Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy
Life and Arts

The Valley Line: South American cultures celebrated in Los Altos fundraiser for Hathaway-Sycamores

Los Altos Auxiliary of Hathaway-Sycamores held its 11th annual wine tasting at the La Cañada Thursday Club on the last Sunday in April. The day began a little gloomy, but the sun came out and the club’s patio, with its bubbling tile fountain, was a beautiful place to be. Gorgeous floral arrangements for sale were on display around the party. The food was plentiful and represented many cultures of South America.

Chairing this fun event were Kelly Springer and Hilary Gregg. Serving the committee helping out in a thousand ways were Susan Artime, Laura Campobasso, Carol DeFond, Lisa Dick, Susan Dodge, Jennifer Herzer, Darlene Larin, Michele Listo, Diane Moldafsky, Gayle Penrod, Maureen Railsback, Laurie Rodli, Andi Sica, Mary Van Amring, Linda Yaussi and Joy Young.

Tasting the wines from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay was like being on a sipping adventure hopping from country to country to determine the best of the best.

Not only was the wine tasting fun but so was tasting the aperitivos prepared by Porta Via and Broadleaf USA meats.


Gayle Penrod and Carol DeFond, co-presidents of Los Altos Auxiliary, welcomed guests and introduced Debbie Manners, president and chief executive of Hathaway-Sycamores.

Joe Ford, senior vice president of Hathaway-Sycamores who currently oversees numerous programs including the Transitional Shelter Care, Residential and Transitional Independent Living programs, introduced the speaker, Noah Beebe, who has been a resident at the residential program. He just turned 18 and was accepted in a transitional living program.

It was a wonderful to hear Noah speak and to enjoy the wines and foods served in support of this worthy organization.



Next up for me that same day was attending a memorable jazz concert co-produced by Performances à la Carte and Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church near the Rose Bowl in Pasadena called Jazz ’n Paz.

This was the last concert in a series of three this spring. Featured in this concert were Performances à la Carte founder and vocalist Carla Jamie Perez and Nick Mancini and his collective of talented jazz musicians.

Mancini, a master on the vibraphone, was joined by Danny Janklow, saxophone; John Tegmeyer, clarinet; Michael Ragonese, piano; Cooper Appelt, bass; Adam Ratner, guitar; James Yoshizawa, drums; and percussionists Scott Breadman and Pete Korpeta. Mancini is also a composer and arranger.

This series, bargain priced at just $60 for the three-concert season, is a treat for jazz lovers. The intimate performance of this group took me back to the ’50s when I used to go to after-hour jazz jams at the famed Lighthouse jazz club in Hermosa Beach where the jazz greats such as Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Miles Davis hung out.

I particularly was transported back to that time period when Perez sang “’Round Midnight,” a favorite of mine since I first heard it sung by June Christy.

Not only is Perez a great jazz stylist, but I also learned she was classically trained in opera repertoire and has sung in all the great opera houses of the world. She is quite a woman!

Mancini and his collective spread the joy of jazz with not only perfected accompaniment with Perez, but well-crafted original pieces that also spotlighted each musician’s own interpretations.

Next up for Jazz ’n Paz is a fall fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 21 from 1 to 5 p.m. The event is called Rhythm & Brews and will feature craft beer, barbecue and jazz. Reservations are by email only, so if you’d like go, learn more at No tickets will be sold at the door.



Mary Anne De Briyn, PR person for Flintridge Guild of Children’s Hospital wrote to me: “Babies in strollers kicked their feet; dogs strained against leashes; serious runners stretched. The crowd hushed during the national anthem. Then a loudspeaker blared, ‘Go!’ and they were off.”

She was talking about last Sunday’s Great Chocolate Race. She said more than 750 people and almost 50 dogs participated in the event where those participating made pit stops where they were given chocolate treats and water at the 2.5k or 5k run/walk. This was the fourth annual Great Chocolate Race and the most successful one to date.

Following the run/walk, festivities were held at La Cañada Memorial Park. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, a mariachi band was playing. Folks in the crowd were loving the music as well as the breakfast that was served. They also had an opportunity to bid on silent auction items which Teens for the Advancement of Children’s Hospital (TACH) provided.

Activities for kids included face painting and a chance to jump in the bounce house. There were more activities for the young set also created by TACH, who hosted TACH Bash, a spirited annual festival.

According to De Briyn, guild members are extremely grateful to so many people for sponsoring and participating in this event which benefits Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.


So, since the last time we chatted in this corner, I’m officially one year older. I had a birthday celebration with my two sisters — Elaine, my twin and “Nubby,” our sibling who is 18 months younger. We had a wonderful time going through the old picture boxes and telling stories. We laughed and laughed at the clothes we thought were so in fashionable at the time and our ever-changing hairstyles. We also recreated some of the dishes our mother used to make for us — true comfort food.


We so enjoyed our time together, a rare occasion because everyone is so busy. Elaine lives in Santa Barbara. She took the train down and Nubby, who lives in San Clemente, drove up. I had a three-day extravaganza with my two wonderful sisters. Such precious times for us!

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

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.