Every few weeks on the program, we've been running an occasional series called Why Music Matters, where we bring you the stories of music fans in their own words, about how certain songs or even bands have changed their lives. Today's story comes from a young artist in Seattle. Her name is Vivi Perez, and she almost gave up on high school, that is until a community activist group called El Centro de la Raza introduced her to the music business.
VIVI PEREZ: I felt kind of, like, I didn't know where I was going a lot in high school.
Let's turn to another story we've been following in recent weeks: African-Americans and same-sex marriage. When President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, some African-American religious leaders protested. But according to new polling data, African-Americans are no less supportive or, for that matter, opposed to gay marriage than any other group in the country.
Returning now to veterans on this Memorial Day weekend. Close to one out of two veterans who've served in Iraq or Afghanistan have now filed disability claims for service-related injuries - everything from hearing loss and back problems to mental health claims like PTSD. The percentage of vets making claims now is more than double the rate of previous wars. The total cost could eventually come to close to a trillion dollars.
Marilynn Marchione of the Associated Press reported on the staggering increase and what might explain it.
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel's first memoir came out in 2006. Called Fun Home, it dug deep into her complicated relationship with her father, a closeted gay man who poured his emotional energy into redecorating their Victorian Gothic home. He died, possibly a suicide, shortly after Bechdel herself came out as a lesbian in college.
That's a lot of information to take in, but it's an essential backdrop for Bechdel's new book, Are You My Mother? It's a searching, and at times visceral, portrait of Bechdel and her mother — a relationship that's still evolving.
Some of the best recent classical music stories have come from Venezuela, that country's youth orchestra program El Sistema and its most popular graduate, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.