Growing up in the San Fernando Valley area, I had the opportunity to see and hear the Glendale Symphony under the baton of the late, great Carmen Dragon. Later in life, I had an opportunity to work with Maestro Dragon, as well as his son, Darryl and his wife, Toni Tennille, for a number of years.
As a result, Glendale has a special place in my life. Consequently, when the opportunity to continue this orchestral tradition and build a world-class pops orchestra in Glendale came my way, I considered it a career highlight, and a grand opportunity to keep Glendale on the map as an arts industry leader.
Then the news of the state’s elimination of the redevelopment agencies was announced, and I learned that it could negatively impact our beautiful Alex Theatre. The possibility of the Alex, home of our newly created and fast-growing Glendale Pops Orchestra, being sold into non-existence is alarming.
How could this be? Not in Glendale!
The Glendale Pops Orchestra was created to bring quality programming to the Alex Theatre, specifically the people of Glendale. Where else, mere minutes from your home, can you see the likes of Kenny Loggins, Dave Koz and David Benoit, as well as some of L.A.’s best musicians?
Who else in this economy would be brave enough to launch a pops orchestra, a youth chorus and work tirelessly to continue to rent and program the Alex Theatre? Where else but in Glendale would the community step up to the tune of more than $120,000 to help underwrite the orchestra, and where else would artists like Loggins and Benoit work for virtually nothing to ensure that our May 2011 Pops premiere was a success?
Nowhere but Glendale, no one but Glendale Arts and in no venue like the historic Alex Theatre.
The arts are what make a great city a great city. Without the arts, we're just a village.
I encourage all of our residents, supporters and government officials to do all they can to keep the Alex Theatre in our community and recognize its existence in Glendale as a historic and vital element that makes our city rise above the others.
Editor’s note: Catingub is artistic director and conductor of the Glendale Pops Orchestra