Calendar Letters: A chorus of bravos for Van Nuys High choir program

Van Nuys High School students composed and sang an oratorio about suffragist Sara Bard Field.
(Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)

Student choir impresses

I wish to congratulate Catherine Womack for her article on the Los Angeles Master Chorale working with the Van Nuys student choir and singers [“Girls Want You to ‘Hear Our Voice,’” Feb. 16]. It was a perfect choice to select something as positive as this oratorio to balance the dreadful news from Florida. We went to a performance and saw an amazing, uplifting program that left us speechless for its intellectual content, superb singing and poignant use of history. And to think that the students wrote the music, the lyrics and projected the history of the women’s suffragette movement so clearly and beautifully. We so often forget the incredible talent that is in our high schools.

Raoul de la Sota

Highland Park


This article beautifully captures the effect and potential of the Master Chorale’s Voices Within program. Since the program’s launch in 2001, hundreds of students have found their voices through the creative process, giving us new works of art and empowering these young people to reveal and own what’s in their hearts. They will carry this for the rest of their lives. I congratulate the students of Van Nuys High School on their remarkable achievement.

Terry Knowles, former chief executive of the L.A. Master Chorale


Border wall? It’s ‘misguided’

No matter how you refer to it, or paint it, it is still an ugly wall [“Wall Prototypes: Are They Land Art?” Feb. 8] A great America does not build a wall; only a petty, racist America would. Everyone, please come to your senses and stop this misguided idea.


Kay Graetz

Huntington Beach

About portraits of the Obamas ...

I enjoyed Christopher Knight’s informative article about the new Obama portraits [“Changing How We See Our Presidents,” Feb. 14]. What a shame that the accompanying photo of Michelle Obama’s portrait displayed someone’s “correction” of the artist’s grayscale skin tones, whose significance Knight addressed. The artist’s own expressive colors were altered back to realistic skin tones of the banal style that the artist was praised for surpassing. I assume that the photo edit was a misunderstanding and not a choice to override the artist.

Wendy Carson

Manhattan Beach


Knight never really critiqued the Obama portraits. He just enlightened us on colors, fabrics and wardrobe selection, but never did critique the artistic quality of the paintings.

That he saw the paintings only in reproduction doesn’t get him off the hook. Anyone can determine from a reproduction whether a work of art has merit or not.

Eduardo Savoa

New York

A word from ‘Nostalgia’ fan

My opinion of the film “Nostalgia” differs widely from Sheri Linden’s [“Memories Best Ignored,” Feb. 16]. I found it authentic, deep, mournful, accessible and with resolution.

In my 83 years on the planet, I have had some of the characterized experiences myself or witnessed them as a close observer. Each scene got me right in that part of my brain, which I often keep closed. Bad things happen to the luckiest among us as well as those who are often downcast by suffering; they are part of our bargain when we enter the world. If we acknowledge them, we can take better care of ourselves and those we love.

Joyce Tapper

Studio City

‘Billboards’ on the ‘Waterfront’

The Envelope article comparing current Oscar best picture nominees with previous winners [“Hey, That’s Kind of Like...,” Feb. 15] likens “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” to “No Country for Old Men.” I can’t think of how these two films relate. One has a cynical, bleak vision of the world, the other (spoiler alert) has a more hopeful and balanced view of humanity, with scenes of bad people doing good things (and vice versa). Although it seems a stretch, “Three Billboards,” with its theme of forgiveness that occurs during the pursuit of justice, actually has more in common with Elia Kazan’s classic “On the Waterfront.”


Fred Janssen

Long Beach

Weighed down by ‘Ironbound’

Regarding “An American Dream, Soured” [Feb. 12]: You’re right — “Ironbound” is “unrelievedly grim,” and that would be the first thing I would tell someone before I told them, “Don’t go see it.” And yes, it does illuminate the immigrant experience, but it is also the experience of many women born here who struggle to survive. I doubt that those people who “distance themselves emotionally from the debate” are going to go see this anyway.

Judi Jones

San Pedro