Stormy weather doesn’t dampen holiday celebration

Photo by Danette ERICKSON From left Vicky Guagliardo, Dawna Berger and Linda Magarian represent what women wore in the past.

By Brandon HENSLEY

The weather outside was frightful – or, at least rainy. But the Christmas party inside the La Crescenta Woman’s Club turned out to be delightful, as over 80 community members joined in celebrating the kickoff to the club’s 100-year anniversary Monday night.

The event was hosted by the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley, as society members turned their annual Christmas party into an opportunity to honor the Woman’s Club, which turns 100 in February. The party was held inside club headquarters, the same place the club started meeting in back in 1924.

The place was decorated with wreaths and lights. Christmas cookies and various holiday treats lined the desert table, making for a festive atmosphere. Near the entrance, the Boy Scouts of Troop 317 sold mistletoe.

“Who would have known that 99 years ago a small group of concerned ladies who were leaders in the community would start traditions that are still in effect today?” said co-president Carol Huntwork to a full audience in the ballroom area.

People were asked to bring things that were 100 years old, and on a table near the Christmas tree several nostalgic pieces were indeed on display.

There was an old coin dispenser, a collection of drawings of women and poems from at least 1908, and someone brought the cover from 1925 of an old Valley newspaper, the Crescenta Valley Ledger.

Several women also dressed up in clothing from different eras to celebrate the evening.

After the dinner, the CVHS Alumni Choir performed, led by the school’s original teacher in the 1960s, Shirley Nute. The choir walked on staged and sang many holiday classics including Jingle Bells in which they invited the audience to jingle their car keys when the chorus started.

Also entertaining the crowd was Sylvia Woods, who was named one of the 45 most influential harpists of the 20th century. Woods played a medley of Christmas songs on her harp, including “We Three Kings.”

Choir member Hal Laws, who danced for Dick Clark’s American Bandstand form 1976 to 1986, said they had a good time.

“Yeah, I think if they want us again I guess we could come back,” he said.

The choir, which originally formed in 1977, had been practicing every Wednesday at Glendale First Methodist Church since September for this occasion.

“It’s an honor to have the Crescenta Valley Historical Society kickoff our hundredth year and it’s nice to be recognized,” said Huntwork afterward. “We’re just a group of women and
we’ll continue to do our service
to the community. The music
was wonderful [and] the participation by the community was fantastic.”

Historical Society President Mike Lawler could not be in attendance, so Vice President Stuart Byles did the hosting duties. He said the Woman’s Club deserved to be recognized because of how it helped the Historical Society when it started in 2003.

“They were instrumental in helping us get started,” Byles said. “Our first meetings were always held here. They waived some of their fees so we could get on our feet, so we’ve been … involved with this group for a long time and many of their members are also members of the Historical Society.”

Also recognized during dinner was 103-year-old Gertrude Ness, who not only is older than the Woman’s Club, but is an avid Lakers fan and can still drive her car to her daughter’s house.

“I think the program was very good tonight,” Ness said. “Quite professional. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food. The food was good.

“People think when you’re as old as I am you’re supposed to be decrepit,” she continued.

On this night, Ness turned out to be a study in perseverance, just like the Woman’s Club as a whole.

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