Old-school glam brightens June gloom

LA Canada

Last Monday morning the veil of "June gloom" had been lifted and I awoke to bright sunshine, which was a delightful surprise. I'm really not complaining about our foggy days because I do like it to stay as cool as possible before the heat of summer settles in — for what seems like forever.

Vacation time for most valley residents is just around the corner, just as soon as school doors close and philanthropic organizations go dark for the season. I hope that some of you will share your summer adventures because it always makes for interesting reading. We love your vacation photos too, so feel free to share

More than 250 guests, some of them dressed in 1940s retro-style evening attire, were recently in the mood for having an elegant evening of dining and dancing, all in support of Five Acres child and family services agency.

Approximately $145,000 was raised that night as guests participated in silent and live auctions. The master of ceremonies was actor Michael Nouri and the live auction was led by Charles Dreyer.

The evening held the ambience of the Hollywood "glam" of old as guests sipped a signature martini called the "Vesper Martini" — concocted especially for the occasion — and danced to the 17-piece big band sound of the Pasadena Jazz Orchestra. And somewhere between those activities and the passed hors d'oeuvres, there was a fabulous three-course dinner prepared by The Food Matters catering company.

For the past few years the benefit has been held in the One Colorado Plaza and this year there was an exciting change of venue — a particularly historic one being that the festivities were held at the former 134-year-old St. Vibiana's Cathedral which has been decommissioned as a Catholic church.

The cathedral, located at the corner of Main and Second Streets in downtown Los Angeles, was severely damaged in the Northridge earthquake and eventually saved from total destruction by the Los Angeles Conservancy when the Archdiocese decided to build a new cathedral in another location in the city. This Spanish-Baroque cathedral has begun its new life as a community party venue with the name of Vibiana Place.

Built in 1876, St. Vibiana's was the mother church cathedral parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It was the place of worship for early Angelenos.

As guests arrived for the Five Acres benefit they experienced the opulence and grandeur of this historic building with its gilded foyer that leads into the main hall with its Baroque columns, 45-foot high ornate ceilings and centuries old marble-clad walls that were once the altar but is now a stage. The Los Angeles Archdiocese lent this new center six Art Deco chandeliers that once graced the cathedral.

Julie Rosenthal was the event chair and she and her committee that included La Cañadans Kate Kaneko and Pam Scott did a magnificent job making sure that all was perfection.

Judith and Stan Farrar, also La Cañada residents, are Five Acre ambassadors and Judith is on the Five Acres board of directors.

"As always, the children are foremost in our hearts and minds as we celebrate together and raise funds for this worthy cause. Everything tonight will be for their benefit; your donations will help ensure the continued dedication and hard work put forth by the entire organization in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect," Rosenthal told those assembled for the event.

Greeting guests that evening was Bob Ketch, executive director of Five Acres; Tom Haralambos, chairman of the board; and Cathy Clement, a La Cañada resident and philanthropy director for Five Acres.

Guests were especially touched by a heartfelt speech given by Five Acres youth Darryl Brown, who bravely shared with the audience the challenges he overcame with the help of Five Acres. He proudly stated that he now has a 3.6 GPA and "won't be stopped until I have my Ph.D."

It was a star-filled evening and a nostalgic one too as guests danced to the big band music inspired by Glen Miller-beginning with everyone's favorite song, "In the Mood." Adding to the big band sound were guest vocalists Kalil Wilson and Laura Mace.

Some other La Cañada residents in attendance were Carolyn and Whit Adams, Dana Hobart, PaulClement, Phil and Wendy Wyatt, David and Sheryl Vaughn, Bryan Martin, Ricki and Joel Robinson, Carol and Bob Williams, Brooke and Gary Moore, Hal and Maylene Glidewell, Tim Johnson, Jean Cunningham, Bill Goldmann and Suzanne Bravender and Osamu Kaneko.

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