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Life and Arts

Philharmonic blows out the candles

The tail end of the holiday season marks the second birthday of the Glendale Philharmonic. On Sunday (Jan. 8) the orchestra celebrated that milestone and this evening’s opening of their third season by performing at the First Baptist Church of Glendale. Tickets ranged from $15 to $100.

Philharmonic concert-goers were more than willing to open their wallets for Haydn and Prokofiev. Glendale residents included Lois Lovi, Don McPoland and Bryan Rusenko. Those from the neighboring communities included Eagle Rock residents Andrew Hoagland and daughter Lily Hoagland, 5.

Philharmonic stars were Maestro Mikael Avetisyan, cellist Ruslan Biryukov, concert master Limor Toren-Immerman and narrator-comedian, Glendale resident Emo Philips. Avetisyan conducted a program including Haydn’s cello concerto in D major and an audience favorite, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.

Assoc. President Diane Acosta, who considers the First Baptist Church the “Philharmonic’s home,” welcomed the audience of more than 400 concert fans.


“The sound literally rains down on the people in the pews,” said First Baptist Church Pastor Charles Updike describing the acoustics in the 85-year-old sanctuary.

A visit to an author signing at a bookstore carries special significance when the writer is from the city next door, the writer is award-winning and, especially, if the writer is your daughter who has dedicated her latest book to you and mom. Those elements were in place for Glendale residents Jerry Frazee and Nancy Frazee. Daughter Marla Frazee’s books have placed three times on the New York Times Best Seller list. She is also a two-time Caldecott Honor medalist for her book illustrations.

On Saturday (Jan. 7) Pasadena’s Vroman’s bookstore was the host for Marla’s book signing. She was also joined by Sara Pennypacker, author of Clementine and the Family Meeting, a children’s book in chapter form for which Marla provided the illustrations. Also presented at the book signing was The Boss Baby, a book Marla illustrated as well as authored for children from four to eight years old.


A member of the Assistance League of Glendale, mother Nancy Frazee founded the league’s philanthropy, Author and Illustrators Days, in which book experts visit Glendale elementary school classrooms. Daughter Marla was the first illustrator to visit one of the schools. She was so well-received by the students that Nancy decided to expand the program using more authors and illustrators to make classroom visits. Through the league’s philanthropy, books are also donated to Glendale schools.

An audience of several dozen children’s book fans were present to listen to the authors’ discussions about their books. Plenty of time was also devoted to audience questions. Following the presentation, the authors took time to sign their books. Marla even drew cartoons and personalized her signature for recipients.

Marla Frazee is a Pasadena resident who lives with her husband and three sons. She was trained at the Art Center College of Design, also in Pasadena.

Proud parents, Jerry and Nancy, appeared to leave the bookstore bursting their buttons.

For budding writers of any stripe, age or gender, there’s a “new” organization in town. It’s new in that it has evolved direction from its beginnings in an empty office at NBC in Burbank on Alameda — hence the name the Alameda Writers Group. Helmed by producer-director Marc Cushman, there is a new energy to the group which has expanded its membership under the guidance of Cushman.

At the beginning of each monthly meeting, members share success stories such as who bought their latest screenplay. On Saturday (Jan. 7) at the Glendale Central Library, dozens of writers packed the auditorium for the group’s annual story pitch to Chris Lockhart, literary agent at WME (formerly known as William Morris Endeavor). Wannabe and professional writers lined up at the microphone to pitch their stories in one minute. Lockhart was liberal with his constructive criticism.

Each writer left the mic determined to spruce up their screenplay to better fit the tough criteria of Hollywood.


Ruth Sowby may be reached at