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On The Town:

The Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra made its debut Saturday night with 20 musicians under the capable baton of artistic director and principal conductor Mikael Avetisyan Mikael Avetisyan at the First Baptist Church of Glendale.

Cellist Ruslan Biryukov was inspired by the “perfect acoustics” of the 104-year-old church while performing at one of the free noon concerts held there the first and third Wednesdays of the month. After talking with the church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Charles Updike, about putting on an evening concert series, the new Glendale Philharmonic was launched.

In an age of increasing instability in the arts world, the plan was daring. But there was no hint of shrinking arts Saturday. An audience of more than 400 music lovers in their Sunday best packed the small lobby of the church and made their way into the newly renovated 700-seat sanctuary.

Lush programs announced the works performed, including those by Bach, Karl Jenkins, Russian composer Andrey Rubstrov, and Armenian composers Arno Babajanian and Edward Mirzoyan.


Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman was joined by Elizabeth Manasserian, president of Glendale Healthy Kids. Violinist Jacqueline Suzuki, a frequent performer at the church’s free noon concert series, was one of the first at will call for tickets. The concert offered tickets from $15 to $50. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the First Baptist Church of Glendale.

More Glendale residents attending included Mary Margaret Smith, Anna Rundle, Sybil Rans, son David Rans and piano teacher Esmiralda Roushanova, toting a dozen roses to present to friend and fellow Russian Biryukov after the concert.

The next concert in the series will be Feb. 6.


Board members of the YWCA of Glendale served tea Sunday to present their 2010 Heart and Excellence Honorees at the Glendale home of Bruce and Valerie Merritt, YWCA board president.

Awardees and Glendale residents Sandra Doughty, Andrea Farestveit, Mary Ann Plumley and Karen Whyte posed for photos and were at their charming best as they welcomed several dozen Y supporters. Honoree Maria Rochart was missing due to family concerns.

The Glendale YWCA will have its annual Legacy Luncheon at the Hilton Glendale on Feb. 25 during which their Heart and Excellence Awardees will be honored.

The American Assn. of University Women of Glendale celebrated its 87th anniversary luncheon at Oakmont Country Club on Saturday. Chapter President Sheila Koster welcomed some 50 members and guests who enjoyed lunch and speaker Jeraldine Saunders.

Saunders, introduced by program Vice President J.C. Byer, spoke about her experiences as the first female cruise director on cruise ships. Her letters home were the basis of the 10-year run of “The Love Boat.” Saunders said that a possible “Love Boat” Broadway musical is in the works.

The organization’s past presidents were also featured and each presented yellow roses. Past presidents included former Glendale Mayor Eileen Givens, Mary Margaret Smith and Mary Pallares.

The founder’s history was given by Charlene Carnachan. Susan Hunt conducted a raucous opportunity auction. Opportunity prizes were awarded in support of the local Educational Fund. Worldwide, $3 million was raised by 315 countries for college fellowships and grants in 2009.


At the end of the luncheon, Saunders agreed to read palms.

The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles Thrift Shop operated in Burbank by the La Providencia Guild, closed over the holidays for cleaning, had its Grand 2010 Re-opening on Jan. 5. The event kicked off several events throughout the month, including Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday Friday when homemade baked goods were offered to customers.

On Tuesday morning, La Crescenta resident Sandy Norris did her part by buying toys and clothes for her grandchildren.

It was standing-room-only at the twice-monthly, free admission Glendale Noon Concert at the First Baptist Church of Glendale on Jan. 6. More than 100 concert-goers packed the chapel, ready to enjoy “Verklaerte Nacht” by composer Arnold Schoenberg. Violinist Jacqueline Suzuki and Tujunga resident, cellist Mary Anne Steinberger, were featured artists.

Music lovers from Montrose included Grace Woo and daughter Fay Woo, 16, who attended the concert to fulfill a class assignment. Suzuki’s parents, Glendale residents Kewa and Shigeto Suzuki, never miss a concert.

The next noon concert will be Jan. 20.