Corona del Mar Today: Retiring music teacher honored at holiday assembly

Harbor View Elementary School's longtime music teacher, Linda Messenger, was honored with a standing ovation at the recent holiday program — her last school-wide musical assembly before she retires in June.

"Harbor View has always been proud of our musical program," said Principal Charlene Metoyer. "This is due to the fabulous direction of Mrs. Messenger. I don't know if anyone can take her place."

Messenger has worked at Harbor View for 11 years, and she also has taught at Whittier, Newport Coast and Newport elementary schools, teaching thousands of students instrumental and vocal music as well as dance.

Her first year, she took over a Harbor View music program that had only a piano. The same year, she was given $10,000 in arts grant money and used it to purchase xylophones that students continue to learn to play and use in performances.

Harbor View students now also learn to play recorders, and sixth-graders learn the trumpet, clarinet and violin, she said.

At Harbor View, Messenger created a chorus group that performs at the Christmas Walk, at Five Crowns and at the Orange County Museum of Art. She also contributes musical productions for the school's annual Veterans Day assembly.

"I start teaching 'Proud to Be an American' to kindergartners," she said. "The first week of the year, and they learn every word."

At last week's holiday program, the walls of the school's multipurpose room were decorated with enormous posters created by each class, spelling out "We Love Mrs. Messenger."

After the assembly, the school's Parent Faculty Organization's co-presidents thanked her and gave her a bouquet while parents gave a standing ovation.

Messenger will continue to work with students until the end of the school year, but the principal wanted to honor her today because it's the last program with the entire school that includes parents.

The school will have a new music teacher next year, Metoyer said, and Messenger has promised to return to volunteer and help with programs such as the Veterans Day assembly.

Messenger — who said she plans to spend time with her young grandchildren after retirement — said the tributes and decorations were overwhelming.

"Tremendously moving," she said. "This blew me away."


Little Corona Beach will offer mobile tidepool

Visitors to Little Corona Beach next summer will be encouraged to touch tidepool creatures — not on the protected marine beach but in a new mobile aquarium that is being designed and created by several local agencies.

"Kids can get all their touching and feeling out before they go down to the beach," said Michelle Clemente, a Newport Beach marine education supervisor. "Touching is a very human experience, it's totally normal."

The Traveling Tide Pool vehicle will be parked near the restrooms along the path to the Little Corona Beach every day of the summer and on weekends, Clemente said.

The rest of the time, the vehicle will be available to visit schools or make appearances at events.

The Traveling Tide Pool vehicle will cost more than $125,000, Clemente said, paid with grants and part of a collaborative project among Newport Beach, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Newport Bay Conservancy.

Clemente has been designing the vehicle, which will have two touch tanks and possibly a display aquarium. The new vehicle will replace the Department of Fish and Game's shark tank, which Clemente said is being retired because of age.

"It will sleep at the Back Bay," she said, where it will be plugged in each day to keep the hermit crabs, anemones, sea stars, urchins and other creatures safe.

The Little Corona tidepools are a major attraction, and marine educators talked to about 80,000 visitors last year, Clemente said.

Teaching visitors not to take rocks, shells and creatures from the protected beach is crucial to protect wildlife, she said.

"This vehicle will help save the tide pools," Clemente said.

The date of the vehicle's first appearance is not known but will likely be in late June, she said.


What's Cooking at the Library returns

The Newport Beach Public Library's popular series, "What's Cooking at the Library," will launch its third season Jan. 17 with Ryan Wilson, the executive chef of Corona del Mar's Five Crowns and SideDoor restaurants.

The event costs $20 per person to cover the cost of food. Space is limited, and reservations are required by registering online — click here and follow the link — or pick up a registration form at any Newport Beach library branch. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the library at 1000 Avocado Ave.

Chef Ryan O'Melvany Wilson also is vice president of Lawry's Restaurants Inc. and a fourth-generation founding-family member of the company. He and the Five Crowns team will discuss cheese, charcuterie and craft beer pairings.

Future What's Cooking events include Chef Cathy Pavlos of Lucca on Feb. 21; Chef Deborah Schneider from Sol Cocina on March 20; and cheese expert Pamela Thomson with Trader Joe's wine buyer James Vorse on April 17.

For more information, call (949) 717-3800, ext. 2.


Jabulani Yoga Studio opening

A yoga studio will open in January in the former Felicity Bridal Couture space at 2711 E. Coast Hwy.

Jabulani will feature adult, family and child yoga classes with an emphasis on being a community studio, said owner Jill Manly of Corona del Mar. The studio's grand opening is scheduled for Jan. 2.

Manly, who is certified through the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, is opening the studio after taking time off to raise a family. She has four children: Christina Lowry, 21, a senior at UCLA; Dana Lowry, 19, a sophomore at Tulane University; John Manly, 11, in fifth grader Prentice School in Santa Ana; and Ron Manly, 9, in fourth grade at Harbor View Elementary. She is married to John Manly, an attorney at Manly and Stewart Law Firm in Newport Beach.

For two years, Manly also has taught after-school yoga classes at Harbor View Elementary School.

For more information about the studio, call the Jabulani at (949) 723-5228 (JABU).

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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