The Valley Line: Backyard burgers set scene for Happy Hour

Come on, enough already! This humid weather makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a Mississippi summer — and that isn’t my cup of tea, even if you put sugar in it.

I’m already autumn dreaming and yearning for cool, crisp weather. Guess I’ll just have to keep on fantasizing, because Fritz says that we are in for more of the hot-and-humid.

It was during one of those hot and humid nights when supporters of the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. gathered for the all-volunteer group’s annual August Hamburger Night Happy Hour. Of course the topic of the evening was about the heat; people were wondering where SoCal’s usual cool evening breezes were. How could Mother Nature be so fickle?

Once again, Mayfield and Sarah Marshall were hosts, welcoming guests to their Vineta Avenue home and its expansive back yard.

Acting as official greeters that night were Joey Mitchell and Eileen St. Amand.

“Floaters” and their friends enjoyed homemade appetizers followed by big, juicy hamburgers cooked on the grill.

The Marshall’s spacious backyard looked so festive with bright red tablecloths. The beverage bar was open for business with an offering of cool drinks and great conversational opportunities with the bartenders.

Of course the reason for the gathering, besides good companionship, was to provide financial support for the construction of the new float, “Dog Gone,” for the 2014 Rose Parade.

It was a happy group of people that included Tom Seifert, Jim Neilson, Herman Simpson, Doris Patterson, Peggy Barber, Sharon Denner, Ron and Jean Zink, Elizabeth Calciano Georgeon, Dorothy and Bob Lyans, Cynthia and John Benton, Penelope and Al Anton, Pat Foltyn, Elaine Butterfield, Lynn Jarvis, Brett Pounders and James Simpson.

More enjoying the burger night were LCF TRA President Ann Neilson, Eileen St. Amand, Larry Andreason, Sherrill Carbonetti, Julia Cameron and David Granish, Vera and Garth Gragg, Dick Grippi, David and Helen Gilstrap, Clyde and Bobbie Hemphill, Adrine Issavy and David Hildreth, Art Johnson, Diane and John Landrum, Joey Mitchell, Eremita Miranda, Bob Neilson, Tim Rahtz, Chuck Terhune, Nancy Wyman, Dianne Philibosian, Duane and Mary Battehorst, Bob and Joyce Covey, Barbie Eland, Jim Geoghegan, Chuck and Becky Gelhaar, Ann Hills, Chuck and Harriett Hughes, Lee Johnson, Ross Selvidge, Stuart and Gloria Lee, Lorie MacKenzie, Bill Pounders, Jenny Pass, Teresa Simpson, Joyce Ruygrok, Lynne and Joe Thompson, Pam Wiedenbeck, Sharlyn French, Betty Jones, David Moffett, Anthony Portantino and Bob Wallace.

The next Happy Hour will be at the home of Diane and Dick Crowther, 870 Green Lane, at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. All over 18 are invited to attend and no reservations are required. Just bring an appetizer to share and enjoy the fun in support of LCF TRA’s 2014 float.


Muse/ique’s summer season came to a close with a rousing concert at the tree-lined Beckman Mall on the Caltech campus.

By the end of the concert, dubbed “Lose Your Senses with Ellis Hall,” audience members were on their feet, dancing to Hall's and the orchestra's rendition of “I Heard It through the Grapevine.”

It was a fitting conclusion for a show that was billed to “unchain the soul sounds of great musicians like Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and even Bach, Beethoven and Vivaldi.”

Guests began arriving as the sun was setting to enjoy picnics with every imaginable kind of fare at tables that filled the mall.

The audience stood as the concert began with artistic director Rachael Worby leading the orchestra in “America the Beautiful” sung by Hall, who also performed such Ray Charles hits as “Hit the Road, Jack” — complete with audience sing-a-long, as well as Stevie Wonder’s “My Cheri Amour.”

The high-energy Selah Gospel Choir did an a cappella version of the traditional spiritual “Swing Down Chariot” and, for a change of pace, Muse/ique’s concertmaster, Roger Wilkie, mesmerized the crowd with a section from Beethoven's powerful Violin Concerto.

Another concert highlight came with an excerpt from Maurice Sendak's classic children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” read by Grace Olinski, daughter of Muse/ique board member John Olinski and his wife, Laura. The reading was set to Carter Burwell’s score for Spike Jonze’ film adaptation of the fanciful and much-loved work.

Caltech scientist Sean Carroll amused everyone with his take on the science of soul. Yep, you can bet the campus was really rocking to the music — it was so much fun.

Next on the musical menu for Muse/ique will begin with “Rail-bound Sound!” This musical adventure on the rails, from Pasadena to Union Station in Los Angeles, will take place beginning at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.

This unique gala, which is limited to 100 guests, will combine movement, music, spirits and supper as guests enjoy cocktails, music and designer nibbles on a Pasadena train platform before being whisked off in a private metro car on a rail adventure to Union Station, where supper and a pop-up music performance will be served at the historic Fred Harvey House. Sounds like this will be the most unique party all year long.

Proceeds benefit Kids/ique, Muse/ique’s community outreach program that serves boys and girls, ages 12 to 18, in the San Gabriel Valley’s network of residential foster care facilities by presenting interactive experiences with professional musicians.

The orchestra will also host a free family hip-hop dance party launching the season on Oct. 11. There will be five concerts in the adventurous “Uncorked” series before the summer season concert returns.


JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.

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