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Hollywood Bowl reopening photos: Faces in the crowd

Gerald Gonzales and Keyana Session laugh outside the entrance to the Bowl.
Palmdale resident Keyana Session, 26, a cashier clerk for L.A. County, arrived Saturday with friend Gerald Gonzales, 28, of Lancaster. “I have some anxiety,” she said of the concert. Added Gonzales: “Getting out of the house is good, but ... I got so used to being home. It just feels weird.”
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

It felt like a significant step toward post-pandemic normalcy: The Los Angeles Philharmonic performed Saturday night at the Hollywood Bowl in front of a live audience.

Before the concert, the entry to the Bowl buzzed with joy, optimism and a lingering bit of wariness as masked ticket holders — frontline and essential workers and their family and friends, all recipients of free tickets — gathered to experience live music as part of a large audience for the first time in more than a year. With masks lowered briefly for a socially distanced photo, they represent some of the faces in the crowd and the backstories they brought to the Bowl.

You can find our other coverage of the historic closure and touching reopening in our Hollywood Bowl story gallery.

A landmark in hibernation, a surprise from the governor, tears and hugs: Behind the scenes of the whirlwind push to bring music back to the Bowl.

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A man and two women pose for a photo.
Marissa Fontanilla, left, her son Gregory Fontanilla and her sister Tere Cayamanda.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Marissa Fontanilla, 65, won a raffle at work for Saturday’s free concert. As a nurse specializing in employee health at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Fontanilla spent the last few months vaccinating coworkers. “It’s easy,” she said, miming the jab of a shot in an arm. She attended the concert with her son, Gregory Fontanilla, 27, and her sister, Tere Cayamanda, 61. “I’m so excited. What a year we’ve had,” Fontanilla said. “It’s good to have some social contact. We haven’t been going out for over a year.”

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A man and woman pose for a photo.
Grecia Serrano and her brother, Fernando Serrano.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

South Gate resident Grecia Serrano, 27, attended the concert with her brother, Fernando Serrano, 19. A program director for one of the L.A. Phil’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles sites, Serrano is a musician who plays the upright bass. “I’m really excited. I think when the L.A. Phil gets out there, that means YOLA will eventually get back out there too,” she said. “Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ is one of those really great pieces to listen to, especially live. I’m excited to hear the musicians because they must be really happy to play harmonies together. I hope they have a lot of fun.”

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Two men and a woman pose for a photo.
Surgical nurse Kami Kaur and her sons, Jasdeep Singh, left, and Simran Singh.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Kami Kaur, 53, was at the concert with sons Simran Singh, 27, and Jasdeep Singh, 26. Kaur is a surgical nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Lancaster, and Saturday night was the first time she and her sons had attended a concert at the Bowl. “I love music, so I was excited because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us,” she said. “Last year was very busy and stressful. ... Sometimes people think it’s not a big deal, but for us, it is. Today is like a vacation for us. We came down here and hiked and visited downtown. It’s like a more normal day, a really good experience.”

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Two men and a woman pose for a photo.
Sandra Weiser with her husband, Bernard, and son Cameron.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Sandra Weiser, 56, works in the COVID-19 unit of Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills. She attended the concert with husband Bernard Weiser, 65, and son Cameron Weiser, 24. “This is special, heartwarming, kind of emotional, because we worked so hard the whole year,” she said. “It’s also a little bit strange because we’ve been so isolated. You know we were so terrified and afraid for our families, for ourselves, for all the patients coming in who were so sick, people who couldn’t breathe and were dying. So right now, it’s still a little bit uncomfortable because we went through so much. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking. I think tonight is going to be very emotional.”

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A woman poses for a photo.
Ria Magtanong.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Ria Magtanong, 37, is a nurse at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. The Long Beach resident said she’d been to the Hollywood Bowl before with her kids, but Saturday night was different. “It feels amazing,” she said of how the L.A. Phil was recognizing frontline workers and how so many people had “joined together to fight this pandemic.”

“The number of patients we have with COVID is going down dramatically, so that feels good,” she said. “I haven’t been out like this in a long time, and to be able to do it in a setting that I feel is safe because we’re all outdoors and wearing masks, it feels really nice.”

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Three women pose for a photo.
Rose Cooper, left, Nadine Koerner and Louise King.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Louise King, 81, is a nurse and case manager at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. She attended Saturday’s concert with longtime friends Nadine Koerner, 79, and Rose Cooper, 87. They went to the Bowl together often before the pandemic.

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“It’s fabulous to be out,” King said. “I’ve been out twice today. I went to lunch with friends and now tonight! It’s a good day. It’s always exciting to be here. There’s just a sense of excitement all the time. I feel it every time I walk in.”

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A man in a suit, hands in pockets, poses for a photo.
Jose Morales.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles resident Jose Morales, 41, is a Cedars Sinai EKG technician. “I love this place,” he said. “Being back feels great. Getting back to normal little by little — especially here — is a big deal. We’ve been through a lot. Honestly I think it will be a little weird at first, but once everything gets started, it will begin to feel a little more normal.”

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Two men and two women pose for a photo.
Tracy Hild, far right, stands next to husband Gary Hild. To the left are daughter Sydney Hild and her boyfriend, Bradley Smith.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Tracy Hild, 56, of Santa Clarita is an aquatic manager at Castaic Lake and an EMT. “It’s nice to be in the community again and get back to music,” she said. Hild attended the concert with husband Gary Hild, 56, daughter Sydney Hild, 24, and Sydney’s boyfriend, Bradley Smith, 22.

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A man and two women in colorful face masks pose for a photo.
Suzanne Goulet, left, Joseph Fenno and Celeste Florentin.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Reseda resident Suzanne Goulet, 61, volunteers with Project Angel Food. She brought her daughter, Celeste Florentin, 30, and son-in-law, Joseph Fenno, 51, to the concert. “I’ve been coming since I was in high school,” Goulet said. “So it is a big part of our family’s life. I think I’m going to be blown away tonight.”

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Added Florentin: “My mom has been bringing me here since I was in utero, so it’s just such a huge part of our lives and it’s amazing to be back. I miss it.”

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A man in a hat holds his phone as he poses for a photo seated on a bench.
Cesar Arredondo waits for a friend on a bench partially wrapped in plastic to ensure social distancing.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles resident Cesar Arendondo, 55, attended Saturday’s concert with a friend. He got the Johnson & Johnson shot about a month ago and was happy California was a leader in vaccinations. “This is a great way to celebrate the protocols being relaxed,” he said. “We’re getting out there to get a little bit of the normal we used to have, and what a great way to do it with music and with maestro [Gustavo] Dudamel.”

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A man and woman pose for a photo.
Virginia Madrigal and Douglas Madrigal.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

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Studio City residents Douglas and Virginia Madrigal, 79 and 77, respectively, are regular Hollywood Bowl subscribers who are used to spending their summer nights there. The couple received tickets through the food bank Project Angel Food, where Virginia volunteers. “I feel free,” she said. “Last year there was no Hollywood Bowl and it was like my whole summer was done. It was awful. Coming here tonight really tells me that things are better.”

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A woman poses for a photo, a line of people behind her.
Andi Gibson.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Pasadena resident Andi Gibson, 42, is an actor who attended the concert at the invitation of a friend who volunteers for Project Angel Food. “I have not been this excited to come to the Bowl in a really long time,” she said, adding later: “I think it’s a lovely way to make a tribute to all the important people that helped us survive during the last year.”


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