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Interconnected guitars and oyster wine

Weekends are for spreading out and connecting.

There's connections to be found among the musicians that make up the Happy Valley Guitar Orchestra. Originally founded by Peter Blanchette, the collection of players combines now under the direction of Joseph Ricker. For live music Friday, we crashed their practice to hear them prepare for their spring concert "800 years", which will encompass a wide swath of pieces within that span of time, including work from Grieg, Stereolab, and the artistic director himself.

Then we go even further to bring musicians together. UMass Professor Felipe Salles has just released an album new album called "Home Is Here", featuring the Interconnected Ensemble, a whopping 19 member big band which creates multi-diasporic jazz. His inspiration is rooted in the nature of immigrant experiences, and we dig into his work as the ensemble get ready to present this album live in June.

And once again, we enter the wine thunderdome, pitting two wines against each other in the deep reaches under State Street Fruit Store in Northampton, seeking which vintage pairs best with one of our favorite mollusks: oysters.

Christopher “Monte'' Belmonte is host and executive producer of NEPM's The Fabulous 413. He was born and raised in Massachusetts and has been a radio host in western Massachusetts for the last 20 years — the last 17 of them as host of Mornings with Monte on The River 93.9/WRSI.
Kaliis Smith is a radio host and producer for NEPM's The Fabulous 413. She was most recently host and producer at The River 93.9/WRSI where she appeared on Mornings with Monte for the Nerdwatch segment and hosted weekday evenings.