Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Chorale Bel Canto Needs YOU!


Today is the last day to make a tax deductible donation to Chorale Bel Canto in 2014!

Why do we give?
Jane and I have supported the Chorale since its inception--we love classical choral music, we have sung major choral works all over the world, and we are fortunate to personally support, and to direct funds from a local Foundation to support, this worthy, quality musical organization.
Stuart and Jane Gothold, donors and singers

The end of the year is a great time to give to Chorale Bel Canto!

This is the season of celebration and giving. 
And, it's prime time for that last tax-deductible gift of the year!

What has music meant to your holiday? 
Have you been enriched by music in a concert hall or a church or a school, 
or heard carolers on a street corner? 

Please give today, and keep the music alive?

Why do I sing?
I love singing with Chorale Bel Canto because it has a wonderful array of professional-quality singers, ans singers who love singing just for the joy of it. I learn so much from Dr. Gothold, and from other singers in the group. I've grown so much because of this group, and I'm thankful to be here! Johnnie Goolsby, singer.

Why do I sing?
I've been a member of Chorale Bel Canto since the beginning--33 years now! I've been singing since junior high school in El Monte. Singing is just something I've done all my life. it transports me to a different place. I can be somewhere on a mountain top for a couple of hours in each rehearsal or performance. Eric Nelson, singer.

Donate today at ChoraleBelCanto.org


Monday, December 29, 2014

Donating to Chorale Bel Canto Matters!

Have you wondered if we can get along without you?
We can’t.


Just 3 more days to make your fully tax-deductible donation
To Chorale Bel Canto in 2014

The truth is, ticket sales alone bring in just 25% of our annual budget. We work diligently to raise money from government and foundation grants and business donors, but programming and performing are expensive. Our dedicated singers volunteer their time and talents, but we pay for performances and rehearsal space, instrumentalists like the masterful brass ensemble at our Christmas concert, printing programs and postcards, and the list goes on…

We need your help to keep choral music alive and vibrant. Won’t you partner with us, and together we’ll make it happen?

Invest in Chorale Bel Canto and let music feed your soul!
  

Why do I sing?
I just love singing with Chorale Bel Canto. It’s a wonderful feeling being in this really good choir. In my other two choirs, I usually have to help out my section, but in Chorale, it’s me that’s being helped, so it’s different. It’s great!
Terrance Clark, singer and Rio Hondo student


 Why do I donate?
It gives me great satisfaction to be a part of such a resplendent group of singers. I donate to ensure the chorale music will flourish and continue to enrich our community.
Claire Rademacher, donor and singer

 Donate now at choralebelcanto.org

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chorale Bel Canto needs you!



Just 5 days left for your tax-deductible donation to Chorale Bel Canto in 2014.

 Chorale Bel Canto wants to thank all of the donors whose support has sustained us for 33 years, and to invite new donors to become part of the CBC family and mission.

Just this year, your support has helped us to move to our new rehearsal home, to purchase our very own grand piano, to create a “rainy day” fund, to open our first long-term investment account, and to sustain our partnership with Rio Hondo College and its young singers. This is in addition to programming four marvelous concerts, from Gilbert and Sullivan, to John Rutter, to the Bach family, to opera choruses and a 20th century madrigal fable with ballet dancers! And, next season will be just as interesting and varied.

So, why give? Because it matters. You matter. Music matters.

 Why do I give?
Chorale Bel Canto, under Stephen Gothold’s direction, has contributed an invaluable gift to the community. During my many years of living in Whittier and teaching at Whittier College, it was my great pleasure to attend the variety of programs and even to participate sometimes as substitute accompanist. Thank you, Steve, for your dedication to providing the performers and the community such a wonderful treasure.
        Frances (Frankie) Nobert, Donor

Why do I sing?
 I started singing with Steve Gothold when I was a student at Whittier College, and I’ve been here ever since. I couldn’t Imagine not singing with Steve. Chorale is an important part of who I am. I love it!
                   Stef Brignoni, Singer

 Donate now at ChoraleBelCanto.org

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Support Chorale Bel Canto at Year's End

       Donate Now            

This is an exciting time for Chorale Bel Canto. In the first of a three-year strategic plan, we are committed to great things. We envision a greater role for the Chorale in the communities we serve, including collaborating with other arts organizations, engaging larger and more diverse audiences with our programming and outreach initiatives, and playing a role in the musical education of the children of our community.

We can't reach these goals without support from generous friends like you. We invite you to be a valued member of the Chorale Bel Canto family! Many singers and supporters have been with us since the beginning, 33 years ago, and many have joined our family along the way. We will be in touch throughout December, sharing thoughts from singers and donors about why Chorale Bel Canto matters to them!


Only 11 days left in 2014 to make your tax-deductible gift to Chorale Bel Canto!



"Chorale gives me an opportunity to sing with other 
people, learn music I've never heard of before, 
and perform in lots of different places. I love singing 
because music is universal, the same thing in every
language, so it brings people together."
Lupita Vargas, singer and Rio Hondo College student

Please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation
to Chorale Bel Canto
as the year end approaches. Invest in the future of choral music!


"We've been attending Chorale concerts since 1982. Oh, yes, from the ground floor. 
Oh, my gosh, the growth! They do so much more now than hey did at the very beginning--newer works, more contemporary works. We give because we want to see this continue for other people to enjoy. They need to know about it. Giving to the Chorale is just part of our routine, part of our schedule. It's what we do, that's right. We don't think twice about it."
Barrie and Ruth Cruickshank, donors

Warmest wishes for the holiday season from ........
Chorale Bel Canto!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto

            By Linda de Vries

“Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto” offers ideas for a day trip to the city in which we’re singing, with a Chorale Bel Canto concert at the center of your experience.

Whittier is the place to be on December 6.

Morning

Begin your day at the 9th annual
Christmas Boutique and Breakfast with Santa
at Chorale Bel Canto’s new rehearsal home,
Trinity Lutheran Church and School, 11716 Floral Drive.




Afternoon 1-3 p.m.

Head for the Whittier Museum at 6755 Newlin Avenue
The opening of the new Doll Exhibit and Christmas on the Prairie,
a program of Holiday stories with Laura IngalIs Wilder,
 played by Judith Helton
 The program is free. Call 562-945-3871 for information.
 Or, head to uptown Whittier for some fantastic holiday shopping!


Afternoon 4:00 p.m.

 Go to the First Friends Church on Philadelphia Street
for Chorale Bel Canto’s Christmas in Brass!



Alternative
If you choose to attend the evening performance at 7:30 p.m.,
you can enjoy tasty Italian food and support CBC
as you have lunch or dinner before the concert.

When you dine at Ciao Italia today and present this flyer,
Ciao Italia will donate 20% of proceeds to Chorale Bel Canto!



Evening

If you attend the 4:00 p.m. performance of Christmas in Brass,
have a bite at Ciao Italia after the concert.
Then, walk the streets of Whittier as you shop and participate in the Holiday Sonata.


If you prefer to shop online,
you can support the Chorale by shopping via Amazon Smile.
Just google “Amazon Smile” and register.
AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to CBC.



You can also help the Chorale if you shop at Ralphs.
Sign up for the Ralphs Community Rewards program online at Ralphs.com and choose Chorale Bel Canto, or print this barcode and have it scanned at the checkout counter.



Happy Holidays to all our fans, friends and families!



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thanksgiving!

Chorale Bel Canto
Expresses heartfelt thanks!


In April we received a remarkably generous $50,000 from the Pitts Family Foundation. This inspired us to plan for longevity and design our impact on the future.


In May we invited you to
Come With us Into the Future!


And contribute to our campaign to match $25,000 of that gift by our first concert of the 2014-15 season.


And you did!
Throughout the summer heatwave the temperature continued to rise!


On October 26 H.M.S. Pinafore sailed away with a standing ovation crowd “on shore” clapping through five bows!


The thermometer reached its peak--$25,000 had been raised!


We thank you for helping us honor the Pitts gift and ensure that tomorrow’s generations enjoy the music we all value today.


Today
These gifts enabled us to complete our three-year Strategic Plan, move to our new rehearsal home at Trinity Lutheran Church in Whittier, purchase our very own grand piano, establish a long-term investment fund, increase our professional staff, and mount the delightfully successful production of H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera A La Carte.


Tomorrow
The gifts you have made will help us solidify our staffing, partner with other arts groups, such as The Pasadena Civic Ballet and its ArtsPlus branch, which will join us in our May presentation of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s The Unicorn, the Gordon and the Manticore, expand our performance outreach program to new audiences, and begin an educational outreach program.


We thank these loyal supporters!
List of donors from May-October

Your gifts are an investment in your passion for beautiful singing, a belief in the future of Chorale Bel Canto, and hope for the future. They are not just something you give—they are something you entrust. You may rely on us to cherish and nurture them. We honor donors such as you who support the joy we create.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Destiantion . . . Chorale Bel Canto

            By Linda de Vries

Love Classical Choral Music? Think Chorale Bel Canto.

Seldom or never listen to Classical Choral Music? Think again.

On October 26, think the City of Downey.

Think Downey is too far to drive for just a concert? Think again.

“Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto” posts several times in advance of each of our concerts, offering ideas for a different day trip to the city in which we’re singing, with a Chorale Bel Canto concert at the center of your experience. These trips appeal to a wide variety of interests and share fascinating, sometimes intricate, connections between the city and the music.

On October 26, 2014, Chorale Bel Canto is in Downey singing H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera A La Carte. Staged and costumed principals present Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic comic opera with Chorale Bel as the chorus of sailors and young ladies, accompanied by the Opera A La Carte orchestra.

Devote your entire day to music!

Morning. Begin your day at the Moravian Church of Downey, located at 10337 Old River School Road (562-927-0718). Enjoy the music of their worship service at 10:30-11:30 a.m.

The Moravian Church is the world’s oldest protestant denomination. Its history begins in Bohemia and moves to next-door Moravia, two historical central European countries that are today two states of the Czech Republic. As you will see below, the Moravians have always seen music as a necessity of life.

Jan Hus (1369-1415), a Czech priest and professor of philosophy at Charles University in Prague (Bohemia) is considered, after the English theorist of Reformation John Wycliffe, the first reformer of the Roman Catholic Church, as he lived before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli. After a long trial at the Council of Constance, he was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1415.

The Hussites continued to battle the Roman Catholic Church, but the dissidents split in 1434, with one half forming itself the Unitas Fratrum, Unity of Brethren. The Unitas Fratrum, or Moravian Church, following the principles of Hus, was founded at Kunwald, Bohemia in 1457 by Gregory the Patriarch. By the end of the 15th century the sect had spread into Moravia and founded 400 communities throughout the Czech lands.

The Thirty Years War (1618-1648), initially a religious battle between Protestant and Catholic states, morphed into a power contest between the French Bourbon and Austrian Hapsburg rulers. Devastating central Europe, the war brought further persecution to the Brethren's Church, and the Protestants of Bohemia were severely defeated at the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620. Offered Catholicism or exile, most fled.

In the 1720s a small group of Moravian exiles found refuge on the Saxon estate of the Pietist, Count Nicholaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. The village of Herrnhut was founded on the slopes of the Hutberg on August 13, 1727. This became the Renewed Brotherhood, founded under the name of Moravian Brethren.

On the American continent in 1734 Governor General Oglethorpe granted the Renewed Brethren under Bishop David Nitschmann 500 acres in Georgia, recently carved out of the Carolina Grant. Owing to the climate, wars, and conflict within, the small Savannah colony failed to prosper, but the Brethren moved on to Pennsylvania in 1741, settling on the estate of George Whitefield, where they established the communities of Bethlehem and Nazareth.

The Moravian Church expanded into New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. Bishop Augustus Spangenberg established a colony in Wachovia, North Carolina, a colony named Bethania but now known as Winston-Salem.

The northern and southern colonies continued to expand their territories. After World War II, the Moravian Church expanded into southern California, where they had maintained an Indian mission since 1890. This coincided with the post-war expansion of the aero-space industry in southern California, leading to the founding of the Moravian Church of Downey in 1954.

Music. A major element of Moravian worship is music, both vocal and instrumental. Since the Moravians have a penchant for careful documentation, the records of their musical history are well-maintained in two archives, the Moravian Music Foundation headquarters in Winston-Salem, NC, and the Moravian Archives in Bethlehem, PA. Both archives house extensive, important collections and provide numerous resources for scholars.

Count Zinzendorf saw life as “liturgical,” with every aspect a worship to be offered to God. Thus, secular matters of business and farming were given a religious connotation, which led to particularly Moravian varieties of worship.

The Losungen, or Daily Texts, were introduced in 1728 as daily devotional guides. These included not only texts from Scripture, but hymn stanzas. Zinzendorf had encouraged hymn singing from the early days of Herrnhut, producing a large hymnal in 1735. The hymn book of Christian Gregor appeared in 1778, and in 1784 his Choralbuch provided tunes for these hymns. Both were used in German-speaking congregations for a century.

Gregor created a unique tune-numbering system still in use today. All tunes of the same meter share a number (“tune 22s,” for example) and are distinguished from one another by a letter. The tunes and texts are, therefore, interchangeable.

Similarly Gregor composed his hymns by taking familiar stanzas from different hymns and merging them together into one hymn, sometimes intermixing new stanzas of his own. This is a mark of the most characteristic Moravian service, the Singstunde, or “song service,” in which the pastor carefully chooses individual stanzas from various hymns in a way that develops a particular Christian truth or theme as the singing progresses. The sermon is presented through the texts of the hymns. The organist has to memorize and be able to transpose over 400 hymns into whatever key the pastor begins singing.

The style of these songs resembles Handel more than Bach, in that the voice parts tend to move together so that the text may be clearly understood. They often use extensive instrumental introductions and interludes, but these, too, support rather than distract from the text.

Another important category of Moravian music is the trombone choir. From the time of Herrnhut, Moravians have used brass ensembles and bands to announce special events and to accompany singing at outdoor services and funerals. Beginning in 1754, these trombone choirs were imported from German to American Moravian churches, a set of instruments supplied to each new congregation. These trombone choirs have active parts for all four voices, reflecting the congregation singing in parts.

The Moravian Trombone Choir of Downey was founded by Jeff Reynolds in 1965 and is one of the most active of all trombone choirs in the world. The repertoire is primarily chorales, sonatas, and occasional music, mostly from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Lunch. You have a multitude of choices in Downey! You might enjoy the 1953 “Speedee” McDonald’s restaurant that stands at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. (at Florence Ave.) was the third McDonald’s built and is the oldest surviving building of the chain. It was the second restaurant franchised by Richard and Maurice McDonald prior to Ray Kroc joining the company. It maintains its original 30-foot “golden arches” and a 60-foot animated neon “Speedee” sign.

Lacking a drive-up window and indoor seating and following severe damage in the Northridge earthquake, it was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 1994 list of the 11 most Endangered Historic Places. Owing to the public’s demand to save the restaurant, however, McDonald’s spent two years restoring its Googie-style architecture. Today, you can visit this historic restaurant and an adjoining gift shop and museum.

Johnie's Broiler (originally Harvey's Broiler) was a drive-in restaurant and coffee shop built in 1958 in the Googie style of architecture. In 1968, renowned writer Tom Wolfe published his collection of articles titled The Pump House Gang, containing the article “The Hair Boys,” which immortalized the cruising, car, and fashion scene surrounding Harvey’s Broiler. Wolfe’s drawings of the habitués of the Broiler appear in his later book, The Purple Decades. The restaurant can also be seen in many movies and TV episodes, as well as music videos starring Bob Dylan and Madonna.

Following its 50s heyday, the Broiler fell on hard times. Closed in 2001, it became a used car lot. In 2007 the lessees began illegal demotion that the City was able to stop, but not before significant damage was done.

In April 2008, Jim Louder, owner of the Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Torrance, California, entered into a long-term lease agreement with the owner of Johnie's Broiler, rebuilding it as Bob’s Big Boy Broiler and incorporating its surviving architectural elements. It is located at 7447 Firestone Blvd., 562-928-2627.

Afternoon. Follow our driving tour of the musical history of Downey. Downey was home to many noted popular musicians. Alas, however, most of this activity is gone, but you can check out the historic spots on a driving tour around town.

Downey Records. Yes, Downey had its own record label! Located at 13117 Lakewood Boulevard, the building is now a dollar store.

Bill Wenzel brought his wife and two sons to Downey from Grand Rapids, Michigan, part of the post-war trek to southern California. Bill first worked in the music division of MGM and later ran his own spot welding shop. A week before Christmas in 1958 he and his eldest son Jack opened Wenzel’s Music Town at 13117 Lakewood Boulevard. The store sold hi-fi equipment, but specialized in stereo sets and auto stereo for growing in-car entertainment industry that was growing as a result of California’s cruising and drive-in restaurant scene.

Early in 1959, responding to demand, the father and son built a recording studio in one half of the store. They also established a record label, Jack Bee, a combination of their names. Younger son Tom met his future wife, Maxine, at Bell High School, and they were married at age 17. In 1962 Bill and Jack started the Downey record label and brought in Maxine to run the store.

Success first came with the Downey label and the group Pastel Six, then with “Boss” by the Rumblers in 1963, followed by their biggest hit, “Pipeline” by The Chantays.

After these hits, the recording business began to wane, but father and son continued to record young Downey rock musicians such as Barry White and Little Johnny Taylor. In the late 60s, however, Jack was diagnosed with Leukemia and the recording business ceased around 1968. Jack died in 1971. Until their retirement in 2002 Tom and Maxine ran “Wenzel’s Music Town, Home of Oldies But Goodies.”

Fun connection: In 1965 a group named The Bel Cantos recorded “Feel Aw Right” at Downey Recording Studios. You can hear it on YouTube. No connection to Chorale Bel Canto, but a nice serendipity.

The Carpenters. Continue your driving tour and view the former homes of the family of Karen and Richard Carpenter, the famous as a singing duo who moved to Downey from Connecticut in 1963. Drive south on Lakewood Blvd., turn right on Rosecrans, and right on Downey Avenue and you’ll pass the Carpenters first lodging, an apartment complex at 12020 Downey Avenue, first #22 and then #23.

Head northeast on Downey Avenue toward Cole, turn right on Stewart and Gray Road, left on Lakewood Blvd., right on Florence Ave., left on Matlock, right on Lubec, and left on Newville, and you pass the house Karen and Richard bought for the family with their earnings at 9828 Newville Avenue, pictured on their album, Now and Then.

Travel south on Newville, turn right on Lubec, left on Matlock, right on Florence, right on Brookshire, left on Gainsford, right on Nolan and left on Lubec and you’ll see the house Richard bought for his family at 8341 Lubec Street in 1973.

Lastly, drive southeast on Lubec toward Dolan (Lubec becomes Manzanar), turn right on Charloma Drive, left on Brookshire, right on Gallatin Rd., right on Cord, and right on Raviller to see the house Richard and his family lived in at 9386 Raviller Drive.

Paul A. Bigsby, the father of the modern electric solid-body guitar (1948) and creator of the Bigsby vibrato built his guitars at 8114 Phlox Street, but we’ll skip that on this tour.

The Blasters. Instead, travel southeast on Raviller toward Cord, turn left on Cord, left on Gallatin Rd., and left on Brookshire to 11040, the address of Downey High School. Dave Alvin and his brother Phil, both graduates of Downey High, formed this early rockabilly band. Dave wrote the song “Downey Girl,” released on his 2009 album Dave Alvin and the Guilty Woman, about a Downey High classmate. They first recorded at Downey Studios.

Dark Angel, the thrash metal band, was formed at Downey High by classmates Eric Meyer, Ron Rinehart, Gene Hoglan, Brett Ericksen, and Mike Gonzalez, each of whom has continued to evolve musically in a variety of ways.

Metallica. This well-known group was also formed at Downey high by James Hetfield and Ron McGovney. Donovan Frankenreiter, the surfer and musician was also Downey-born, as were “Weird” Al Yankovic, and the rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran.

4:00. Head southeast on Brookshire, turn right on Firestone and you arrive at the Downey Civic Theatre at 8435 Firestone Blvd., where you will delight in Chorale Bel Canto’s presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.


Dinner. In keeping with the British nautical theme of the operetta, you might want to head north to Santa Fe Springs and dine at Maggie’s Pub, 11900 Telegraph Rd., 562-944-5399. In keeping with the Victorian setting of Pinafore, you might choose the Victoria and Albert Special at the Pub. Still in the realm of the sea, you might remain in Downey and eat at Pacific Fish Grill at 8262 Firestone Blvd., 562-869-9911.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto

            By Linda de Vries

Love Classical Choral Music? Think Chorale Bel Canto.

Seldom or never listen to Classical Choral Music? Think again.

On October 26, think the City of Downey.

Think Downey is too far to drive for just a concert? Think again.

“Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto” posts several times in advance of each of our concerts, offering ideas for a different day trip to the city in which we’re singing, with a Chorale Bel Canto concert at the center of your experience. These trips appeal to a wide variety of interests and share fascinating, sometimes intricate, connections between the city and the music.

On October 26, 2014, Chorale Bel Canto is in Downey singing H.M.S. Pinafore with Opera A La Carte. Staged and costumed principals present Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic comic opera with Chorale Bel as the chorus of sailors and young ladies, accompanied by the Opera A La Carte orchestra.

For your day trip on this date, explore the Native Americans of this area before the concert.

The Tongva (also referred to as Awigna) are a Native American people who inhabited the Los Angeles Basin and the Southern Channel Islands at the time of the establishment of the Spanish missions in the 18th century. The Franciscan fathers called them Gabrieleño, Fernandeño, and Nicoleño.

The archeological evidence shows that the Tongva have been in southern California for about 8,000 years. Their remote ancestors are thought to have been either Shoshoni-speaking people who migrated southwest from Nevada or people who originated in the Sonoran Desert and moved north. The Tongva speak varieties of Takic, a Uto-Aztecan language that established itself about 2,000 years ago.

When the first Europeans arrived in the Los Angeles area in 1542, the Tongva, along with the neighboring Chumash, were the most powerful indigenous people to inhabit southern California, numbering somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000. They were hunter-gatherers who lived in villages and built conical houses made of reeds, tule, and willows, called ki. They ate ducks, geese, rabbits, berries, seeds, nuts, and black honey made by burrowing bees. They built canoes, caulked with tar from the La Brea Tar Pits, canoes that could hold up to 12 people and that allowed them to trade widely.


Tongva Ki


Mrs. James Rosemeyre (née Narcisa Higuera), 
photographed here in 1905, one of the last fluent Tongva speakers. 

It was not until the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was founded on September 8, 1771 that assimilation of the native population really began. The Tongva were quickly Christianized, although they did at times resist Spanish rule, such as in the 1785 rebellion led by the female chief Toypurina.

They were, however, forced to assimilate when, in 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and mission land became ranchos. Then when California became a state, treaties were signed with the United States government granting over eight million acres to the Tongva, but the treaties were never ratified. By 1900 their language was almost extinct, so that only partial records of Tongva culture survive and only a reconstructed language is spoken.

Since 2006, four groups have claimed to represent the Tongva Nation, the split being the result of the question of establishing a gambling casino: the Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe (the “hyphen group”), the Gabrielino/Tongva Tribe (the “slash group”), the Gabrieleño/Tongva Tribal Council, and the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians. The latter group disavows the name Tongva and refers to themselves as Kizh, a name that goes back to 1846, when the term was used to designate the language and their word for “house.”

There are several sites in southern California that the Tongva consider sacred ground: The Kuruvungna Springs on the site of a former village, now the campus of University High School in West Los Angeles; Puyungna, believed to be the birthplace of the Tongva prophet Chingishnish and the place of creation, the site of a former village that contains an active spring, now the grounds of California State University, Long Beach, a portion of which is on the National Register of Historic Places;   Sheldon Reservoir in Pasadena;   Los Encinos State Historical Park in Encino.

The Tongva heritage is seen in place names such as Pacoima, Tujunga, Topanga, Rancho Cucamonga, Azusa, and Cahuenga, and in Tongva Peak in the Verdugo Mountains in Glendale and the Gabrielino Trail in the Angeles National Forest.
Loyola Marymount University has an extensive collection of archival materials related to the Tongva, as well as a garden museum dedicated to their history. Today, though, you can get to know more about the Tongva on your way to the concert in Downey.

Morning. Begin your day at Heritage Park in nearby Santa Fe Springs, located at 12100 Mora Drive, 562-946-6476. The Park is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. It is closed on major holidays.

The Tongva settlements nearest Downey appear to have been just north and northeast of today’s City, although it is difficult to locate them precisely. Present-day Los Nietos seems to have been the location of the Naxaaw’nga and Sehat villages, while the Chokiishuga and Huutnga villages may have been in the area north of Downey between the San Gabriel River and the Rio Hondo.

Here in Heritage Park you can experience what life might have been like in those villages in an exhibit sheltered among the trees on the Park’s west side. Wandering the path next to the stream in the Tongva Exhibit will take you back in time.

There are many other features to delight you in Heritage Park. You are greeted at the entrance by a Railroad Exhibit featuring “No. 870,” a vintage Acheson, Topeka and Santa Fe steam locomotive, complete with a refrigerated boxcar and caboose. The Railroad Exhibit, open daily from 12:00-4:00 p.m., reminds visitors that Santa Fe Springs developed because of two railroad lines. The town of Fulton Wells was so thrilled to have a railroad built through in the 1870s that it changed its name to Santa Fe Springs! The exhibit also includes two meeting rooms, a picnic area, and a rose garden.

Heritage Park also features a Carriage Barn, once used to house horses and carriages. It is open Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday 12:00-4:00 p.m. Built in 1880 by a gent from Missouri named Eli Hawkins, the Barn was reconstructed in 1987 based on an old photograph. Titled “When the Air was Pure and Money Grew on Trees,” the exhibit shows how life was lived shortly before and after the turn of the 20th century. It is divided into sections that illustrate transportation (Horse and Buggy Days), education (Little Lake School Days), farming (A Living from the Land), homemaking (Keeping a Home), and recreation and technology (Inventing a Better Life). It also includes the Santa Fe Springs Mercantile, a four-passenger surrey, a timeline, and an interactive display for your little ones.

You can also see a restored Tankhouse and Windmill that once provided power to the property. It was constructed in Carpenter Gothic style to match the Carriage Barn. It has a marvelous view from the top.

Next to the Carriage Barn are the ruins of the Mexican Adobe built by Patricio Ontiveros, where you can see the home’s foundation and trash pit. This rancho was the original property on which Heritage Park now stands.

The Park also contains Hawkins’ Plant Conservatory and a Bird Aviary added around 1916 by the estate’s last private owner, Margaret Slusher.

Lunch. Heritage Park has a café, but it is open only Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., but you might want to picnic here. Or, you might want to make your way to one of the mid-century retro eateries in Downey and take a look at today’s concert town.

The 1953 “Speedee” McDonald’s restaurant that stands at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. (at Florence Ave.) was the third McDonald’s built and is the oldest surviving building of the chain. It was the second restaurant franchised by Richard and Maurice McDonald prior to Ray Kroc joining the company. It maintains its original 30-foot “golden arches” and a 60-foot animated neon “Speedee” sign.

Lacking a drive-up window and indoor seating and following severe damage in the Northridge earthquake, it was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 1994 list of the 11 most Endangered Historic Places. Owing to the public’s demand to save the restaurant, however, McDonald’s spent two years restoring its Googie-style architecture. Today, you can visit this historic restaurant and an adjoining gift shop and museum.

Johnie's Broiler (originally Harvey's Broiler) was a drive-in restaurant and coffee shop built in 1958 in the Googie style of architecture. In 1968, renowned writer Tom Wolfe published his collection of articles titled The Pump House Gang, containing the article “The Hair Boys,” which immortalized the cruising, car, and fashion scene surrounding Harvey’s Broiler. Wolfe’s drawings of the habitués of the Broiler appear in his later book, The Purple Decades. The restaurant can also be seen in many movies and TV episodes, as well as music videos starring Bob Dylan and Madonna.

Following its 50s heyday, the Broiler fell on hard times. Closed in 2001, it became a used car lot. In 2007 the lessees began illegal demotion that the City was able to stop, but not before significant damage was done.

In April 2008, Jim Louder, owner of the Bob's Big Boy restaurant in Torrance, California, entered into a long-term lease agreement with the owner of Johnie's Broiler, rebuilding it as Bob’s Big Boy Broiler and incorporating its surviving architectural elements. It is located at
7447 Firestone Blvd., 562-928-2627.

Afternoon. You might possibly want to head over to Downey and spend some time at another park, the Meredith H. Perkins Skate Park at Independence Park, 12334 Bellflower Blvd., in Downey. Skating is available all year round, with helmets, knee and elbow pads required at all times. The park is over Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Or, you might want to take a brief driving tour of some of the sites in Downey. You may drive by the first Taco Bell restaurant, opened by Glen Bell in Downey on March 21, 1962 at 7112 Firestone Blvd. The building retains its original look, but is no longer a Taco Bell.

Next, drive by Downey High School at 11040 Brookshire Ave. Many celebrities were born in Downey and attended Downey High. One such is James Hetfield of the thrash metal band Metallica. Hetfield was inducted into the Downey High School Hall of Fame in 2011. Many other musical figures attended Warren High School at 8141 De Palma Street.

Continuing your driving tour, your can view the former homes of The Carpenters. The family of Karen and Richard Carpenter, who became famous as a singing duo, moved to Downey from Connecticut in 1963. Their first lodging was in an apartment complex at 12020 Downey Avenue, first #22 and then #23. Karen and Richard bought a house for the family with their earnings, a house at 9828 Newville Avenue, pictured on their album, Now and Then. Then in 1973 Richard bought a house for his family at 8341 Lubec Street. Lastly, Richard and his family lived in a house at 9386 Raviller Drive.

Paul A. Bigsby, the father of the modern electric solid-body guitar (1948) and creator of the Bigsby vibrato built his guitars at 8114 Phlox Street.

Numerous other musicians hail from Downey:
  • Weird Al Yankovic, musician and satirist, was born in Downey and raised in nearby Lynwood
  • Eddie Cochran, the rockabilly musician, lived in Downey
  • Donovan Frankenreiter was born in Downey, as was Allison Iraheta, American Idol season eight contestant
  • Dave Alvin and his brother Phil founded the Downey-based rockabilly band the Blasters and recorded on the Downey label, as did the Chantays and Barry White
  • Mary Ford moved to Downey to live with her brothers and sisters following her divorce from Les Paul
     
      4:00. Head to the Downey Civic Theatre at 8435 Firestone Blvd. and listen to Chorale Bel Canto in H.M.S. Pinafore.

Dinner. In keeping with the British nautical theme, you might want to head back to Santa Fe Springs and dine at Maggie’s Pub, 11900 Telegraph Rd., 562-944-5399. In keeping with the Victorian setting of Pinafore, you might choose the Victoria and Albert Special at the Pub. Still in the realm of the sea, you might remain in Downey and eat at Pacific Fish Grill at 8262 Firestone Blvd., 562-869-9911.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bye, Bye, Birdie


In July we invited you to
Come With us Into the Future!

Thank You!
You’ve aided our progress on these initiatives throughout the summer—
we now invite you to help us reach our final goals

Contribute to our Matching Campaign
      Join our campaign to match half of the Pitts Family Foundation gift and raise an additional $25,000 by the first concert of our 33rd season to help us build our long-term investment fund. Invest in your passion for beautiful singing and a belief in the future of Chorale Bel Canto.

       We’ve now received $20,000 toward this goal. You can still help us reach the full amount by the 
        time the H.M.S. Pinafore sails on October 26.

      Become an Early Bird Subscriber
                 We’re only 45 season ticket sales short of our all-time goal.
                   
                  The Early Bird flies away at midnight on October 15, but even if you miss this 
                  deadline, you can still enjoy a $25 saving by purchasing season tickets before 
                  Pinafore on October 26.
 Commit to our Legacy Society
   Join our new Legacy Society. Enjoy a special listing in each of our concert programs, a unique Chorale Bel Canto Legacy Society lapel pin, two free tickets for one concert each season for you to share, subscription to our online newsletter and blog, and invitations to our annual gala and all special Chorale events.

     Notify us by December 31, 2014 that you have included a gift to support the Chorale in your estate plan and become a Charter Member.

 Help tomorrow’s generations enjoy the music you value today!

We cherish your gifts, your presence, and your membership!