It was a sweet night last Saturday when the Crescenta Valley Arts Council presented its first Soul, Sweets & Stanzas event at the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.
The classical jazz band New West Guitar Quartet played in the background early in the evening as people greeted each other, then made their way over to a bountiful dessert buffet.
At 7:30, guests were directed to take their seats as poet Jack Cooper officially opened the festivities.
Cooper, whose first formal collection of poems, “Across My Silence,” was recently published, read one of his pieces to start the poetry portion of the evening.
Poets from La Cañada to Sun Valley submitted their work to the Council, hoping to be chosen to present their poems to the audience. Many of the poets whose work was featured on Saturday were, by their own admission, amateurs who had never read their work to anyone outside of their own family. Their work, however, was warmly received by the 90-plus crowd.
Organizers of Soul, Sweets & Stanzas, wisely divided the evening into segments that allowed for its audience to have time to digest the diverse content of the poems. Of course, some needed very little time to process. Ormly Gumfudgin’s “Tennis,” which in its entirety was, “Tennis is my nemesis,” was one such example.
At the end of the evening, three awards were given for best in category. Teresa Pfiffner of La Crescenta won in the Crescenta Valley-themed category for This Placed Called La Crescenta. Nicole Moore, a ninth grade student at CV High School, took the prize for the high school division with her work Midnight’s Blue. Tina Dmirdjian of Glendale won in the adult division for What We Will Become.
Soul, Sweets & Stanzas wraps an ambitious first year for the CV Arts Council. Their gala this past spring was their kick off affair and another gala is planned for the spring of 2008.
The solid attendance at Saturday’s event pleased Sharon Hales, co-founder of the Council. Hales said that she was “thrilled” with how many people turned out for the evening.
“It has been an incredible year [for the Council],” said Hales. “Every single event has gone beyond our expectations. We are very enthusiastic with the [community] response.”
Though the calendar for 2008 activities is already pretty much set, Hales said that ideas are always welcomed by the Council.
For more information about the Crescenta Valley Arts Council, including becoming a patron, visit the organization’s website at www.crescentavalleyartscouncil.org.