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The Valley Line: MUSE/IQUE wraps up summer concert season; Los Angeles Childrens Chorus features local youth

The Valley Line: MUSE/IQUE wraps up summer concert season; Los Angeles Childrens Chorus features local youth
Muse/ique board member from the Foothills, Trish Bennett (right) chats with Rene Chila at the gala fundraising party for Muse/ique. (Photo by Ben Gibbs)

Oh my gosh, I'm absolutely melting in this extreme hot weather. But what has been worse is the stickiness that has accompanied the heat.

I must admit that I am a wimp. When the weather forecasters said that we could be experiencing triple-digit heat last weekend, I quickly packed up my dog Lola and headed for Santa Barbara to visit my sister Elaine and her husband Larry. My brother-in-law, who actually refers to Lola as, "That darn dog!" truly loves to have her visit even though he doesn't want to admit it. Of course Lola knows it and goes to sit on his lap, like it or not!

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Of course Santa Barbara is a divine city by the sea. I so enjoy our walks along the breakwater at the harbor. Lola likes it too because she is such a tail wagger who loves greeting every dog and person that saunters by her — she is so awesomely friendly.

We take along our binoculars to search for the harbor's resident osprey, who roosts on different boat masts. He likes to take the fish he just caught to a mast's tippy-top to dine. He doesn't have a favorite boat, so it makes for an exciting game of hide-and-seek.

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I had a lovely time escaping the triple-digit disaster in La Cañada Flintridge. The cool respite I experienced helped me in coping with the heat wave at home, which extended into this week.

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On Sept. 7, MUSE/IQUE ended its summer concert season held at Caltech Beckman mall. They will be beginning their autumn/winter "Uncorked" music series soon.

For some 200 guests there was a special gala held at Caltech's Gates Library and outdoor Iris Garden. It was very lovely, of course, and a meaningful way to honor MUSE/IQUE donors and loyal supporters. Area residents Trish Bennett and Warren and Jeanette Martin were among the gala-goers. Trish is a MUSE/IQUE board member as are Tom Leddy and Dhiya El-Saden. LCF residents among the MUSE/IQUE board advisers are Hope Schneider and Tena Clark. It was a fund-raising event and more than $200,000 was raised. Terri and Jerry Kohl, MUSE/IQUE board members, were the gracious hosts for the evening.

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A mime, a ballet dancer and an accordion player, all creating their own kind of art, ushered gala guests into the library.

After cocktails were served, dinner was catered and served by Peggy Dark's Kitchen for Exploring Food. Gale's Restaurant in Pasadena, owned by Gale Kohl, provided the wines and Gregg Smith offered up Champagne. Smith, who owns Pasadena restaurants Smitty's, Arroyo Chop House, Parkway Grill, etc., owned Reflections here in LCF several years ago.

Some special VIPs taking part in the gala dinner and concert were Pete Wilson, the 36th governor of California; Gaston Caperton, the 31st governor of West Virginia and a very special friend of Rachael Worby, the music director and conductor of MUSE/IQUE; and John Van de Kamp, former Los Angeles County District Attorney and the 28th Attorney General of California.

A rousing version of our nation's anthem, conducted by Worby, opened the concert attended by nearly 2,000 people who were enjoying a nearly full moon and a cooling breeze that was making the evening so delightful.

The star of the concert was virtuoso dancer Savion Glover. In the preproduction making of the movie, "Happy Feet," Glover donned a motion-capture bodysuit where his dance moves were transformed into the animation that became "Mumble," the tap-dancing penguin hero of the films.

At this last MUSE/IQUE concert of the summer season, the crowd went wild when Glover tapped to the music of the Baroque violin master Antonio Vivaldi. Oh my, who ever thought that Vivaldi's "Four Season's" composition would be tap dance music.

Conductor Worby said that she likes to present unexpected arts together in what she calls a "mash-up." Well Glover and Vivaldi were an astounding such combo. I've never seen anything like it — it was amazing. I have to agree with Miller, Glover is an incredible dancer with an indelible style.

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While I am talking about the arts I want to tell you about the fabulous Los Angeles Childrens Chorus (LACC) that has many LCF kids among its ranks.

At the end of August these lucky and talented kids performed two nights at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra with John Williams conducting. This maestro of the movie compositions expertly conducted the chorus when they sang the poignant song, "Dry Your Tears, Afrika," from the film, "Amistad."

Local kids that are part of the chorus include Amelie and Katherine Besch, Erin Buchanan, Kyle Chang, Nitya Chala, Selina Cho, Anika Erickson, Sophi Gilbert, Brendan Haley, Shalini Haupt, Clara Heriod, Christopher Henry, Sara Hightower, Clara Kskuk, Ryan Lee, Eleni Menemelis, Julia Noak, Colette Park, Shelby Perez, Alison Rayer, Diane Reeb, Seve Rodriguez, Soren Rysdal, Amelia Seropian, Connor SooHoo, Sarah Terry, Arsen Tujian and Anna Yoo.

On Friday, Oct. 10, LACC, in partnership with Pasadena's Kidspace Children's Museum, the young singers will be participating in ArtNight Pasadena, a free community-wide evening of art, music and entertainment presented by some of the city's most prominent arts and cultural institutions and held in venues throughout Pasadena from 6 to 10 p.m.

LACC presents a free performance at the museum, as well as special demonstrations of its First Experiences in Singing classes that introduce children ages 6 and 7 to the wonders and excitement of singing and music. The chorus has many more concert venues on the horizon so stay tuned in here.

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JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at jnvalleysun@yahoo.com with news of your special event.

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