The Oakmont County Club, decked out in all its holiday finery, is a sight to behold. Those who had the privilege were members and guests of the Davitt Group on Dec. 14. The 75 who filled the Garden Room were well-rewarded with the club's signature brunch and entertainment by Glendale Community College's Madrigal Singers under the able baton of Peter Green. Green is the division chairman of the music division on campus.
The Davitt Group was formed three years ago, at about the time Supt./President Emeritus John Davitt retired after 21 years at the helm of the college. A number of staff members retired with him but didn't want to lose their ties to the college — hence the Davitt Group, currently meeting once a year at holiday time.
Brunch organizers Jack and Glady Kabateck kept the action moving with a combination of good eats, entertainment and presentations. Glady Kabateck was employed at the college for 23 years as coordinator of the adult re-entry program. She worked closely with tablemate Angela Battaglia, a 25-year veteran of the college administration, working as scholarship coordinator.
Another table mate was Florence Hammer. She worked on campus for a mere 22 years as foundation administrative assistant. Hammer came from Cambria for the brunch. All fondly remember their years at the college as being part of a large family with Davitt as the friendly but down-to-business father figure.
The Patrons Club, a college financial support organization, was well represented at their own table. Outgoing President Judy Gorham presented Davitt with a plaque for his support of the club and retired his Patrons Club hat he would wear at the annual fashion show to sell opportunity prize tickets.
Brand new Glendale College Foundation President Ellyn Semler announced that $330,000 had been raised by the foundation in the past year. The funds will go to academic support and student scholarships. Semler also described the newly established 33-member President's Circle, made up of foundation members who donate $1,000 annually to the foundation. College Vice President of Administrative Services Ron Nakasone was recognized as being a generous member of the elite President's Circle.
Foundation Executive Director Lisa Brooks also had the happy opportunity to announce that Glendale Community College has just been voted as the second most beautiful community college in the United States, according to Best Colleges Online.com. The college was trumpeted by the site as "situated on the scenic slopes of the San Rafael hills overlooking the city of Glendale." (First prize went to College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif.)
More college VIP's enjoying brunch and the program were former "First Lady" Gael Davitt and incoming Patrons Club President Betty Musacco (having been president four times now). Current college Superintendent/President Dawn Lindsay was called away at the last minute due to illness in her family.
After the audience joined in singing Christmas carols with the Madrigal Singers, the morning ended with all singing the Alma Mater Hymn — "And though our feet may wander; our thoughts stray farther still, our hearts will e'er return to her; our college on the hill."
Each year the two-day holiday show of Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles seems to get more family friendly. Saturday's matinee, "Comfort & Joy," was no exception. The dancing Christmas elves are always a hit with the kids. Adults go for "Boogie Woogie Hanukah," featuring The Oy Veys! of prancing "rabbis."
Guest artist Sheryl Lee Ralph brought down the house with her rendition of "Santa Baby." The 200-plus chorus trots out the traditional holiday fare and has a lot of fun doing it. Standouts this year were soloists Curtis Foreman and Joshua Farahnik in "All I Want For Christmas Is You."
But it was Chorus Executive Director Hywel Sims who gave the eagerly anticipated announcement of the afternoon. Just minutes before, the U.S. Senate repealed the long-standing U.S. Services policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"This is a historic day for all Americans, especially for gay and lesbians," said Sims. All service veterans in the audience and chorus were asked to stand and given a round of applause.
Author and Food Network star, Rachael Ray, attracted some 250 fans to the green at the Americana on Dec. 13. All stood in a long, sinewy line waiting to meet the chef and have her sign her new book, "Rachael Ray's Look + Cook."
Although time with each fan was going to be limited, Ray answered questions from the audience before the book signing. One endearing question asked by 7-year-old Isabella Caputo from Bakersfield was, "My Dad just got out of the hospital. What should I make him?" Ray answered, "First, you give him a big kiss." Caputo's mom, Shannon Caputo, agreed. Her favorite Ray recipe is lasagna.
Ray's appearance and book signing was presented by Americana's Sur La Table.