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Life and Arts

The Valley Line: Area teems with social events as March draws to a close

It only happens every other year, and when it does it’s a huge splash! I’m talking about POSH (“Preserving Our Scholastic Heritage”), a major fundraising gala for St. Francis High School.

This year more than 300 guests clad in formal wear arrived at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena to experience a “Starry-Knight,” a play on the name of the school mascot, the Golden Knight.

A special part of the POSH evening came when an ensemble of cast members from the upcoming school production of “Fiddler on the Roof” sang “To Life” for the guests.

Co-chairs for this magical evening were Christa Durfee and Alicia Lund. The gala featured a wonderful silent auction filled with items guests didn’t want to pass up, a delicious dinner, an energetic paddle raise for science classroom technology, engaging entertainment and a successful live auction.

Although exact numbers were not available, I’m told this year’s event was a tremendous success, exceeding fundraising goals and strengthening relationships.


Two nights before the St. Francis fundraiser, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce mixer was hosted by Compass Realty on Foothill Boulevard. I was greeted by Scott Brown, manager of the company. Spring had sprung inside their office as bright yellow daffodils were in vases on desks, serving table and the bar — it was a very happy welcome.

More than 75 people came to meet and greet and chat about who was doing what and various plans for the upcoming spring break from schools. Chamber officials in the mix included its president and chief executive, Pat Anderson with office assistants Nancy Rappard and Tina Daly. Steven Hronek, chairman of the board of directors, took on his usual role as master of ceremonies. Our Miss LCF court were on hand to sell raffle tickets for all sorts of prizes donated by chamber members.

Jane Kane, a Realtor affiliated with Compass, was celebrating her birthday. Yes, of course everyone had to sing the birthday song to her. She tried to be a shrinking violet, but it didn’t happen. I don’t know how she felt about it, but I thought the song as performed by those of us assembled was delightfully off key.

The crowd gravitated toward one of the front conference rooms where the Spot Gourmet Catering had set up a delicious spread such as chicken and beef sandwiches, artichoke dip, fresh vegetables and more. It was a very congenial gathering.


On Friday night, Ellen and Anthony Portantino opened up their lovely home to host the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. (LCFTRA) Happy Hour, which is a great excuse to raise a little cash for the annual float and engage in neighborly talk at the same time. It was a cool evening, so the hosts set up portable heaters to help their guests feel cozier.

The food tables were laden with all sorts of hors d’euvres brought by attendees. There were plenty of beverages to go around also.

Among those seen mixing it up were Sue Beatty, Bill Pounders, John Burrows, Clyde and Bobbie Hemphill, Peggy Hotaling, Harriet Hammonds, Nancy and John Wolhaupter, Pat Hutchins, Carolyn Adams, Ann Neilson, Sarah Marshall, Alison and Mike Davitt, Susan Grabarczyk, Chuck Terhune, Barbie Eland, Mike O’Connor, Chuck and Harriet Hughes, Nancy and Mike Leininger, Jenny and Frank Pass, Jeb Long, Terry Beyer, Nana and Joel Smith, Gale and Tom Caswell, Greg Brown, Brenda and Len Peroni, Steve and Elysa Del Guercio, Brett Pounders, Art Johnson, Alice Perez, Trish McRae, Mary Gant, Larry Keyes, Lynn and Don Voss , Fraser and Dee Draper, Helen Gilstrap, Pat Anderson and Becky Gelhaar.

Jane Napier Neely covers the local social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.