The Valley Line: Three Texas Tenors, and high on Hillsides

Wow! Here we are already into February. Last week, after the rainstorm drenched us Monday, it seemed that we leaped straight to July, as the thermometer hit the 80-plus mark by Thursday. Yes, our weather here in Southern California is a bit odd.

Right now I’m flitting from movie theater to movie theater as I try to see as many of the Academy-Award-nominated films as possible. I try to visit nearby theaters on their senior days because the admission fee is lower — and sometimes the popcorn will be at a bargain price. too. See, there are some benefits to being a bit older.


Our community is still a bit socially snoozy in the quiet post-holiday season, but folks are beginning to wake up and events are starting to happen.

We got a note from community member Martha Burns, who wanted to share a fun story with us. Seems she has become a groupie of the three Texas Tenors.

She and her husband Tom first met this talented threesome when they were part of the entertainment on a cruise ship plying the waters around Alaska. The tenors, JC Fisher, Marcus Collins and John Hagen, were warming up at that time for an audition on the 2009 “America’s Got Talent” TV Show.

Burns said that the three singers reached the show finals that year, finishing fourth in the voting competition.

Martha and Tom hosted the mother of one of the tenors in their home during the TV competition. Of course they forged a nice friendship, and continue to stay in touch. Since their first meeting with the tenors, the Burns have traveled to Las Vegas, Branson, Tucson and Palm Desert to hear the group sing.

Last summer the tenors were in Los Angeles for a photo shoot and finalization of their second CD. They stayed at the LCF home of Phil and Wendy Wyatt. Wendy is Martha’s niece.

Recently Martha encouraged some of her LCF Theta alums to join her and the Wyatts to travel to see the Texas Tenors at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. It was quite a show and everyone loved it. Also attending were Barbara Dawson, Fran Evans, Pat Hutchins, Mary and Duane Batenhorst, Kay and Rook Shank, Ricky Parker, Marilyn Wheeler, Peggy Perry, Merrily Hake and Adrienne Morgan.


Supporters of Hillsides Foster Care Children’s Charity are gearing up to stroll the Road to Emerald City, the charity’s major benefit set for Feb. 25, at the California Club in Los Angeles.

Last Tuesday evening there was a sponsor reception held at Noor in Paseo Colorado. Robert Shahnazarian, owner of Noor, was there to greet all guests. Also saying hello to guests were Joe Costa, Hillsides’ chief executive, and Cathy Brennan, event chair.

The theme, Road to Emerald City, was chosen because in the book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which was first published in 1900, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion represent three universal fears: fear of neglect, fear of unworthiness, and fear that the world is unsafe.

Brennan, the event chair said, “I feel the theme embodies what people do for all the children at Hillsides. We give them courage, heart and hope. With support from major donors, we are able to continue to work with them on their path to success.”

It was a wonderful evening as guests shared news of their own families and their excitement about the upcoming benefit. The food at Noor was delicious and varied, and the wines that guests sipped was donated by Hillsides longtime supporters Don and Sally Clark, Ruth Kokka, Elizabeth Short, M.D. and Michael Friedman, M.D.

Costa told guests that what Hillsides does makes a big difference for all the children, youth and families the organization serves.

“With the great support we receive from you, we are able to provide the extras like outings, special events and opportunities they never would have had the chance to experience,” he said.

Information about the upcoming event and tickets can be obtained by visiting


One more note before I say goodbye for this week: On Jan. 25 I went to see “Clybourne Park” at the Mark Taper Forum. Oh my, words are not minced in this Pulitzer Prize-winning play that is headed for New York’s Great White Way after its L.A. run. Written by Bruce Norris, the play is witty, satirical, provocative and darkly funny as the issue of race is pitted against real estate in two major events, separated by 50 years, that take place in the same north Chicago house.

It certainly not for the faint of heart, but for those who dare, it is memorable. It runs through Feb. 26.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. Email her at

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