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Life and Arts

The Valley Line: L.A. Chamber Orchestra gala fetes its longtime concertmaster

Guests enjoyed a lovely, music-filled evening at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown earlier this month when the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra held a gala that raised $550,000 in support of its artistic, education and community engagement programs.

The hotel itself is an experience. It’s the tallest building on the West Coast at 73 stories high and 1,100 feet above sea level. The views from its rooftop patio are breathtaking.

The May 2 gala co-chaired by Carol Henry and Anne-Marie Spatru began with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. The red carpet was out for music director designate Jaime Martin, who will launch his tenure next fall. The gala also honored Margaret Batjer for her 20 years as LACO concertmaster.

After a concert that put the spotlight on mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzman, Batjer and other gifted musicians, guests were seated in the grand ballroom where a sumptuous three-course dinner was served. It started with a salad of greens, candied pancetta and goat cheese croutons. The entrée was a perfectly prepared short rib and butter poached lobster served with truffle risotto, sweet onion and English pea nage accompanied by candied baby carrots. Dessert included gianduja chocolate cremeaux, raspberry air cake, zephyr de rose, mascarpone cream, strawberry and hibiscus flower jus.


There was a silent auction with highlights including a private violin master class, five nights at the Aspen Alps Resort, a private dinner party for 25 people at the residence of Carol and Warner Henry, including a performance featuring LACO’s conductor laureate Jeffrey Kahane and concertmaster Margaret Batjer, and an invitation for two to attend the premiere of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2.”


Two weeks ago the children of Dr. Carl Ermshar and his wife Arlene held a retirement party for him at the Pasadena home of daughter Annette and her husband Dan Monahan. The Ermshars lived for many years in La Cañada but now call Napa home.

The “kids” — Annette, Kendall and Cynthia — were thrilled to honor their father’s 59 years in medicine. There were over 100 guests including his medical school classmates, fellow residency mates, medical staff physician peers, colleagues, lifelong friends and family. He practiced as an ENT-otolaryngologist in the La Cañada, La Crescenta and Glendale area.



On May 10 the Flintridge Prep Parents Assn. held a gathering at the home of Sandra Gonzalez. The late afternoon event was an opportunity to reflect and express gratitude for many hours of service over the last year and to look ahead to another great year. At this event the association chairs for the upcoming school year were announced. This is also a time that parents can see available volunteer opportunities and find a way to get involved.

The group also held a rose ceremony that recognizes that children don’t go through the college admissions process alone — they do it with the support of their parents. This is a milestone for moms as well as for their graduating students.

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

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