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On The Town:

Residents take in concert at gardens

August 20, 2008|By RUTH SOWBY

The Jets and the Sharks had their rumble on Friday, but it wasn’t on Broadway. The warring gangs from “West Side Story” showed up in the middle of Descanso Gardens as part of the Pasadena Pops Summer Season.

Titled “I Hear America Singing,” this third concert in the four-part series featured musical selections, poetry and dance with dancers from the Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Some 1,500 music lovers gathered under the oaks at tables and benches for the concert, featuring artists Eric Owens, bass-baritone; Khori Dastoor, soprano; Heather Henderson, mezzo-soprano; David Gagnon, tenor; and Douglas Masek on saxophone.

Glendale residents came out in force and included members of the Altrusa Club of Glendale — Julie Vagts, Janet Santiestevan, Helen Jones and Donnalee Monninger. Joining Altrusa members at their picnic table full of salads and watermelon were Descanso volunteer Mary Grizzle and Beulah Reeves. The six are looking forward to Altrusa’s bingo party and dinner fundraiser at Monninger’s Glendale home this Saturday.

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More Glendale residents looking forward to music about America were Carol and Dick Bennett. Their table guests were Jeannette and Chuck Baly of Eagle Rock and Crystal and Rick Horn from Northridge. YWCA’s 2007 “Woman of Heart and Excellence” honoree Susan Hunt was there with her mother Betty Crancer from La Cañada Flintridge. They were in the first row of the “cheap seats,” according to Hunt, who added, “I love being outside. The setting is great.”

Representing season sponsor Rusnak Auto Group was Liz Rusnak, ever ready to donate to her favorite charities, one of which is the Pasadena Pops. Also ready to picnic and listen to music were Gary and Sandy Smyser, formerly of Glendale, now of Shadow Hills.

Pops music director and conductor Rachael Worby was a vision in white tails. In between selections, she announced the Pops “are going green.” Environmentally friendly are the concert programs on recycled paper.

The Pops 2008 Summer Season at Descanso ends with “Summertime. . .  And the Listening is Easy” on Sept. 5, 6 and 7.

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