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Life and Arts

On the Town: Pop-up concert series is a lunchtime treat for music lovers

Singer Stephanie James performs at a PopUp! Summer Concert on Brand on June 19, 2019.
Singer Stephanie James performs at a PopUp! Summer Concert on Brand.
(Ruth Sowby)

Looking for a free mini-concert in a setting filled with lush succulents and olive trees? That’s just what you get during the lunch hour through Sept. 25 in a space nestled between the 401 and 450 buildings on North Brand Boulevard.

The Pop-Up! Summer Concert Series is presented by Glendale Arts and Cushman & Wakefield. Due to the generosity of the two organizations, local residents and employees are able to enjoy a variety of musical talents.

On June 19, almost 50 music buffs munched on salads and sandwiches at outdoor tables. They filled body and soul as they listened to pop and soul-singer-songwriter Stephanie James and her accompanist, Keyhan Kamelian, on electric piano.

Both artists are Glendale residents.

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James, new to Los Angeles, said she tends to write ballads, but left those at home.

For the recent concert, “I don’t want you crying into your lunch,” she said.

Alhambra resident Ruth Freyre enjoys music and lunch at the PopUp! concert presented by Glendale Art
Alhambra resident Ruth Freyre enjoys music and lunch at the PopUp! concert presented by Glendale Arts and Cushman & Wakefield.
(Ruth Sowby)

Her enthusiastic audience, however, seemed willing to hear whatever she offered as she sang the cover song she wrote from her debut album, “Rise with the Tide.”

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Departing from her up-tempo lineup, she also sang an audience favorite made popular by Patsy Cline, “Crazy.” That was soulful, but nobody appeared to cry into their soup.

A Patsy Cline fan, former Glendale resident Cecelia Walker said she enjoys “anything country.” She stumbled upon the concert while shopping along Brand.

Several employees from the surrounding buildings took advantage of their lunch breaks to drop by the concert and eat take-out salads or lunches from home.

Glendale resident Victoria Khachatryan said she enjoyed the music and plans to attend more of the concerts.

ormer Glendale resident Cecelia obviously enjoys herself at the PopUp! concert, one in a series of s
ormer Glendale resident Cecelia enjoys herself at the PopUp! concert, one in a series of summer concerts.
(Ruth Sowby)

Ruth Freyre, who works in the 400 Brand Blvd. building, said she also appreciated the concert. It was the first one she attended.

Currently, James said she is working on her next album.

The recent performance was her first time in the local Pop-Up! series.

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The next concert will be held July 17, featuring Buska, an Irish musical duo. The two perform their own arrangements of Irish traditional music.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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