LACC sings for its supper

Elegant silver invitations were sent recently inviting guests to the 25th Anniversary of The Los Angeles Children's Chorus (LACC) fund-raising event at the Walt Disney Hall's BP room.

The benefit, themed “Gala Bel Canto” ended up being a lovely gathering of friends dedicated to ensuring the future of this exceptional chorus, which over the past quarter century has performed with virtually every major music organization in the Los Angeles area as well as some known internationally.

Honorees for the evening were three people closely tied to the choir’s success: Alice Columbe, a tireless philanthropist and avid champion of the chorus throughout the years; Esa-Pekka Salonen, the illustrious conductor of The Los Angeles Philharmonic for 17 years; and Anne Tomlinson, who has been the LACC artistic director since 1995.

Opera tenor John Atkins served as master of ceremonies for the music-filled evening. The chorus, under the direction of Tomlinson, was the focal point of the evening’s entertainment, singing three pieces. Most notable was a piece composed by Salonen, “Dona Nobis Pacem,” the U.S. premiere of which the chorus performed just one day before at Disney Hall at a “Tribute to Ernest (Fleischmann).” Coulombe and Tomlinson were also surprised with musical tributes.

Adding a very personal touch to the gala were the evening’s presenters. LACC chair David Scheidemantle, who has helped lead LACC’s growth in recent years, honored Tomlinson, who has shaped the choir’s distinctive sound and artistic excellence. Pasadena Mayor and avid arts supporter Bill Bogaard presented Coulombe, a longtime Pasadena resident, with her award. LA Philharmonic president and CEO Deborah Borda paid tribute to Salonen.

Mary Blodgett and Jennifer Sliskovitch were co-chairs of the beautiful evening, which included a three-course dinner and a live auction filled with tantalizing items.

Most unique were the thank-you gifts to the guests as they left after the very spectacular evening — a Razor scooter, compliments of the Razor company, which is owned by Mary Blodgett and husband Carlton Calvin.

Among some of the local guests attending that evening were Ann and Tony Cannon, who were “Silver” dinner sponsors; Jenny and Cameron Terry (Jenny is a LACC board member); Sarah Terry, Tania Cahill, Elizabeth and Tom Stauffer, Sara and Ed Nowak, Jeff Mailes and Patti Paniccia, who is past president of the LACC Board; Alana Mailes and Lois, Paul and Alex Rosen. Alex was a chorister for several years.

As long as the chorus has been in existence there have been LCF young people among its ranks. Current area choristers include Brandon Cheung, Katie Cooper, AnaMarie Evans, Jameson Evans, Kelsey Haley, Mikah Harrick, Christopher Henry, Audrey Larcher, Anastacia Menemenlis, Julia Nowak, Claire Papak, Dane Reeb, Steve Rodrigues, Abigail Rosen, Ryan Schiller, Connor SooHoo, Sarah Terry, Marquis Williams, Misao McGregor, Lily Mutize, Misao McGregor, Lily Mutize and Catalina Ruiz.

An FYI for LCF area parents: LACC is holding a free open house April 30 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Forreservations, call (626) 793-4231. Families can learn more about the chorus and its acclaimed musical training program during this event.

Auditions, open to boys and girls ages 8 to 12, will be held June 2-4 at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

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