Daily Breeze Coverage of Grand Salon

Meredith Grenier wrote a terrific article on the Grand Salon that was published in the Daily Breeze on June 22.  Meredith’s writing and photos capture the spirit of the Peninsula Committee and the impact we have on music in the community through our volunteer activities and fundraising.  Click here to read the full text of the article.  Thank you Meredith!

(Front) Jan Brandmeyer, Denise Clement and Joan Connaghan, co-chairs, Karen Gottlieb, Carolyn Elliott, (back) Tricia Paulsen, Steve Napolitano, deputy to LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, and Marian Duntley

(Front) Jan Brandmeyer, Denise Clement and Joan Connaghan, co-chairs, Karen Gottlieb, Carolyn Elliott, (back) Tricia Paulsen, Steve Napolitano, deputy to LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, and Marian Duntley

A SMASHING June Salon!

Two Dazzling Chairs-and Friends!




Posted by Sally Varricchione

Article and Photos by Sally Varricchione

“Oh What a Night” at the California Museum of Fine Art in Old Downtown Torrance, the sophisticated venue of the June Salon!  No ‘June Gloom’ here as PCLAP members and their guests enjoyed a dazzling duo piano performance by artists Mona Wu DeCesare and Edward Francis.  Seated on two benches positioned in front of a beautiful Steinway grand piano, these consummate musicians enchanted and dazzled their audience with classical pieces by Gabrile Faure and Franz Schubert, as well as three ‘toe-tappin’ Rags by Scott Joplin.  Their grand finale, “Dizzy Fingers”, exhorted gasps and cheers from a ‘dizzied’ audience.

Vice-President, Hospitality Chair Claudia Grzywacz and Vice-Chair Wanda Dalcin deserve hearty BRAVI for stepping ‘outside the Salon Box’ and planning an innovative evening program presented at a unique and beautiful South Bay art gallery.  Dali and Brian Higa, owners of the gallery, were warmly welcoming and gracious hosts.

l-r Brian Higerian, Marge Schmit, Marion Ruth, Dali Higerian

l-r Brian Higa, Marge Schmit, Marion Ruth, Dali Higa

Pianists Edward Francis and Mona Wu DeCesare

Pianists Edward Francis and Mona Wu DeCesare


Featured Gallery Sculpture

Featured Gallery Sculpture

PCLAP members and their guests checked in, and were invited to enjoy a sumptuous pre-concert repast, enhanced by pourings of “happiness” by genial ‘bartrendesses’ Ginny Erxleben and Provisional Linda Whitson.

Checking In...

Provisionals Carla Farrell, Cheryl Litrenta, and Chair Wanda Dalcin warmly greeted members and guests.


Dispensers of "Happiness."

Dispensers of “Happiness”, Linda and Virginia.

Long-Time, ‘Super Star’ Members and Supporters of the Peninsula Committee Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra enjoy a STELLAR Evening!

Vice-President, Programs, Darlene Vlasek and husband Jim

Vice-President, Programs, Darlene Vlasek and husband Jim










Ann Carley ('Pretty in Pink', Husband Jim, Winnie Martin, and Kathy Keller

Ann Carley (‘Pretty in Pink’!), Husband Jim, Winnie Martin, and Kathy Keller.

Marian-Jane-Ann Marinovich-Linda Whitson

Grand Salon Auction Chair, Marian Hall, Jane Beseda, Ann Marinovich, Linda Whitson


Lou-Ellen Moses-Joyce Fein-Claudia-Jane Beseda

‘Lucky Lou’ Varricchione standing with Lovely Ladies Ellen Moses, Joyce Fein, Vice President, Hospitality Claudia Grzywacz (Fedora Fashionista!), and Jane Beseda












Enjoying pre-concert moments are Professional Member Kristen Hetzer, Pianist Edward Francis, stylin’ a red shirt and musical tie, his wife Barbara, and friend Li. Barbara and Li had come from Pasadena to attend our event. And aren’t the paintings striking?

Grand Salon “Remembrances”

Article by Jane Beseda
Photos by Jeff Grant

bain_andrew_700Andrew Bain, Principal Horn of the LA Phil, defined the mood for the Grand Salon with his performance of Remembrances by Michael Conway Baker.  Accompanied by Dr. Vivian Fan, Director of Accompanying Program at Colburn Conservatory, Andrew treated us to a flawless demonstration of what the instrument can do in the hands of a master.  Other selections in the program were Laudatio, by Bernhard Krol, Sonata for Horn and Piano by Paul Hindemith, and Sonata for Piano and Horn by Ludwig van Beethoven.


Dr. Vivian Fan, piano, Andrew Bain, horn, and Denise Clement, Co-chair, and a spellbound audience

Dr. Vivian Fan, piano, Andrew Bain, horn, Denise Clement, Co-chair, and a spellbound audience


The smiles of our guests tell the story of this golden evening.

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Jan Brandmeyer and Nancy Siskowic arranged a marvelous lineup of Tastings providers —sometimes enlisting the help of their assistant recruiter and secret weapon, Nancy’s husband Ed DeRenzis.  We are arranging a series of Gratitude dinners to thank these fine restaurants for their support.  Our own volunteer bartenders deftly poured happiness to add to the glow.

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We were honored to host Steve Napolitano from Supervisor Don Knabe’s office, and give a proper thank you for the Supervisor’s steadfast support of our music outreach to the community.

Steve Napolitano representing 4th District Supervisor Don Knabe's office, accepting a certificate expressing our gratitude

Steve Napolitano representing 4th District Supervisor Don Knabe’s office, accepting a certificate of appreciation


As we pulled up to the new valet service and took in sweeping vistas of the coastline, the AMUSE Saxophone Quartet welcomed us at the door.  The Palos Verdes High School String Quartet played inside as we enjoyed each other’s fellowship before the program began.

GS14 IMG_3397

AMUSE Saxophone Quartet: Christian Botz-Zapp, alto saxophone, Mack Nickel, alto saxophone, Naoki Kita, tenor saxophone, Benny Golbin (instructor), baritone saxophone


GS14 IMG_3402

PV High School String Quartet:  Eileen Kim, violin, Kaori Shimizu, violin, Sarah Lu, viola, Ryan Lau, cello (a substitute is in the photo)


Our heartfelt thanks go to Co-chairs Denise Clement and Joan Connaghan, and to our hosts Carolyn and Julian Elliott, for a graceful evening of pure delight.

Joan Connaghan, Co-chair, Carolyn Elliott, Hostess, and Denise Clement, Co-chair

Joan Connaghan, Co-chair, Carolyn Elliott, Hostess, and Denise Clement, Co-chair



Marian & Jim Duntley
Carolyn & Julian Elliott

Joyce & Jerry Fein
Elaine & Ron Florance
Sue & Allan Frew
Linda & Will Gassett
Jacqueline Glass
Reed L. & Nan M. Harmon Foundation
Dottie & Allen Lay
Kay & William Magee
Denyse Miller
Judity & Fred Mishkin
Christine Ofiesh
Tricia & Tom Paulsen
Lois Ryan


Cynthia Allan
Sondra Behrens
Jackie Givins
Catherine King
Nancy & Andrew Mactavish
Terri & Richard Somers
Carrie & Stanley Stock
Nedra Zachary


AMUSE Music, Inc &
Sandra G. Clay
Jane & Jim Beseda
Carolyn & Julian Elliott
Union Bank – Miraleste Plaza
PCLAP Class of 2011
In memory of Kay Maselter

Tastings Provided by

Admiral Risty
Baby Cakes Baking Company

Bottle Inn Riviera
Bristol Farms
Chez Melange
Ortega 120
Rock & Brews

Grand Salon Committee 

Denise Clement and Joan Connaghan, Co-chairs
Jane Beseda, Jan Brandmeyer, Karen Cameron, Sandra Clay, Paula del Vicario, Marian Duntley, Joyce Fein, Karen Gottlieb, Nancy Grant, Cheryl Graue, Sharon Guthrie, Marian Hall, Marilyn Hoffman, Ellen Moses, Val Noguchi, Tricia Paulsen, Judy Sannes, Nancy Siskowic, Jean Strickland, Gail Tierney

LA Phil Affiliate Logo




Music in the Garden a Success!

Photos by Ginny Erxleben and Jim Beseda
Post by Karen Tozer

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A few days of rain didn’t put a damper on the Music in the Garden event. PCLAP Committee members turned out early Sunday morning to rearrange venues and schedules, protecting all from any inclement weather.

The result was an exciting day of musical entertainment, children’s activities and face painting.   The event included a diversity of programs and a wide representation of local communities.   A record number of guests from both PCLAP and the Botanic Garden attended the program.

The success of the event was due to the close collaboration with the South Coast Botanic Garden management and staff, under the leadership and financial support of Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. It was great public relations for both groups!

Headshot-Supervisor-Don-KnabeBotanic Garden Logo


Sunday is Music in the Garden

Music in the Garden

March 2
12:00 – 4:30
South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd
Palos Verdes Peninsula

This coming Sunday is Music in the Garden!  Created in partnership with the South Coast Botanic Garden, this event is a community outreach program of the Peninsula Committee Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Music in the Garden is an integral part of our mission to promote youth music education and foster music appreciation in the community. We hope that you will enjoy the afternoon listening to our local youth musicians and enjoying the Garden’s celebration of Cherry Blossom Festival.

Golf and sport icons set isolated on white ( black, pink )

Performances will take place in several venues throughout the Garden:

12:00  Bijan Afshar, Guitar
Special Guest

12:15  Dan Dance Studio Chinese Dancers

12:45  Palos Verdes High School Jazz Band

1:15  South Bay Children’s Choir

1:45  Narbonne High Saxophone Quintet and Brass Ensemble

2:15  Peninsula High School Choral Group

2:45  Palos Verdes Intermediate School String Ensemble

3:15  Torrance South High School Jazz Bands

3:45  Ridgecrest Intermediate Advanced Orchestra and Advanced Band

❤ ❤ ❤

There will also be special events throughout the day
in the Children’s Garden

12:30–3:30  Face Painting

Sing Alongs with:

1:45  Bab Farley, Banjo

2:15  Anne Destabelle, Guitar

2:45  Joan Perkins, Autoharp

We hope to see you there!

Botanic Garden Logo

“About Us” Article on LA Phil and PCLAP Websites

Small Jester PCLAPThe Phil generously provides space on their website for us to post an article on who we are, what we do, and how to join PCLAP as a member.  We have updated the information for 2014, which you can find by clicking here.  If you know people who are interested in joining or if you need to provide background info for publicity pieces, this is a handy reference to give.

You can go directly to our article from the Phil website at http://www.laphil.com.  It is under the “Give” tab at the top.  Then click “Volunteer” on the drop-down menu.  On the left side under “Affiliate Committees,” click on “Peninsula  Committee.”

The same article is posted on our own PCLAP website at pclaphil.org, which you can see by clicking here.  It is under the tab “About Us/Contact” at the top of our website.

The only difference between the two websites is the photo.  The Phil’s website has a photo of our Board.  Since we’ve used that photo in other places on the PCLAP website, we thought it would be nice to feature our celebrities, Gail and David, at Fanfare for Fall.  We attract some formidable talent!

Symphonies for Schools – Pure Delight

By Jane Beseda
Photos by Marian Duntley (she’s dangerous with that cell phone)

Volunteering as a Symphonies for Schools docent at Disney Hall is one of the most rewarding benefits of our PCLAP membership.  The concert hall brims with school kids for four exhilarating days in February, including 2 days for elementary schools, and a day each for intermediate and high schools.  Volunteers greet the arriving school buses, and make sure each class is tucked into their assigned seats before the performance begins.  Just as a hush falls over the concert hall, the volunteers slip into their own seats and become part of the magic created by 2000 spell-bound kids.

Kids get off bus.  Jane practices leadership skills

Kids get off bus. Jane practices leadership skills.

New docents are treated to a special orientation a few days before the series begins.  This year’s session included a briefing on how the program is organized, how schools apply, and a sample of the pre-concert education sessions conducted by Speakers Bureau volunteers at 45 schools, in 129 classrooms, for 3500 students.  The orientation ended with a fascinating backstage tour.  Did you know there is an electronic E that the musicians tune to just behind the stage doors?

On the morning of each concert, the Phil staff provide detailed instructions for the day, while the docents listen intently.  Not to worry—if you forget something, there are always seasoned veterans nearby to lend a hand.  And experts from the Hollywood Bowl handle the critical job of directing the bus drivers to their parking slots.

Blue-aproned veteran volunteers explaining things to Jane, again.

Blue-aproned veteran volunteers explain things to Jane, again.

This year’s concerts, conducted by Ben Gernon, LA Phil Conducting Fellow, featured Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker for elementary students, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for the upper grades.  The fabulous Debbie Devine added elements of story-telling and dance to the musical performances, making them resonate in a personal way with the young audiences.  The Vivaldi concerts also introduced 90 second themes written by four teenage composers, one of whom was clarinetist Andrew Moses, who performed at a PCLAP Salon last year.

At the door, ready to enter the concert hall.

At the door, ready to enter the concert hall.  The kids are abuzz!

The Symphonies for Schools series is over for this year, but make a mental note to sign up early next year when the call comes out for volunteers, as the spots fill up quickly.  In addition to the psychic rewards you’ll enjoy from the experience, the Phil offers two free Hollywood Bowl tickets for every day you work.  What could be better than that!