The legendary actor Marlon Brando appears on the cover of one of the Beatles’ albums. Lady Gaga’s birth name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. U2’s song, “Angel of Harlem,” written by Bono, is an homage to Billie Holiday.
Those tidbits of trivia may be rather useless to you, unless you find yourself as a participant in a trivia contest in which such knowledge is not trivial at all.
Not so trivial, however, is the challenge public schools face in properly funding their visual arts, theater and music programs.
So, the Burbank High School Instrumental Music Association recently decided to stage an online trivia contest to benefit the school’s band program.
Billed as a Music Trivia Night and held on Feb. 9, the virtual fundraiser was emceed by Burbank High School’s jazz band leader Tracy Henry and featured special guest hosts, actors and Burbank residents W. Earl Brown, who starred in HBO’s “Deadwood” and recently appeared in the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian,” and Diandra Lyle, who plays the role of Jess Dunn in the Disney Channel’s “The Secrets of Sulphur Springs.” Continue reading “Music Is More Than Trivial at BHS Fundraiser”
“My very heart leapt with the sound.” That was how the 19th century novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once described hearing the “brisk and melodious” neigh of a horse. It is only with those who have experienced one of the greatest treasures this life has to offer – the love for a horse – that Hawthorne’s heart-leaping line truly resonates. On this Valentine’s Day weekend, as we celebrate romantic affairs of the heart we associate with the Greek god Eros, the hearts of two local horsewomen, Tista Wicklow and Charlotte Chanler, will be leaping with another love – their love for one of God’s greatest creations – equus ferus caballus – the horse.
Shortly after being established in 1946, the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center Guild crafted and adopted a mission statement: “To give of ourselves in the spirit of loving and generous service for the greater good” of the indispensable Burbank hospital. For the next 74 years, the dedicated guild members did just that by staging various fundraising events, including their annual fashion show, and running the medical center’s gift shop. Then, just as the guild was preparing to celebrate its diamond jubilee, everything it does came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the 112th time since it received its charter from the Grand Lodge of California, Burbank Masonic Lodge 406 installed its elected and appointed officers last Saturday evening. Instead of holding their traditional black-tie gathering at the Masonic Lodge, local Masons and guests gathered virtually via Zoom to show their appreciation to outgoing Master Gary Glass and their support to Armen Khalafyan, who was sworn in as the lodge’s Master for 2021. Prior to last week’s installation ceremony, Glass reflected on the theme “Choose Masonry,” which he had hoped to enact during his term as the head of the Burbank lodge. “I only had 2½ months before the pandemic hit to implement my program, which I wanted to be a call to action for my local Masonic brothers to help them gain a deeper understanding of brotherly love, relief and truth, the three principal tenets of Masonry,” said Glass.
Lord John Russell, who served as the United Kingdom’s prime minister in the mid-1860s, called a proverb “the wisdom of many and the wit of one.” So many of the proverbial sayings that express a perceived truth and have become an indelible part of our lexicon can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophers, Confucius other ancient Chinese sages, and the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, who was widely considered to have been one of the greatest scholars of the Northern Renaissance. Perhaps some of the most notable of those words of wisdom can be found in King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul’s epistles in the New Testament. In fact, it is one of St. Paul’s proverbs, found in his epistle to the Galatians, that is among the best known: “Whatever a man soweth, so shall he reap.”
From the window of my home office, I have a great view of Memorial Field on the campus of John Burroughs High School. For the past 26 years, that view has always given my wife and me a good laugh during the first two weeks of January. That amusement stemmed from the front-row seat we have had to a slice of the human condition. Beginning on Jan. 1 of each year, to manifest on the resolutions they made the night before, Burbankers would make the track and field on the Burroughs campus one of the most popular places in the city. From the break of dawn on the year’s first day on into the evening, the track became a human traffic jam composed of runners, joggers, fast walkers and sashayers. On the field, even more people claimed a spot to do situps, pushups and all sorts of other forms of calisthenics.
Yesterday, today and the remainder of this week have a tradition of being the most optimistic time of the year. No matter how mired one may be in the murky pond of pessimism, the dawn of a new year, even one that finds us gripped by a pandemic, presents a path on which we can discover new and exciting adventures. That is especially true for former NBC4 weatherman Fritz Coleman who, after 39 years of tracking storms and providing Angelenos with information on marine layers, onshore flows, ocean eddies, spotty drizzles, May gray, June gloom, heat waves and seven-day forecasts, retired this past year. “I was nervous about retiring,” said the man who once joked that he was a weatherman in an area of the country that has no weather. “My father’s entire identity was his work and he just imploded when he retired, so I’ve been planning my retirement for over a year so that wouldn’t happen to me.”
I don’t believe it’s a journalistic guideline, policy or rule, but, I think, if you write a column that appears in a Dec. 26 publication you are pretty much obligated to start it with the line “ ’Tis the day after Christmas,” so here goes… ’Tis the day after Christmas, and members of the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and the Greater East Valley are enjoying the toys, games, dolls, activity sets, sports equipment and books they received, thanks to the employees and clients of Comprehensive Financial Services. The Burbank-based company, a diversified financial consulting firm that specializes in retirement, investment, estate and tax planning services, traditionally hosts an annual holiday party for its staff and clients. Those who attend are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for members of the local Boys & Girls Club. This year, due to the pandemic, that didn’t happen.
With its principal characters — from Mary, Joseph and their swaddled babe, to the innkeeper without vacancy, flock-watching shepherds, camel-riding magi, angelic seraphim and cherubim, and lowing cattle — Gospel writers Matthew and Luke provided an account of the first Christmas that has stood the test of time as the historical documentation of Christ’s birth. Then, in 2005, after two millenniums, along came Greg and Melissa Baldwin. A husband-and-wife team who headed the drama ministry at Burbank’s Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Baldwins believed the age-old story was in need of a little updating, one that included a cornucopia of odd characters, non sequiturs, puns, pop culture and current-event references, parodies of show tunes and pop hits, and Borscht Belt one-liners.
With the end of this challenging year in sight, many Americans are as acutely aware as ever that a plethora of ideological issues divides us. From political dust-ups to debates on who makes the best pizza in town, it seems that all too often we find ourselves to be either Venusians or Martians who can’t agree on anything. While we all bring a different perspective to the table on a variety of things, almost everyone has one thing in common: the memory of getting a bike for Christmas, a birthday or graduation. Getting a bike, unlike any other item, is something that almost always comes on a special occasion. Rare is the kid who has a memory of his parents just waking up one Saturday morning and saying, “Hey, what do ya say we get you a new bike today?” This, I solidly believe, is something we can all agree upon.