On the Town: Jazz legend Sandoval performs at the Alex; Pirch fundraiser benefits Glendale Healthy Kids, Founders Guild Valentine's Day Celebration

It was standing room only for the Arturo Sandoval Benefit Concert, "Save the Music," at the Alex Theatre. Besides being a 10-time Grammy Award winner, Arturo Sandoval is known internationally as a premier jazz trumpeter and Dizzy Gillespie protégé.

Last Saturday, Glendale jazz fans had a chance to see their idol up close and personal. Sandoval's dry wit and impressive lung capacity also charmed those not familiar with the jazz great.

For the first half of the show, a youth band of more than 20 students, primarily from Glendale schools, performed. For the second half, it was Sandoval and his Big Band all the way. The musician's signature tune, "Bye, Bye Birdie," had the audience singing along.

Sandoval's Glendale-based Arturo Sandoval Institute, headed by chief executive Mercy Velazquez, will donate proceeds from the show to Glendale Arts and the Glendale Educational Foundation to promote music education in schools.

The almost brand new Pirch at the Glendale Galleria had something for everyone — especially for Glendale Healthy Kids, the lucky recipient organization of the night's fundraiser. The organization celebrated its 20th anniversary on Valentine's Day, and dozens of supporters showed their love to the tune of $75 per person or $130 for a couple.

But that was a bargain considering the gifts received. Upon entering Pirch with its upscale, lifestyle home products, guests' photos were snapped, printed and framed for taking home. Bloomingdale's swag bags were filled with goodies including heart-shaped chocolates.

But the chocolates were only the beginning. Pirch underwrote the entire evening of wine, women and song. The women were the hardworking board members guided by Executive Director Sharon Townsend.

Board members working behind the scenes included Glendale resident Paula Devine with her ever lovin' Art Devine. Also present was one of Glendale's finest, Glendale Police Department's Lt. Lola Abrahamian, who came up with the idea that Pirch would be the perfect venue for the celebration.

Guests wandered among the 24,000-square-foot space filled with bath, shower, kitchen appliances and a tempting boutique. Glendale VIPs included Glendale Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Denise Miller, City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian with wife, Courtney, community activist Marilyn Gunnell, Massage Envy owner Helen McDonagh and Glendale Police Department's Carl Povilaitis, who looks fetching in pink. Also enjoying the party were Monica and Jose Sierra. Board member Patrick Campbell brought his 16-year-old son, Riley Campbell, to man the photo booth.

During a short program, Townsend presented to Jason Roach, president of Glendale Healthy Kids' board, a certificate of appreciation from the office of Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake). Some of the doctors who provide free services for Glendale Healthy Kids' little clients were introduced.

Needing little recognition was Dr. Stacey Gin and husband, Dr. Jeffrey Nishi, who provide free eye care and glasses through their Glendale Optometric Center.

All of the evening's profits will go to Glendale Healthy Kids.

Another Valentine celebration was presented by the Founders Guild at Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Last Wednesday, about 250 members and guests filled Glendale's Impressions Banquet Hall.

Healthcare Foundation President Irene Bourdon welcomed her audience and introduced Traci Jones Martinez, manager of the Play to Learn Center, which offers a wide range of services for children with special needs and is the beneficiary of the Founder's Guild fundraising activities.

Some 350 families benefit from 400 hours of therapy offered weekly.

The jewels of the afternoon, however, were seven of the 13 members of "The Women of Jewelia." Nancy Huff, one of the women of Jewelia, described the women's experiment in sharing that began in 2004.

It started with Tom Van Gundy, who sold 12 women a diamond necklace valued at $30,000. Their price was considerably under wholesale. The catch was that Gundy's wife, Priscilla, had to be part of the 12, making her the 13th member of Jewelia.

The women passed around the necklace, each woman wearing it for one month. Out of the necklace sharing came lessons learned, fundraisers aided, speaking engagements met and an agent who represented their book, "The Necklace," which was just signed as a movie deal with Fox Searchlight based on the necklace that transformed the women's lives.

For the rest of the afternoon, all came to have a close-up look at the diamond necklace, temporarily worn by Founders Guild Co-President Liz Mirzaian.


RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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