from the desk of the publisher

Weekend of Musical Interludes

I am fortunate that I enjoy many different types of music. Listening to great music in an awesome venue with good friends…well, it just doesn’t get better than that. This past weekend I had the chance to experience that not just once but twice.

Saturday night, Steve & Karen Pierce and Mark & Cheryl Davis joined Steve & I at Santa Anita Racetrack, the new digs for the California Philharmonic. From the moment we stepped up to get our tickets at Will Call, I knew we were in for a treat.

First off, the drive from La Crescenta to the track on a Saturday night was fast – virtually no traffic. Parking was abundant, to say the least.

At Will Call, tickets were ready with no fuss and a shuttle was waiting to take us to the seating area – a perk I especially appreciated since I am now wearing a “boot” to isolate my ankle. The shuttle parked behind the stage area, a half dome similar to the Hollywood Bowl, and student volunteers with Cal Phil showed us to our seats – or should I say our table.

The infield of Santa Anita – a lush, grassy area – was dotted with tables of 10 complete with linens. We had packed a picnic dinner that included brie, bread and champagne and once settled, we shared a delicious dinner as the sun set.

At 8 o’clock, conductor Victor Vener took the stage guiding the orchestra through classical masterpieces including “Symphonie Fantastique” by Berlioz and “Don Juan” by Strauss. The Maestro also took time to explain to the audience what we were going to be hearing, giving some background on the composition of the pieces.

At one point, the direction of the evening changed with the introduction of the popular ’60s group The Association (“Cherish,” “Along Comes Mary”) who joined the Cal Phil on stage. What a great combination – and a great opportunity to sing along with a great band.

The next day was another musical journey, but one down a totally different path.

On Sunday, Steve and I headed to Starlight Bowl in Burbank with another couple to hear The Stonz and the Fab Four, cover bands for the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.

Unlike Santa Anita Racetrack, getting up to the Starlight Bowl was a challenge. Nestled in the hills of Burbank, there’s only one way in and a line snaked all the way up hill. It took us over 40 minutes to get to the parking lot. However, we did leave La Crescenta late; if we had left earlier, I’m sure the drive up would not nearly have been so long.

Thankfully, like Santa Anita, a shuttle was available that took us to the entrance. From there, it took us mere minutes to find our excellent seats.

We had brought a picnic dinner with us again, and while we were enjoying that and looking around, whom did we see but Rick Dinger a couple of rows ahead of us! Behind us were my best friend, her sister and husband.

Because we were late, we missed The Stonz, but I understand they were good. However, the main attraction – the Fab Four – was remarkable! Vocals, outfits, accents were spot on and it was obvious that the band was having as much fun reliving the glory days of The Beatles as the audience was.

At the end of the night, my vocal chords were strained with the singing I did (oh, this wasn’t supposed to be a sing along?). I’m already checking the calendar to see upcoming concerts.

Both the concert series – the Cal Phil at Santa Anita and the Starlight Bowl – are summer series. Reasonably priced, performances will be over before you know it. You can bring your own dinner or purchase there.

I urge you to check out the schedules and plan to attend one or more event – you won’t regret it.

Perhaps I’ll see you there!