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Glendale Philharmonic shines in debut

January 13, 2010|By Ruth Sowby

The Glendale Philharmonic Orchestra made its debut Saturday night with 20 musicians under the capable baton of artistic director and principal conductor Mikael Avetisyan Mikael Avetisyan at the First Baptist Church of Glendale.

Cellist Ruslan Biryukov was inspired by the “perfect acoustics” of the 104-year-old church while performing at one of the free noon concerts held there the first and third Wednesdays of the month. After talking with the church’s senior pastor, the Rev. Charles Updike, about putting on an evening concert series, the new Glendale Philharmonic was launched.

In an age of increasing instability in the arts world, the plan was daring. But there was no hint of shrinking arts Saturday. An audience of more than 400 music lovers in their Sunday best packed the small lobby of the church and made their way into the newly renovated 700-seat sanctuary.

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Lush programs announced the works performed, including those by Bach, Karl Jenkins, Russian composer Andrey Rubstrov, and Armenian composers Arno Babajanian and Edward Mirzoyan.

Glendale City Councilwoman Laura Friedman was joined by Elizabeth Manasserian, president of Glendale Healthy Kids. Violinist Jacqueline Suzuki, a frequent performer at the church’s free noon concert series, was one of the first at will call for tickets. The concert offered tickets from $15 to $50. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the First Baptist Church of Glendale.

More Glendale residents attending included Mary Margaret Smith, Anna Rundle, Sybil Rans, son David Rans and piano teacher Esmiralda Roushanova, toting a dozen roses to present to friend and fellow Russian Biryukov after the concert.

The next concert in the series will be Feb. 6.

Board members of the YWCA of Glendale served tea Sunday to present their 2010 Heart and Excellence Honorees at the Glendale home of Bruce and Valerie Merritt, YWCA board president.

Awardees and Glendale residents Sandra Doughty, Andrea Farestveit, Mary Ann Plumley and Karen Whyte posed for photos and were at their charming best as they welcomed several dozen Y supporters. Honoree Maria Rochart was missing due to family concerns.

The Glendale YWCA will have its annual Legacy Luncheon at the Hilton Glendale on Feb. 25 during which their Heart and Excellence Awardees will be honored.

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