston, Jeannie and Jimmy Cheatham and the Sweet Baby Blues Band, and Flattop Tom and his Jump Cats will hold forth.

The Lettermen, who perform June 8, have been harmonizing for almost 40 years and have a string of gold records to prove it. Other concerts include a tribute to Benny Goodman on June 15, a World Music concert on June 22, Western music by Riders in the Sky on July 20, the Horace Heidt Jr. Big Band and the Ink Spots on July 27, and Frank Sinatra Jr. and his orchestra performing Gershwin on Aug. 10.

And for the fifth year, the series will close out with Louie Bellson's Big Band on Aug. 31.

* Warner Park, 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills (818) 704-1358.


Salsa Sounds: Santa Clarita will sponsor its free Concerts in the Parks series, starting off with the surf-oldies-big band sounds of the HoDads on July 4 at Newhall Park.

Latin percussionist Poncho Sanchez (famed for his conga work) performs July 20, also at Newhall Park. Other concerts include the classic R&B sounds of Groove Therapy on July 13 at Old Orchard Park, blues man Shawn Jones at Canyon Country Park on July 27, reggae sounds by Detour Posse on Aug. 3 at Santa Clarita Park, and country music by A.K.A. Stevens on Aug. 10 at Newhall Park.

* Old Orchard Park, 25032 Avenida Rotella, Valencia; Newhall Park, 24933 Newhall Ave., Newhall; Santa Clarita Park, 27285 Seco Canyon Road, Saugus; Canyon Country Park, 17615 W. Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country; Valencia Meadows, 25671 Fedala Road, Valencia. (805) 298-ARTS.

Surf's Up: Palmdale will sponsor three free concerts in Marie Kerr Park this summer. Surf music legends Jan & Dean will perform July 26, jazz fusion band Hiroshima on Aug. 2 and country music artist Mark Collie on Aug. 9.

* Maria Kerr Park, 39700 30th St. W., Palmdale. (805) 267-5611.

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