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By Joe Puglia | April 3, 2013
It's 8 a.m. in Austria. The MS Mozart, queen of the Danube, glides through the current, passing abbeys, cathedrals and villages from the 13th century. The snowflakes fall and nothing stirs from the quaint little houses with the steeple roofs. It is a serene morning in the Wachau Valley. Charlemagne marched through this very corridor. We are passersby; today the world turns for us and we are humbled by this experience. I'm with the friends and family accompanying the La Cañada High School choral artists.
By Joe Puglia | March 7, 2013
What is it about that moment we call deja vu? Such moments capture a small measure of time but depict a significant occurrence in one's life, painting a vivid portrait of a past experience. When I hear Nora Sagal, vocalist for La Cañada's Untouchables, sing “Bye Bye Blackbird,” I take a step back in time. Once again I'm 23, standing in the Starlight Room of the El Cortez hotel in San Diego with a tall bourbon in my hand. In my moment of deja vu I remember Alice Kennah singing, “As Time Goes By.” She would stir the souls of the boys traveling to and from Vietnam.
September 21, 2012
Re: “ The choir and its beautiful music ,” Thoughts from Dr. Joe, Sept. 16. What a lovely tribute and analysis of Jeff Brookey's passion for teaching beautiful music. Would that every teacher felt that their efforts to inspire emerging young adults are the “highest form of endeavor.” It is undeniable that singing beautiful music together can be magical in its transformational quality. Those of us whose children have left La Cañada High School better people because of their experience in the choir will always be grateful that Brookey is sharing his gift with our particular school and has continued a long tradition of excellence in the music program there.
By Joe Puglia | September 14, 2012
“Mr. Brookey! I'm trying to understand your gift,” I said. “How do you inspire your students?” He responded, “How can you not be positive and happy when you are singing?” Jeff Brookey is a local treasure. He's the choral music director of the concert choir at La Cañada High School. I had a million questions for him as I hoped to intellectualize the alchemy of his work. I wanted to understand why his choir holds its audience breathless after a performance. His responses were unpretentious; I realized that the success of the choir emanates from a humble nature.
By Jane Napier Neely | August 10, 2012
For all of us who enjoy the summer concerts of the Pasadena Pops, the news Tuesday of the death of Marvin Hamlisch, its music director and conductor, was stunning. Even though it was apparent at his first two concerts this season that Hamlisch was not in robust health, the suddenness of his passing was a shock. Just two weeks ago Hamlisch conducted the Pops orchestra in a program that featured Michael Feinstein and the music of Cole Porter. At the beginning of the concert Hamlisch made a second entrance, bowing to the crowd of nearly 4,000 people.
By Jane Napier Neely | July 21, 2012
Oh my, I've been loving this weather. Coastal eddy can come and stay for the entire summer. These cool mornings are divine, and the air smells so sweet. Speaking of fragrances, the other night I was held hostage in my car for nearly 40 minutes because there was a huge skunk inspecting my front yard and I didn't dare open the door. I sure as heck didn't want to frighten him. While I was thumping my fingers on the steering wheel, he was leisurely sniffing the flowers. He then squeezed himself under the front gate and continued his property inspection in my front courtyard.
By Jane Napier Neely | June 30, 2012
Here are some more summer music notes for you to consider. Descanso Gardens is presenting its summer music series on Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. called “Music on the Main.” The series features some of the Southland's best jazz artists. The Thursday night concerts continue through Aug. 23. Muse/Ique will have its first of two summer concerts at Caltech's Beckman Mall, affectionately called “The Olive Grove,” on July 14. “Come groove in the grove” with Rachael Worby and jazz ranging from be-bop to soul to swing.
By Daniel Siegal, | May 2, 2012
Singing in a chorus might not be rocket science, but that hasn't stopped Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers from forming their own company of singers. The JPL Chorus will make its debut at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in a free concert with the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. The NASA research facility in La Cañada Flintridge formed its first choral group in February, the idea born out of a discussion between Stephen Kulczycki, JPL's deputy director of communications and education, and Pasadena Symphony Chief Executive Paul Zdunek.
By Gene Pepper | February 8, 2012
Valentine's Day is coming in a few days, and I'm cruising the stores in La Cañada, looking for appropriate cards for my valentine. While I thumb through the selection of large, heart-shaped cards, I think about the girls in my youth I considered to be my valentine. Many were dance partners, because taking a date dancing was very romantic. But my biggest love affair was for the dance music. For me, that meant big bands and jazz. You never forget the music of your youth. It was the end of World War II and I was 16 years old, working after school on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Rainbow Rendezvous Dance Pavilion in Salt Lake City.
November 9, 2011
Supporters of the ceramics program offered at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge gathered in the beautiful Meadow Grove area garden of Richard and Sandra Goodspeed on a recent Sunday evening to raise funds for the program through a silent auction. According to Marguerite Duncan-Abrams, chairman of Foothills Ceramics Support Guild, approximately $3,000 was raised at the event, which featured wine, hors d'oeuvres and the music of Misplaced Priorities, a band led by Tom Reynolds, president of the Community Center Board of Directors.
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