Harvest Fest music: Spotlight on Joel Valle

Please tell us who inspired you to start playing guitar and when did you start playing?

I actually started on piano when I was about 8 and though I loved and felt the music, the theory work was rather challenging and frustrating. When I was 10 my dad got me a small guitar one Christmas and after my first lesson, I knew about 8 chords.

It came really easy to me so I took it and ran with it. That's really what inspired me.

Within one month I knew five songs and with two months I wrote my first song.

You played extensively this year at the Hood River Saturday Market and at Stonehedge Restaurant this summer. How did that go?

This year I played everywhere in the Gorge. It was a great experience and I was busy almost the entire summer. My experience taught me a lot. The music business will drain you and expect to make sacrifices to keep growing. There were weeks I had between five and six gigs, sometimes two in one day. You gotta be built for it. Not an easy task but always worth it. That’s how it feels at 24 years of age, it might change some day.

I saw that you have a kids’ music CD available. How did you get involved in that project. Do you do concerts just for kids, too?

I was actually just a hired gun for the “Mi Guitarri” album. Though I sang and played on all of it, I only wrote one song myself. It’s part of Erica Fisher’s curriculum with the Calico Spanish program.

I do concerts upon request but they’re usually classrooms already using the curriculum.

Someone told me you were the winner of a Hood River Fair talent show a few years ago. What was that experience like and what songs did you play?

I actually did the Hood River County Fair talent show a total of three times. Once when I was 14, I didn't even place in the top 3.

I was talented, but I wasn't entertaining enough. They said I looked bored. I then performed a mandolin/guitar duet with my sister when I was 16 and placed second. The next year I performed James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” and placed first. I believe that was 2005.

Will you be playing Harvest Fest solo or with friends?

I will be playing solo. Most of my shows have been solo using my loop station. A loop station is basically a live recording device which I use at times to record a rhythm track live during a performance and then play a lead part over the top, simulating multiple guitars playing.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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