Saturday, March 15, 2014

Destination . . . Chorale Bel Canto

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 April 5, think the City of Whittier.

Think Whittier 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 April 5 Chorale Bel Canto is in Whittier, singing two cantatas as part of the Whittier Bach Festival (scroll to the right to see all events, dates, and times.)

Think—outdoor exercise and mid-century retro! All you runners, joggers, cyclists, walkers—and your kids!—enjoy a day in Whittier!

Morning. You can enjoy a morning on Whittier’s beautiful multi-award winning Greenway Trail, a 4.5-mile recreational bikeway and pedestrian path begun in 1997 and dedicated on January 31, 2009. The trail, developed on abandoned Union Pacific Railroad property, begins on the City’s eastern boundary at Mills and Lambert and travels through Whittier, linking schools, homes, parks, shopping areas, and transit stops, ending at Pioneer Boulevard on the western edge of the city.

Five “stations” highlight different aspects of Whittier’s history, growth, and development. Kinetic copper and stainless steel Wind Sculptures by New Mexican artist Lyman Whitaker punctuate the trail in three locations—Oak, Sycamore, and Palm Stations, along with four outdoor exercise installations designed to be used by anyone ages 14 through seniors—Oak, Laurel, Citrus, and Palm Stations.

Oak Station, on Lambert Road, west of Mills Avenue, describes Whittier’s founding as a Quaker colony and traces the town’s growth from a small agricultural community to a suburban city that is now 55% Hispanic, highlighting key historic figures such as the poet John Greenleaf Whittier and Pio de Jesus Pico, the last Governor of Alta California.

Laurel Station, on Lambert Road west of Calmada Avenue, boasts a demonstration garden with plants native to Southern California’s coastal desert climate and provides information on water conservation in landscaping.

Sycamore Station, on Whittier Boulevard near Five Points, recognizes the native California sycamore tree and traces the history of transportation in Whittier, from wagons to railroads to automobiles, including a focus on the mid-century teen activity of “cruising Whittier Boulevard” on weekend nights. Back home, indulge in retro R&B on YouTube by listening to “Let’s Take a Trip Down Whittier Boulevard,” by Thee Midniters, one of the first East LA Chicano crossover bands.

Citrus Station, south of Penn Street, is in the heart of Whittier’s original industrial area, and focuses on early agriculture and industry, including fruit packing, with a display of Whittier’s own citrus crate labels. The former Sunkist packinghouse is now the home of nearby King Richard’s Antiques Mall. The Catalina swimwear factory was located on Penn Street at Pickering Avenue for several decades.

Walnut Station, on Whittier Boulevard at Pacific Place, is still in the planning stages. It will describe Whittier's once thriving nut industry and honor the city’s most beloved tree—a Paradox Hybrid Walnut Tree planted in 1907.

Palm Station, located at Palm Park, is the fifth and final station, and features Whittier’s varied architectural history—which will ultimately be represented by a series of birdhouses representing housing styles in miniature. Palm Station also features a seating area under a vine-draped pergola that was constructed by the Whittier Conservancy, using wooden columns saved from the former Fred C. Nelles School site and the former Theisen Building from Uptown Whittier

Lunch. After your morning’s exercise, you might want to lunch at one of Whittier’s retro restaurants:
Rocky Cola Cafe, 6757 Greenleaf Ave., 562-907-3377
Ruby’s Diner, 10109 Whittwood Drive, in the Whittwood Mall, 562-947-7829
Rubi’s Grill and Frosty Freeze, 11401 Washington Blvd., 562-699-1470
Jack’s Whittier Restaurant and Coffee Shop, 13221 E. Whittier Blvd., 562-693-8713
Norm’s, 14810 Whittier Blvd., 562-907-2760
Rick’s, 7254 Greenleaf Ave., 562-698-4464
Or, if you wish to continue your out-of-doors experience, you might picnic in one of Whittier’s beautiful parks. Perhaps Penn Park at 13950 Penn Street, or Palm Park at 5703 Palm Avenue.
Afternoon. At 4:00 p.m. join the crowd at the Whittier College Memorial Chapel at the corner of Philadelphia St. and Painter Ave., just east of the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts to hear Chorale Bel Canto sing two Bach cantatas, ein feste Burg, his setting of Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” and cantata 11, The Ascension Oratorio.

See Conductor's Notes by Stephen Gothold, Chorale Bel Canto Music Directoron this blog site for more interesting details on the music!

 Dinner. Maintain that exalted feeling by dining at a fine dining restaurant in nearby Pico Rivera, either Clearman’s Steak ‘n’ Stein at 9545 Whittier Blvd., 562-699-8825, or Dal Rae, at 9023 Washington Blvd., 562-945-2444.

Have a wonderful day!

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