Two new shows at Yosemite Theater

Relax and enjoy an evening in the Yosemite Valley Theater with creative performances that reveal Yosemite’s history and little-known stories. Meet the filmmaker behind Yosemite Nature Notes, relive rescue missions with park rangers, sing songs with your family about the park, see Yosemite through a climber’s eyes, and learn about the cast of characters who have helped shape this national treasure.

* A fun and feisty interactive presentation for the whole family with Ranger Erik Westerlund, shows every Tuesday at 7 p.m., from now through October 6. Discover the sights and sounds of Yosemite, test your powers of observation, and find hidden treasures, while learning about the natural world through the whimsical art of renowned minimalist artist Charley Harper.

Using art, music, games and storytelling, Ranger Westerlund takes the audience for an armchair nature walk, complete with bird calls and waterfalls, discovering Yosemite’s flora and fauna by exploring one of Harper’s masterpiece works, The Sierra Range.

Westerlund has worked as a naturalist in Yosemite since 1992. He spends most of his free time studying the natural history of Yosemite’s birds, plants and insects, and he is an avid observer of all that is beautiful. He is known to carry a copy of An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park — an eight-pound hardcover book — on his backcountry hikes.

* A family friendly interactive live music presentation with singer-songwriter Gail Dreifus, shows at 7 p.m. on Saturdays from now through August 29 (no shows on July 4 or August 15). Her catchy music and entertaining lyrics will have you tapping your toes, while you learn about nature and ecology. Dreifus especially likes when members of the audience particpate in her celebration of Yosemite. She invites children to come on stage and help theperformance, and everyone in the audience is welcome to sing along.

Dreifus is a singer, guitarist and songwriter. She teaches history and English in a one-room school house in El Portal, near Yosemite. She bought her first guitar at age 14, and has been writing songs and singing ever since. Her program of original songs about Yosemite National Park has been developed during the past 25 years; the catchy tunes and informative lyrics appeal to children and adults, alike.

The Yosemite Theater is located at the Valley Visitor Center in Yosemite Valley, shuttle bus stops five and nine. Show time is 7 p.m., doors open at 6:45 p.m., and tickets can be purchased in advance at the Yosemite Bookstore, the Valley Visitor Center, or at the theater door. Cost is $8 for adults, $4 for children age 4 to 12, and free for kids under 4 years of age.