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April 29, 2009

Free music series coming to San Jose State this summer

Sal Pizzaro, Mercury News
Free music is a fine, fine thing, and downtown San Jose is getting more of it this summer thanks to Target.

The big-box retailer is footing the bill for an outdoor series in August at San Jose State University.

The Target Summer Pops series kicks off Aug. 22 with Symphony Silicon Valley, led by conductor Bruce Hangen, performing the movie music of John Williams. Five more concerts including jazz standards sung by the legendary Cleo Laine, a brass-band concert and the symphony's take on Beatles' favorites will follow over the ensuing week.

"At a time when most of the news is bad, this is good news," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. "And it's free. Did I say that?"

Even better than free music is not having planes flying over and interrupting the free music. That was a big issue at last summer's symphony concert at Discovery Meadow. Symphony President Andrew Bales says the grassy San Carlos Street paseo at San Jose State won't be entirely free of plane noise, but it'll be a lot better for acoustic music. And the series overlaps nicely with the start of the fall semester at San Jose State. "This might annoy a few teachers, but the kids are going to like it," Bales said.

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