The Valley Line: St. Bede community dons Western duds, lines up for barbecue at 66th birthday celebration

It was hoedown fun when St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church held its 66th annual birthday party celebration.

The Old West was recreated in the St. Bede School parking lot and playground with hay bales and games for kids and adults alike.


One of the most popular activities for the kids was the pony rides, while the adults laughed as they took turns on the mechanical bull.

More than 800 people came for the festivities, which also included live music and line dancing activities. It is truly a family affair — moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins galore. There were so many little kids — from babes in arms to teens joining the fun.


Joyfully greeting everyone was Msgr. Antonio Cacciapuoti, pastor of St. Bede. He was dressed in jeans, plaid shirt adorned by a sheriff's badge, cowboy hat and boots and a kerchief around his neck.

The organizing volunteers for the event included Rosie and Caesar Betaanzos, Narine Stygar, Cathy Schwartz, Sarah Javaheri, Al Silliman, Tom Smith, Jack Sartz, Brenda Pieroni, Charlie Smith, John Geogopolous, Jerri Nicol, Moira Arjani, Lisa Orlandini and Marilyn Bednar. Keeping the bartending crew on their toes was the congenial Charlie Smith.

When the dinner bell clanged, there was a stampede for the food tables that were stocked with barbecue ribs and chicken, Louisiana sausage, garlic mashed potatoes, baked beans and cornbread with honey butter. The Newport Rib Co. prepared the barbecue. For dessert, Leo Leo provided Msgr. Cacciapuoti's favorite Italian gelato.

The Gavina family, long-time parishioners and owners of Gavina Gourmet Coffee Co., provided the Don Francisco Espresso cart.

The silent auction table offering items such as vacation stays, sports events, gift certificates to restaurants, spas and so much more was a busy place to be and netted $21,000. Raffle tickets were sold and cash winners included Antonette Raycraft, John Walker and Paul Pontrelli.


Autumn benefits and social events continue to play out, so today I'll catch you up on two of the happenings.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic opened its new season on Sept. 26 in a grand manner.

Philharmonic Conductor Gustavo Dudamel was in fine form when he presented an all-Mozart program, "Mozart – The Early Years," that was breathtaking.

The evening began with celebrities walking the red carpet and going up Disney Hall's grand staircase to a reception in BP Hall.

Dudamel raised his baton to begin the sold-out concert with Mozart's "First Symphony," which he wrote at the age of 9. Here, some 250-plus years after this wunderkind penned this piece of music, we are still spellbound by it.

Enhancing this musical evening were soprano Anna Prohaska and countertenor Tim Mead performing "Discede crudelis" from Apollo et Hyacinthus. Prohaska then sang "Exsultate jubilate."

Filling the hall with dynamic sound came with piano powerhouses Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Yuja Wang who performed Mozart's "Double Piano Concerto."

As the orchestra finished "Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio K.384," shimmering golden confetti in the shape of Mozart's signature drifted down among the audience. Also, keeping in theme with the evening, little parachutes of Mozart Kugeln candies drifted down to be caught by concertgoers.

This opening night continued with a grand celebration that lasted until midnight. Grand Avenue had been closed off to traffic and the street was tented when guests sat down to a dinner prepared by Patina Chef Joachim Splichal and later danced to the music of DJ Casey.

A delightful surprise came when a YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) quartet performed the first and third movements of Mozart's "String Quartet No. 3, K. 156." High school students performing included Hannah Esquivel, Fabiola Marinero, Jacob Molina and Jackie Rodriguez.

It was a beautiful evening and the tent décor was sleek and modern with neon art that was dazzling.

Maria Valverde, from left, Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of L.A. Philharmonic, Jane Eisner, Amy Wakeland Garcetti and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti attend Walt Disney Concert Hall Opening Night Gala 2017.
Maria Valverde, from left, Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of L.A. Philharmonic, Jane Eisner, Amy Wakeland Garcetti and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti attend Walt Disney Concert Hall Opening Night Gala 2017. (Mathew Imaging)

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.