On the Town: Fine dining suits Scarlet Room to a tea; Violinist Jacqueline Suzuki's Glendale concert series continues

Karen Mikaelian, owner of the Scarlet Tea Room, has added “Fine Dining” to her business card. Pasadena's well-known tea room on Green Street, popular for its fancy tea service during the day, has added dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.

But afternoon tea is still king at the Tea Room. Known as the perfect restaurant to gossip with your girlfriend over strawberry-hibiscus infusion tea, the room has also become a place for couples celebrating romantic occasions. That's just what Angie and Dario Di Claudio did on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 6). Of course, Tiffany's had a little something to with the fun, too. The Di Claudio's decided it was time to update Angie's wedding ring. Their “joint effort” resulted in a gold wedding band Angie was showing off over tea. Even the couple's 6-year-old son, Alessandro Di Claudio, was part of the party.

Mickie Zussman made the trip to the tea room from Pacific Palisades. “We have nothing like this in the Palisades. I'm eating like the queen of England,” Zussman said.

Don't miss the tiny tea sandwiches. Word has it the olive tapenade is tops.

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Violinist and South Pasadena resident Jacqueline Suzuki is a one-woman wrecking crew. What she wants to “wreck” is Glendale's image of not being a city known for classical music. Starting its fifth year is the Glendale Noon Concert series Suzuki established in November 2008. The free concerts are offered on the first and third Wednesday of every month. The series' venue is the First Baptist Church of Glendale. The church presents each concert and financially supports the series. Pastor Charles Updike is Suzuki's biggest fan. Each concert's costs are low thanks to Suzuki's thriftiness. Suzuki takes no salary, only paying the musicians (depending on the number of musicians) about $240 in total.

That was Suzuki's budget for Wednesday's (Jan. 2) concert, the 99th in the four-year series.

Suzuki did double duty as violinist for Beethoven's Spring Sonata. She was joined by pianist Rosa LoGiudice. About 50 music fans made up the audience for the concert scheduled from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. The short program allows for nearby workers to enjoy music on their lunch hours. A light lunch from nearby Angela's Bistro is available for $6 so no one has to miss a minute of music.

Suzuki has her hands in more than one pot. She also schedules musicians to play for children in local hospitals. Suzuki began with pediatric patients in Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. But Suzuki always has one eye on the bottom line. She is looking for more funding for her work in hospitals.

Suzuki has been a longtime member of the on-and-off Glendale Symphony. She is a principal player as second-chair violinist. By establishing the Noon Concert Series, Suzuki hopes to bring “live music on a regular basis by a Glendale-based organization.”

Next in the Glendale Noon Concert series is “Calico Winds” — works by Bizet and Janacek on Jan. 16.

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More concert news involves the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. It ended 2012 on an upbeat note receiving the largest gift in its 44-year history. Pasadena residents Terri and Jerry Kohl gave a $1-million challenge gift. Their challenge was met by two anonymous gifts, totaling an additional $1 million. The $2-million grand total provides the foundation for the orchestra's newly established Cornerstone Campaign, a major gifts and endowment initiative. Subsequently, two additional gifts totaling $200,000 have been donated to the Cornerstone Campaign.

The Kohls, generous art patrons, became subscribers in 2007 and have provided financial support to the orchestra in the past. They are the founders of Brighton, the Southern California-based women's accessories company.

“Although LACO has been fiscally responsible, it, like other orchestras, has had to make considerable sacrifices in recent years to maintain its fiscal standing,” Jerry Kohl said. “We chose to make this gift because we don't want the orchestra to ever compromise its artistic programming, even in difficult economic times.”

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra presents its Orchestral Series at Los Angeles theaters including Glendale's Alex.

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RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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