Violinist Jacqueline Suzuki

Glendale resident Shigeto Suzuki and his daughter violinist Jacqueline Suzuki, who plays in the Glendale Noon Concert series. (Courtesy photo / January 8, 2013)

Violinist Jacqueline Suzuki is a one-woman wrecking crew. What she wants to “wreck” is Glendale's image of not being a city known for classical music. Starting its fifth year is the Glendale Noon Concert series Suzuki established in November 2008. The free concerts are offered on the first and third Wednesday of every month. The series' venue is the First Baptist Church of Glendale. The Church presents each concert and financially supports the series. Pastor Charles Updike is Suzuki's biggest fan. Each concert's costs are low thanks to Suzuki's thriftiness. Suzuki takes no salary, only paying the musicians (depending on the number of musicians) approximately $240 in total.

That was Suzuki's budget for Wednesday's (Jan. 2) concert, the 99th in the four-year series. Suzuki did double duty as violinist for Beethoven's Spring Sonata. She was joined by pianist Rosa LoGiudice. About 50 music fans made up the audience for the concert scheduled from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. The short program allows for nearby workers to enjoy music on their lunch hours. A light lunch from nearby Angela's Bistro is available for $6, so no one has to miss a minute of the music.

Suzuki has her hands in more than one pot. She also schedules musicians to play for children in local hospitals. Suzuki began with pediatric patients at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach. But Suzuki always has one eye on the bottom line. She is looking for more funding for her work in hospitals.

Suzuki has been a longtime member of the on-and-off Glendale Symphony. She is a principal player as second chair violinist. By establishing the Noon Concert series, Suzuki hopes to bring “live music on a regular basis by a Glendale-based organization.”Next in the Glendale Noon Concert series is “Calico Winds” — works by Bizet and Janacek on Feb. 6.

More concert news involves the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO). It ended 2012 on an upbeat note. LACO received the largest gift in its 44-year old history. Pasadena residents Terri and Jerry Kohl gave a $1 million challenge gift. Their challenge was met by two anonymous gifts totaling an additional $1 million. The $2 million grand total provides the foundation for LACO's newly established Cornerstone Campaign, a major gifts and endowment initiative. The initiative will further strengthen the orchestra's fiscal standing.

Subsequently, two additional gifts totaling $200,000 have been donated to the Cornerstone Campaign.

The Kohls, generous art patrons, became LACO subscribers in 2007 and have provided financial support to LACO in the past. They are the founders of Brighton, the Southern California-based women's accessories company. “Terri and I are deeply upset that many orchestras around the country have been struggling due to difficult economic times,” Jerry says. “Although LACO has been fiscally responsible, it, like other orchestras, has had to make considerable sacrifices in recent years to maintain its fiscal standing. We chose to make this gift because we don't want the Orchestra to ever compromise its artistic programming, even in difficult economic times.”

LACO presents its Orchestral Series at Los Angeles theatres including Glendale's Alex.


Happy birthday to Kathy Lee

Happy birthday wishes are due to Glendale resident Kathy Lee. On Thursday (Jan. 3) at Bashan Restaurant in Glendale, Kathy and husband Kent Lee celebrated her upcoming birthday. Bashan, specializing in French cuisine, is one of L.A.'s Best 75 restaurants according to Los Angeles Magazine.

The Lees didn't pay attention to the restaurant's standing, however, they simply enjoyed the evening with good cheer and good friend Glendale resident Pat Nelson.

Word has it that the beef cheeks are to die for.

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RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.