Life and Arts

Organizations: Clients present annual holiday program

Clients and their teachers of the BCR “a place to grow” presented their annual holiday program on Nov. 17 at St. Francis Xavier Church Holy Cross Hall. The center’s mission is to provide quality program services for children and adults with developmental disabilities that will enable them to achieve their individual potentials and become increasingly self-reliant, well-integrated and contributing members of their families and communities.

The holiday program gives them a chance to showcase their singing, reading and dancing abilities.

The first act featured the Adult Day Activity Program under the theme of “A Country Christmas.” A highlight was when the performers danced the Cowboy Boogie to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” dressed in different-colored cowboy hats and jeans, jean skirts and boots. Later in the set, Ernie Pistacchio sang his traditional solo of “O Holy Night.”

Starring in the second act were clients who attend the Children’s and Adult’s Extended Day Program, under the theme of “Heroes.” Staff member Tom Burke assisted clients making their presentations to the audience, including members of the Aktion Club Helen Lopez, Sandy Saenz and Karen Young, who read their speech on Heroes that took third place in an essay contest at the national convention. The set included musical salutes to the many kind of heroes there are in the world — American military heroes, famous heroes, everyday heroes, parent heroes and culminating with the finale “Heart of a Hero” showcasing the complete Extended Day Program cast.


“Our holidays wouldn’t be complete without this special evening of performances by our clients,” said Lonna Grant, executive director. “They always deliver an inspiring program with a heartwarming message.”

Many businesses and organizations contributed items for a silent auction.

“This event also raises funds for BCR’s programs, and our families, friends, local businesses and organizations give us great support with their donations,” she added.

Salvation Army kicks off Red Kettle drive


The Salvation Army, Burbank Corps, kicked off its annual Red Kettle Drive on Nov. 22 and it continues through Dec. 23.

The ringing of the bell and the traditional Red Kettle have been a part of the holiday season all over the world since 1895. The Red Kettle Funds provide services for needy families throughout the year, and 93 cents on every dollar raised goes back into Salvation Army Social Services, and each local corps is responsible for its operating expenses.

Many locations in Burbank have authorized the army to raise funds at their sites. Throughout the season, local service clubs and individual volunteers will ring the bell to help enable the army to meet these needs.

Anyone wishing to volunteer for the Red Kettle Bell Ringing can call Christine at the corps office at (818) 845-7214.

Burbank Moose Lodge has toy drive

Burbank Moose Lodge is having its third annual toy drive beginning at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at the lodge, 1901 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank. There will be music, food and dancing. Admission is an unwrapped toy ($10 minimum), or $10 at the door. Guests will receive one raffle ticket per toy or cash donation.

Last year members collected more than 400 toys. This year the goal is 1,000. All toys will go to the Family Service Agency of Burbank. For more information, call (818) 842-5851.

Optimist clubs have Festival of Trees


The Optimist Clubs of Pacific Southwest, Pacific Southeast and California South present the 58th annual Festival of Trees from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel, 168 S. Los Robles, Pasadena.

Trees will be on view from 10 a.m. to noon. Every tree comes with lights and is decorated with an assortment of gifts to win (there is a raffle drawing for the trees) at the end of the day (tickets for this portion are sold at the event only) followed by a luncheon.

Back on popular demand will be the “Back on Track” singers and additional entertainment provided by the Stern Entertainment Talent Agency.

Rick Chambers, local television celebrity and actor, returns to perform as master of ceremonies

Tickets are $65 and are available by calling Pam Duben at (661) 257-6867.

For more information, call Dee at (661) 713-6642. Proceeds to benefit Optimist Youth and Family Homes Services.

Van Bloem Singers perform holiday shows

The Van Bloem Singers will perform at the Holiday Inn, Media Center, during Burbank’s 12 Days of Christmas. Performances will be at 6 and 7 p.m. Dec. 9.


These performers are completing their 16th season and have appeared in more than 450 shows for service clubs, retiree groups, volunteer organizations, charitable organizations and senior residences.

The singers will be performing at five other venues during December, including the Burbank Healthcare Facility, Providence St. Elizabeth’s in Burbank, Belmont Village Residence in Encino, the Franciscans Senior Club at St. Frances Xavier Church Holy Cross Hall, First Presbyterian Seniors, and the Salvation Army Chapel.

The group performs more than 30 shows a year from Broadway, the ‘30s and ‘40s, and the music of favorite composers.

For more information, call Musical Director Elaine Paonessa at (818) 845-6851.