The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association shared a special celebration with 4,000 fourth grade students from 50 schools in the San Gabriel Valley on October 15th when Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts (PSHA) presented its 61st annual Youth Concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The celebration was the 10th anniversary of the venueâ€™s pipe organ, affectionately referred to as “French Friesâ€ â€” so nicknamed because of the distinctive appearance of its 6,145 pipes that range in size from a pencil to a telephone pole. The LA Phil officially kicked-off festivities for this 10-year milestone on October 24th with a series of concerts.
The Youth Concert cleverly weaves educational information into an amusing storyline that keeps the students engaged. This year, a confused plumber played superbly by actor Robert Beuth, came to fix the pipes and received quite an education about theÂ pipe organ from extraordinary organist, Joanne Pearce Martin, who also has great comedic timing and acting skills. Intertwined amongst the fun, students were treated to performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra of Saint-SaÃ«nsâ€™ ExcerptÂ from Symphony No. 3 in C minor (“Organ”), Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and Purcell’s Trumpet Tune and Air, among other pieces.
One of the annual music programs sponsored by PSHA, the Youth Concert is a perennial favorite amongst members because of the instant satisfaction of watching the students’ faces and hearing their laughter and applause. Comments made by students waiting to exit include:
Ashley – “It was greatâ€”gave me different feelings. And it was funny. The plumber made it funny.”
Jack – “I liked it so much because it has so many instruments. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the organ. I like the Walt Disney Concert Hall and I think whoever comes here will like it. I will come back again.”
Grace – “I think it was great. I like how the orchestra and the organ played together; it sounded really great. It was not what I expected. This was my first concert and I want to come here again.”
Hannah – “I love the music and how everything was up and down. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is really cool, really fancy.”
Jason – “It was amazingâ€” all the sounds that the one instrument made.”
Charlotte – “I expected just instruments; I didn’t know they have the organ pipes. It was impressive and amazing. I didn’t know it has all those stoppers. I had fun.â€
“I have waited twenty years for a turn to chair this event,â€ said longtime PSHA member, Gretchen McNally, who was this yearâ€™s Youth Concert Chair. â€œIt requires a great amount of organization to have 4,000 students and 65 buses arrive. It is always fun to see the childrenâ€™s responses and although Iâ€™ve been to Walt Disney Concert Hall many times, this was the first time I heard the organ. It was absolutely spectacular. What a grand day!”
The funding of programs like the Pasadena Showcase House Youth Concert is made possible by the proceeds of the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design. The 2015 Showcase House will be open to the public April 19 to May 17, 2015. Tickets to theÂ Showcase House go on sale February 4, 2015. To purchase tickets, or for more information about PSHA, please visit www.pasadenashowcase.org
About Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts
An all-volunteer organization, PSHA is a non-profit California Corporation whose members donate their time and talents to produce the annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design. It is one of the oldest, largest and most successful house and garden tours in the nation. PSHA just celebrated the milestone of its 50th Showcase House in 2014. Founded in 1948, they have donated nearly $20 million to provide music programs in the community. Examples include the underwriting of concerts, choral productions, musical theater, opera, jazz quartets, marching bands, and orchestras at local schools, senior centers, and through many other non-profit organizations.Â Additionally, a staple part of their program is music therapy for at-risk children, scholarships for young musicians, and music education at a variety of levels. This is in addition to their longstanding support of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.Â PSHA also produces two other highly regarded annual music programs: Music Mobileâ„¢ and Instrumental Competition. An essential part of PSHAâ€™s mission is to nurture the study and appreciation of music and to ensure that music is available to a broad rangeÂ of audiences. For over sixty-five years PSHA has funded and produced programs that have enriched the lives of countless people and brought a lasting legacy to the community.