Soka University Hosts Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee in “Outrageous Acts of Peace” – Oct. 29, 2014

Permalink 10/17/14 10:54, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Schools


2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and international law professor, Karima Bennoune, will be speaking at the Soka Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, October 29, at 7 p.m. on the topic “Outrageous Acts of Peace: The role ordinary people must play in transforming violence to peace.”  General admission for the public is $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at www.performingarts.soka.edu.

Featured in the award winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Gbowee is best known for organizing a movement of Christian and Muslim women in Liberia, who, in the midst of a decades long and violent civil war, took on the corrupt regime and demanded peace for their shattered county.

The demonstrations culminated in the exile of the unscrupulous leader, and the election of the first female head of state in Africa since Cleopatra.

Gbowee will be in conversation with Bennoune, author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Bennoune’s TED talk about these courageous citizens has been seen by over 1 million people.  (Link: http://bit.ly/1s2ppbe)

The women will share their stories, as well as commentary on critical current events such as the Ebola crisis and violence resulting from global terrorism. In addition to discussion, the audience will learn how we each can be better citizen peacekeepers.

Soka University is offering to reimburse transportation costs and provide free tickets to organized high school groups of 30 or more sophomores and juniors who pre-register. For more information, contact changemakers@soka.edu.

Soka University’s  Soka Changemakers program is coordinating the lecture.  Soka Changemakers connects students and the community to the people, ideas and organizations that change the world for good.   Partners for this program include the Orange County Register, UC Irvine, Center for Living Peace, Center for Citizen Peacebuilding and Students for Global Peacebuilding.

Soka University is a private, four-year liberal arts college and graduate school in Aliso Viejo, CA.

It is ranked in the top 50 liberal arts colleges in the nation by US News and World Report's "Best Colleges 2015."  Founded upon the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights and the sanctity of life, SUA is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs.

Admitted students whose annual family income is $60,000 or less may be eligible for Soka Opportunity Scholarships which cover full tuition.  Additional scholarship opportunities are available for higher income levels.

Calendar Information:

2011 Nobel Laureate in “Outrageous Acts of Peace.”

Soka University Performing Arts Center (www.soka.edu)

Wednesday, October 29, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Wendy Harder

Director, Community Relations

Soka University

1 University Drive

Aliso Viejo, CA 92656


2013 Grammy Award Winner Gregg Karukas to Guest On Next “Breakfast with Gary & Kelly”

Permalink 10/17/14 10:51, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, The Arts

Gregg Karukas at piano-photo credit Sherry Barnett.jpg


Saddleback College radio station KSBR 88.5FM and the City of Mission Viejo are proud to announce that 2013 Grammy Award winning keyboardist Gregg Karukas will guest on the next “Breakfast with Gary and Kelly” radio for TV broadcast on Saturday, November 8th. The Saturday morning radio show will broadcast live starting at 9:00 a.m. from the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way in Mission Viejo.

A studio audience will be welcomed in for the 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon show; doors will open at 9:30 a.m. with the final hour being videotaped for later broadcast.

The program airs on the City of Mission Viejo’s MVTV Channel 30 and will also air on Saddleback College’s SCTV Channel 39 throughout the Cox Communication cable system in south Orange County. Past shows are also available anytime on YouTube. The audience will be admitted free of charge but seating is limited.  Reservations can be made online at www.ksbr.org.

Gregg has released 11 critically acclaimed projects that have generated countless radio hits, and his musical versatility, easygoing nature and pro work ethic has kept him in demand as a musical director and keyboardist for many of the top artists across numerous musical genres.

He has toured with Boney James, Ronnie Laws, Peter White, Rick Braun, Dave Koz, Melissa Manchester, Larry Carlton, Sergio Mendes, Brenda Russell, Jeffrey Osborne and been featured in various all-star groups in recent years.

Gregg has received multiple Best Keyboardist nominations at the Oasis and National Smooth Jazz Awards and has produced an array of artists at his own Nightowl Studios, including Kirk Whalum, Peter White, Craig Chaquico, Gabriela Anders, The Pointer Sisters and New Age/crossover pianist David Lanz. His songs have been recorded by Jessy J., Richard Elliot, George Benson, Chaquico, Arnold McCuller, Pauline Wilson, Kenia and Deniece Williams.

His brand new September release, Soul Secrets, has exploded onto the charts and features a musical who’s-who of guest artists.

Now in its fourth season on TV, past guests on “Breakfast with Gary & Kelly” have included Al Jarreau, Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Jonathan Butler, Debbie Reynolds, Linda Evans, David Benoit, Peter White, Diane Schuur, Keiko Matsui, Rick Braun, Paul Brown, Bill Cantos, Brian Culbertson, Nick Colionne, Spencer Day, and more.  Gary and Kelly have conducted numerous remote broadcasts from locations all over Southern California, including the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach and Catalina Island, and they have hosted many celebrity guests.

KSBR is a community service of Saddleback College.  The program continues the partnership between Saddleback College and the City of Mission Viejo. For more information on the Radio on TV monthly series and how to become part of the audience for this very special November 8th show, please tune to 88.5 KSBR or visit their website at www.KSBR.org.

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. For more information, please visit www.saddleback.edu and for Fine Arts information, please visit www.saddleback.edu/arts.

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Photo Credit: Sherry Barnett



Nina Welch

Fine Arts Public Information Officer

Saddleback College

28000 Marguerite Parkway

Mission Viejo, CA 92692



Permalink 10/17/14 10:48, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Pacific Symphony

pac sym logo




From turbulent, agitated and ominous to lyrical and tender—it’s a passionate journey the audience won’t soon forget when Pacific Symphony and guest pianist Haochen Zhang deliver Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in all its glory. Following Zhang’s BBC Proms debut, The Telegraph (United Kingdom) called the international piano sensation “one of those hot young Chinese virtuosi everyone’s talking about.”

Led by Bulgarian-born guest conductor Rossen Milanov, the orchestra then performs a work by Brahms, as the composer steps out of Beethoven’s shadow with his rich, ingenious Second Symphony. The cheery and almost pastoral mood of the piece often invites comparisons with Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. Rounding out the versatile program is Thomas Adès’ “Three Studies from Couperin,” of which The Jerusalem Post wrote: Such a combination of enchanting, sensitive lyricism and hypnotizing forcefulness is a phenomenon encountered very rarely.”

Taking place Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 13-15, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, “Mozart & Brahms” continues the 2014-15 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series. Tickets for this concert are $25-$99. A preview talk with Alan Chapman begins at 7 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.

“I view the three composers on the program as peers who could have a lot to discuss with each other, should they be invited to dine at the same dinner table,” says Maestro Milanov. “The new air of Romanticism certainly prevails in Mozart’s D Minor Concerto, while the abundance of melodic beauty in Brahms Symphony No. 2 connects well with Mozart’s ideal of building a

symphonic structure. And the work of Tomas Adès looks at the past through the eyes of a curator -in a modern art museum, creating parallels and interesting juxtapositions.”

“Milanov masterfully framed the piece with a traditional sense of pacing, light and shade, tension and release, beginning and end that drew you so much into this idiosyncratic world that you no longer needed to probe it for logic. It effectively seeped into your consciousness.… You couldn’t hope for a more inviting performance”—Philadelphia Inquirer.

“This will be the first time I am leading Pacific Symphony,” says Milanov. “I am looking forward to meeting the musicians. The concert hall has an excellent reputation and I am excited to see how it frames the music being performed there—so there is a lot to look forward to.”

“Mozart’s music is always very special to me, especially its delicacy and intimacy as well as its simplicity,” says pianist Zhang. “And this music has an unusual darkness and dramatic intensity that is more present and symbolic in the works of Beethoven—another composer I feel very closely associated with, despite of their seemingly extreme differences. I hope this opposing duality is what the audience would feel and appreciate in my interpretation of this very unique piece.”

In the hands of Zhang, winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition (and also the youngest contestant), Mozart’s Concerto No. 20 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, K. 466, is a deeply felt, intricately woven, brooding but in the end exultant masterpiece. Nineteenth-century audiences and composers were wild about this concerto—mainly because it was regarded as Beethovenish. No praise was considered higher at the time. Indeed, K. 466 was a favorite of the “Titan” himself and figured prominently in Beethoven’s repertoire as a concert pianist. He even wrote cadenzas for it, since Mozart had not supplied any himself. Today, it stands in somewhat lonesome splendor alongside Mozart’s only other minor-key piano concerto.

Brahms, who was born in 1833, is considered to be both a traditionalist and an innovator; someone who wrote compositions heavily rooted in the Classical and Baroque styles. He spent much of his professional career in Vienna and had a deep understanding of the musical interconnection between harmony and rhythm. He composed numerous works for chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, piano and for voice and chorus before his death in 1897. His symphonic structure. And the work of Tomas Adès looks at the past through the eyes of a curator in a modern art music, creating parallels and interesting juxtapositions.

Symphony No. 2 calls for considerable musical strengths, including a seamless string ensemble, tonal elegance, expressive detailing and unbridled brilliance—all coming together in a commanding performance of fire and nobility. Composed by Brahms in the summer of 1877, its composition was brief in comparison with the 15 years it took the composer to complete his First Symphony.

Thomas Adès is one of today’s most formidable musical talents, who—not unlike Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven—is equally at home composing, conducting or performing his own music and that of others at the keyboard. For all the piano repertoire he plays—his recordings range from Schubert’s jolly “Trout” Quintet to arrangements of Nancarrow’s superhuman player-piano compositions—there is one composer whose music is never far from Adès’ home piano: François Couperin.

“Couperin the Great” (1668–1733) was the most accomplished member of one of France’s legendary musical families. He served as Louis XIV’s organist and court composer and wrote music whose opulence was on par with the ornate Rococo style blossoming in France’s art and architecture. His most famous compositions are four volumes of harpsichord studies, each edition packed with highly ornamented melodies under descriptive titles. In “Three Studies from Couperin,” composed in 2006, Adès extracts three movements from those harpsichord works. The first movement, Les Amusemens (Amusements), captures the hazy shimmer of Couperin’s ornate texture. By contrast, Les Tours de passe-passe (Sleight of Hand) is full of bright plucks and swells, punctuated by rhythmic hiccups. Following its punchy conclusion, the next movement enters with a minor-key gravitas fitting its title, L’Ame-en-peine (The Soul in Torment). The work ends with dark, sonorous and solemn themes.

Since his gold medal win at the Van Cliburn Competition, 24-year-old Chinese pianist Zhang has captivated audiences in the United States, Europe and Asia with a unique combination of deep musical sensitivity, fearless imagination and spectacular virtuosity. His return to Fort Worth as part of the Cliburn Concerts series was lauded by the Dallas Morning News as “the kind of program you’d expect from a seasoned master, served up with dazzling virtuosity where wanted and astonishing sophistication elsewhere” and hailed among the top 10 performances of 2010 by both the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His Boston debut under the auspices of the Celebrity Series met with high praise by audiences and critics, making the year-end lists as part of the Boston Phoenix’s top 10 classical music stories of the year.

The Boston Globe remarked that Zhang displayed “poetic temperament as much as technical power… [he is] a pianist with ample reserves of power whose imagination seems nonetheless most kindled by subtle delicacy.”

Milanov is the music director designate of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Princeton Symphony and principal conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain, as well as Music Director of the nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey. He has established himself as a conductor with a considerable international presence, performing for major orchestras across the globe. He has also collaborated with some of the world’s preeminent artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell and Midori, as well as with internationally esteemed vocalists.

Noted for his versatility, Milanov is also a well-known figure in the worlds of opera and ballet. He was named Bulgaria’s Musician of the Year in 2005, was among the top 100 most influential people in New Jersey in 2014 and won an ASCAP award in 2011.

The Symphony’s Classical series performances are made possible by the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation, with additional support from Mercedes-Benz, the official vehicle, the Avenue of the Arts Wyndham Hotel, KUSC and PBS SoCal. The concert on Thursday, Nov. 13, is being sponsored by Mrs. And Mr. William Wang.

Jayce Keane

Director of Public Relations

Pacific Symphony

3631 S. Harbor Blvd. Suite 100

Santa Ana, CA 92704

Direct: 714/ 876-2383 │Tickets: 714/ 755-5799



Veterans sought for special recognition Nov. 6 - City of Aliso Viejo

Permalink 10/17/14 10:44, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings

The city of Aliso Viejo is seeking veterans with local ties to honor during its annual Veterans Appreciation program on Nov. 6.  The program is a small token of the city's appreciation for the men and women who have bravely served our country.

Aliso Viejo residents and those who work in the city are encouraged to submit names of military veterans with their years of service. Veterans of all wars -- WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, the War on Iraq and other conflicts are sought. Veterans who served during peacetime are also eligible to participate.

The city will recognize the veterans at 6 p.m. at the Aliso Viejo Conference Center, 31 Santa Barbara Drive. The event includes a delectable dinner and dessert.

To participate or submit a name, email Community Service Coordinator Gracie Duran at gduran@cityofalisoviejo.com and provide the veteran's name, branch of service, years of service and Aliso Viejo home or business address. Active duty personnel are also sought for this special recognition.


Kelly Tokarski
KT Community Relations

Frenzied Farce Lend Me a Tenor at Saddleback College

Permalink 10/17/14 10:43, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Schools, The Arts



The Department of Theatre Arts is thrilled to present Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig on November 6th-9th in the McKinney Theatre at Saddleback College.

Directed by Robert Prior, this non-stop, door-slamming comedy set in a 1930s Cleveland hotel room, follows the antics of a world-famous opera singer preparing to perform his greatest role at the gala season opener.

The play was produced on both the West End (1986) and Broadway (1989).

It received nine Tony Award nominations and won for Best Actor (Philip Bosco) and Best Director (Jerry Zaks). A Broadway revival opened in 2010. Lend Me a Tenor has been translated into sixteen languages and produced in twenty-five countries.

Dates: November 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 p.m.; November 8, 9 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling (949) 582-4656 (noon-4 Tuesday-Friday) and online at www.saddleback.edu/arts.  Prices are $15 general; $10 students/seniors.


The Department of Theatre Arts program at Saddleback College produces several fully-staged shows each year.  All students are given the opportunity to audition for every production yet Theatre Arts students are given priority in the casting process.  In addition there are numerous opportunities for students to contribute in backstage activities through the Entertainment and Theater Technology program.

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo, just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit.  Free parking is available in Lot 12.  Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway turn left to the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Turn right into the campus and take the third left to Theatre Circle, turning right into Lot 12.

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community.  Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals.  For more information, please visit www.saddleback.edu and for Fine Arts information, please visit www.saddleback.edu/arts.



Jordan Kay (standing), Andrew Paul (left), Felisha Marie (right)

Photographer: Ken Kinder


Nina Welch

Fine Arts Public Information Officer

Saddleback College

28000 Marguerite Parkway

Mission Viejo, CA 92692


Over $2,000 Raised For Homeless Families At Yearly Cut A Thon - Tribeca Salon

Permalink 10/15/14 15:50, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Business, Charitable





Tribeca Salon held its yearly Cut a Thon Oct. 5 to raise money and awareness for the Village of Hope in Tustin.




Tribeca's own stylists and their skincare gal donated their time and talent . $25 haircuts along with $2 tacos, beer, and wine  - with all the money going to the Village of Hope.

Live music was provided along with face painting and balloon animals for the kids. Over $2000 was raised .

Tribeca also has a 4 chair Salon at The Village of Hope in Tustin.



The Village of Hope has 190 men women and children who live there.Tribeca Salon is also looking for Hairstylists to volunteer one day a month at The Village of Hope.

Tribeca would like to thank Whole Foods for the taco supplies and Stadium Brewing company for the refreshments.

Tribeca also had a silent auction along with a raffle.

All gifts were donated by friends of Tribeca Salon..


Date Change Announced for Szymanowski Quartet with Pianist Joseph Kalichstein at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Permalink 10/15/14 15:08, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: The Arts


Concert Now Scheduled for 
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts has announced that the Szymanowski Quartet concert with pianist Joseph Kalichstein, originally scheduled for February 1, 2015, will be moved to the evening prior on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 8 p.m. in Samueli Theater.

Festival of Arts Exhibitor Application Deadline Approaches for 2015 Summer Art Show

Permalink 10/15/14 14:47, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: The Arts

The deadline to apply for the 2015 Festival of Arts – California’s Premier Fine Art Show is quickly approaching. The Festival of Arts is a prestigious, highly competitive, regional juried fine art show featuring original artwork by southern Orange County’s finest artists.


The annual exhibit will run July 5 – August 31, 2014. Artists who would like to apply are asked to submit three digital images per media and a completed application form to the Festival of Arts by October 31, 2013 (by 4pm). Interested applicants may fill out an application from the Festival’s website, www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org, or call (949) 464-4234.

The Festival of Arts accepts applications from artists residing in the following cities:  Aliso Viejo, Balboa, Balboa Island, Capistrano Beach, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest (El Toro), Mission Viejo, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.  Artists must be able to show that they have resided in one of the aforementioned cities for at least one year prior to October 31, 2014. Jurying fees are $50 per medium submitted.

The jurors will score the submitted artwork based on quality, intention and content; excellence of craftsmanship; facility with media; excellence in the use of design elements; and professional presentation.


The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization whose proceeds support the arts and art education in and about Orange County. This prestigious juried art exhibition is Southern California’s oldest and most respected outdoor art show. Each summer the works of 140 accomplished artists are showcased to the public in a six-acre art haven.  The event is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, California.  For general information visit www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org or call (949) 464-4234.

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Pacific Symphony continues to enhance its reputation as one of America’s great orchestras - Pacific Symphony’s Annual Report to the Community

Permalink 10/15/14 14:44, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Pacific Symphony

pac sym logo





Dear Friends of Music and Orange County’s Pacific Symphony:

Welcome to Pacific Symphony’s Annual Report to the Community. We are delighted to share with you some of the musical highlights and memories of the Symphony’s 2013-14 season – the 35th season of Orange County’s resident professional symphony orchestra.

This past season provided many reasons for celebration. By all accounts, Pacific Symphony continues to enhance its reputation as one of America’s great orchestras.

Through performances of well-known repertoire, introduction of new works by some of the world’s most renowned composers, and in-depth contextual programming that takes our audiences far beyond a passive listening experience, Pacific Symphony makes classical music alive and relevant to today’s audiences.

Over the course of the season, fourteen of our concerts were sold-out, and several of our concert series had record single ticket sales.

To assure continued financial stability, the Symphony can proudly report an all-time record in fundraising. Strong growth in our annual fund, special campaigns, and unique events all contributed to a 14% increase in overall contributed income, and allow us to cross the $10 million mark in total contributed funds.

We are deeply grateful to the patrons, volunteers, family and corporate foundations, and so many others who continue to invest in a strong resident orchestra with their annual gifts. In total, the Symphony received 2,087 gifts, ranging from $1 to $2,000,000. We truly appreciate every single donation.

Ultimately, the strength of an organization might be best measured by the talent, passion, and dedication of its people. Beginning with our dedicated and generous Board of Directors and Board of Counselors, acknowledging our passionate volunteers and support groups, and calling out our talented musicians, conductors, and management staff, Pacific Symphony achieves greatness through the synergetic accomplishment of these loyal individuals.

Our diverse publics, ranging from pre-school “junior conductors” at a Symphony in the Cities programs to seniors who hear the orchestra’s performances through our KUSC radio broadcasts are direct beneficiaries of these efforts. But nothing surpasses the experience of nearly 100 world-class artists performing live for us in a superb acoustical setting.

Whether you have joined us recently, or are among the large group of those who have enjoyed growing up with the orchestra we thank you for your continued support.

At today’s meeting we formally announced that two major gifts have been received in the past several months. Each of these gifts is in excess of $1 million, and is restricted to the Symphony’s permanent endowment fund, assuring that their vision and generosity will impact future generations of Pacific Symphony audiences.

We are pleased to announce that our Principal Cello Chair, held by our outstanding leader, Tim Landauer, for the past 22 years, will be named the Catherine and James Emmi Principal Cello Chair. In addition, our Principal Second Violin Chair will be named the John and Elizabeth Stahr Principal Second Violin Chair. Bridget Dolkas has been a member of the Pacific Symphony for the past sixteen years, and has served the orchestra in many creative ways.

As a relatively young orchestra, we have accomplished so much that other orchestras strive to achieve. One essential key to our future is to equal the endowments held by orchestras who have had the benefit of major gifts over several generations. These two significant gifts from the Stahrs and the Emmis will help in the growth of that endowment.

As we embark on the truly unique celebration of Carl St.Clair’s 25th Anniversary Season and the 20th Anniversary of our seminal education program, the Frieda Belinfante Class Act partnership, we look forward to welcoming you personally, and regularly, to the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall as we enjoy and celebrate this great Orange County treasure.

Aiding families in Sierra Leone - LDS Church's Humanitarian Arm Sends Supplies

Permalink 10/15/14 14:35, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Religions, Charitable

Photo from Deseret News, courtesy of Douglas Stoker


The  LDS Church through its humanitarian arm, LDS Charities, sent food and other emergency supplies to more than 1,500 Latter-day Saint families and others in Sierra Leone during the recent state of emergency — the Ebola-virus outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 500 citizens, including two members of the Church.

LDS Charities provided rice, cooking oil, hygiene supplies and chlorine to families in Freetown, Kissy, Lungi, Kossoh Town, Makeni, Bo and Kenema. The supplies arrived during a government-mandated, Sept. 19-21 lock down, during which families were required to stay at home and asked to reflect and pray.

“I am a mother of two children and was engaged in [small] trading to maintain my children . . . before the crisis,” said a new member of the Church in Makeni. “The Ebola crisis has brought unemployment to most of us ... [and] all the money I had got finished ... I had nothing to upkeep my children. The support received from the Church today has brought joy and confidence in my family and we are grateful to God.”

As the suffering of the masses increases, the people of Sierra Leone face their greatest challenge – the shortage of food, especially in quarantined areas.

“I am glad for this supply because we were wondering about what to eat during the ‘stay-at-home,’ ” said Farissa Fomba. “But God has blessed us. We are so happy. We appreciate Him and will always continue to worship Him.”

“As a widow and head of family ... we were just thinking where to start during the three-day lock down,” said Mary Margay, a member of the Kissy 2nd Branch. “We feel overjoyed.”

The 60-90-day state of public emergency was declared in August to help the government tackle the outbreak. Despite efforts to contain the virus, it continued to spread, prompting the three-day “stay-at-home" — referred to as “ose to ose Ebola talk” — during which volunteers educated communities and conducted routine checks for possible symptoms.

Because members of the Church were confined to their homes during the three-day, government-mandated lock down, local Church leaders authorized the families to conduct home-based sacrament meetings for those living in the same compound (basically in the same house with adjoining rooms).

“It was a spiritual reflection meeting ... with 22 of us, including two members of other faiths,” said President Sahr E. Fomba, leader of the Kissy 2nd Branch. “What a spiritual moment this is!”

In Freetown, the Oneil and Smith families conducted a sacrament meeting in the home of Bishop Titus Oneil, leader of the Dwarzark Ward. During the meeting, his wife expressed her devotion to Jesus Christ and hope for an end to the suffering.

“I know that Heavenly Father loves us,” Fatmaqa Oneil said. “That is why He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to come and teach us the way we should live our lives in this world. I know that if we follow His pattern, Heavenly Father will guide us from this dreadful disease as He did for the Israelites in the land of Egypt.”

She continued, “And if we continue to be faithful in keeping the commandments, we will be blessed, our country will be blessed.”

President Fomba reminded family members they were meeting in the same residence where Latter-day Saint missionaries first introduced the Church’s teachings to the family.

“Some time back in 1993, missionaries knocked on the door of our hillside residence at Cassel Farm, Kissy Freetown ... in an effort to introduce us to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he explained. “We lived in a difficult terrain and therefore required much courage and faith to climb up the hill where my family is homed.

“I remember the effort and sacrifice of those missionaries who made us feel the power of the gospel, which eventually led us eight, including Mum and Dad, to be members of the Church.” -- Africa West Public Affairs


Ocean Institute Jazzed to Host 2015 Jazz Festival

Permalink 10/15/14 14:27, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Charitable, The Arts


Dana Point’s Ocean Institute hosts the 13th Annual Jazz Festival

January 23 – 25. Tickets on sale now.



Performer Norman Brown

Hot licks and cool tones will flow through the Ocean Institute again from January 23-25, 2015 during the 2015 Jazz Festival.  Jazz greats Rick Braun and Friends Elliott Yamin and Norman Brown will perform for a limited audience on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Sunday Encore will feature a special guest performer to be named at a later date. Proceeds from the Jazz Festival benefit the Ocean Institute, Dana Point to help fund their hands-on educational programs and workshops for children age K-12.


EY hi-res Counter (640x450).jpg

Elliott Yamin

This year, tickets are on sale early. A night out with Rick Braun and Friends will make a great holiday gift for your favorite jazz aficionados – get them while they’re hot!

Ticket Prices:

Friday Concert Jan. 23:

Includes Wine Reception, Hors d’oeuvres by Luciana’s Ristorante, Auction and Concert

General Admission - $95.00 per person

Premier Seating -      $125.00 per person

VIP Seating and Reception - $250.00 per person

Saturday Concert and Gala, Jan. 24:

Includes gourmet dinner from top area Chefs:

$ 500.00 per person

Table of 10: $5,000.00

VIP Table with Rick and Christiane Braun (1 only): $7,500.00 for 10

Sunday Encore Concert:

Includes Bristol Farms gourmet boxed lunch, wine and beer

General Admission:    $75.00

Premier Seating:         $100.00

Table for 10:               $1,000.00



Rick Braun

Special events are planned throughout the festival weekend, including silent and live auctions, a Friday night wine and appetizer reception, Saturday night Gala Gourmet Dinner, and Sunday afternoon boxed lunch.

Tickets are available now at www.oijazzfestival.com or call 949-496-2274, ext. 337 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Using the ocean as the classroom, the Ocean Institute inspires children to learn. The Ocean Institute has become nationally known for its hands-on marine science, environmental education and maritime history programs. More than 115,000 K-12 students and 6,000 teachers annually participate in the Institute's 61 award-winning, immersion style programs.


Donia Moore

iwrite words


From a simple rippling pool of water, ancient myths are conjured into gorgeous imagery, provocative moments and breathtaking storytelling - Vanguard University Theatre Department

Permalink 10/14/14 17:06, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Schools, The Arts


A Contemporary Drama presents stunning imagery and breathtaking storytelling


Metamorphoses Web.jpg


By Mary Zimmerman

Directed by Susan K. Berkompas

From a simple rippling pool of water, ancient myths are conjured into gorgeous imagery, provocative moments and breathtaking storytelling.

The critically-acclaimed, record-breaking Chicago engagement led to a Broadway production that garnered Mary Zimmerman the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director. Enter this theatrical cocoon and be transformed by the power of your imagination. Enchanting… Lyrical… Serenely alluring. – Washington Post  | Suitable for teens and older

Friday, October 24................... 8:00 pm (Open Forum)

Saturday, October 25 ..............  8:00 pm

Sunday, October 26 ................  2:00 pm

Thursday, October 30.............. 8:00 pm

Friday, October 31 ..................  8:00 pm

Saturday, November 1 ............  2:00 and 8:00 pm

Sunday, November 2 ...............  2:00 pm

Go to www.vanguardtickets.com to purchase tickets online

General admission -- $14.00

Seniors age 60 and older -- $12.00

Groups of 10 or more -- $12.00

VU Faculty / Staff -- $12.00

VU Alumni -- $12.00

College Students with ID -- $12.00

All shows are presented at the Lyceum Theater located on the Vanguard University campus off Newport Boulevard.


Call the Vanguard University Theatre Department box office at 714-668-6145 for more information.

Fifteen Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) seniors have been named semifinalists in the 60th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program

Permalink 10/13/14 09:48, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Schools

Students Compete to be Named National Merit Scholars


The 15 students are part of approximately 16,000 semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of the nation's high school seniors. Last year, 16 CUSD students reached the semifinals.


The District's semifinalists are: Edward Guo, Forrest Li, Cameron McCartin, Juno Son, and Justin Yee from Aliso Niguel High School; Hao Zhou, Daniel Achee, and Renee Cai from Capistrano Valley High School; Christian Martindale from Dana Hills High School; Mark McGuire from San Clemente High School; Cole Morgan, Evan Morgan, and Esther Wong from San Juan Hills High School; and Devan Agrawal and Amanda Brown from Tesoro High School.

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $35 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the National Merit Scholar title.


Finalists will be announced in February.

Freaky Fridays!!! LEGOLAND California Resort Adds Two Friday Nights to Its Brick-Or-Treat Halloween Celebration!

Permalink 10/11/14 21:17, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Life in South O.C.



CARLThe biggest kids’ Halloween celebration in San Diego, Brick-or Treat and Brick-or-Treat Party Nights, presented by Shutterfly, is about to get bigger at LEGOLAND® California Resort. The family theme park is adding two Friday nights (Oct. 17 & 24) to its Halloween festivities.

Now six nights in October, Brick-or-Treat Party Nights features a variety of family activities including the Ghost Cruise Scavenger Hunt,  Brick-or-Treat Trail including a LEGO® Legends of CHIMA™ toy giveaway, a new bonus treat station and dance party at SEA LIFE® Aquarium and LEGOLAND Hotel is joining in the fun with its own Brick-or-Treat entertainment.


Brick or Treat 5.jpg

Every Saturday night and two Fridays in October from 5 to 9 p.m., the Park transforms into a not-too-spooky Halloween celebration. Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $30 if purchased online in advance.


Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, nighttime trick-or-treating for children 12 and under at 12 treat stations throughout LEGOLAND California Resort where kids can gather goodies, tasty treats and other surprises.


Brick or Treat.jpg

The LEGO themed treat stations offer a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience for all to enjoy during Party Nights with festive music, live entertainment, interaction with the “Boo Crew,” the animated light show “Spirits of Halloween” and fireworks capping off the night at 9 p.m. 

During Party Nights, guests can “boo-gie” down at three frighteningly-fun dance parties: the new Hubble Bubble’s Dance Party, the Monster Fighter Mash Character Dance Party or Wanda’s Jellyfish Jam in SEA LIFE Aquarium.  

Several ghostly fun areas of LEGOLAND are open late and included in the  Party Nights special event ticket on October 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25, including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill, Imagination Zone and Park favorites: Coastersaurus, Safari Trek and Fairy Tale Brook. Kids can participate in fun activities like Hubble Bubble’s Ultimate Dance Party, mingling with the “Boo Crew” including Silly Scarecrow, tap dancing skeletons, Dr. Hyde’s percussion cart plus the interactive show, “Mail Order Monsters.”

Special event guests can also enjoy entertainment from the “Witchettes,” a splash artist creating Halloween-themed paintings to music and master ventriloquist Kevin Johnson returns to the stage at LEGOLAND.

Also new, an additional treat station at SEA LIFE Aquarium giving guests two bonus treat stations filled with treats and other surprises to its Brick-or-Treat Party Night festivities. Admission to SEA LIFE is included with a Brick-or-Treat Party Night special event admission.

Daytime trick or treating is available from 12 – 5 p.m. on weekends in October, with three treat stations at LEGOLAND and one  treat station at SEA LIFE Aquarium. SEA LIFE also offers a special themed daily dive show featuring underwater pumpkin carving, a Halloween puppet show and daily creepy creature appearances every weekend in October adding to the Halloween fun!   

LEGOLAND Hotel also joins in Brick-or-Treat spirit with Halloween decorations, nightly entertainment from the Boo Crew’s Dr. Rodney Rathbone and his monster fighting crew and Halloween building activities for the kids.

In the Halloween spirit, community sponsor Union Bank is donating 300 tickets to local Boys and Girls Clubs allowing members to visit this year’s Brick-or-Treat festivities during the first weekend of the month-long celebration.

During Brick-or-Treat, LEGOLAND is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

SEA LIFE is staying open until 8 p.m. on Saturdays for those wanting to explore the Aquarium after dark.

Admission to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights can be purchased for as low as $30 if purchased online in advance. For exclusive savings and more information on Brick-or Treat and Brick-or Treat Party Nights, visitwww.BRICKORTREAT.com or call 760-918-5346. 

LEGOLAND® California Resort includes LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE® Aquarium, LEGOLAND Water Park and LEGOLAND Hotel. All are geared for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. At LEGOLAND California, you’ll find more than 60 rides, shows and attractions including LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland Model Display, Pirate Reef and Dino Island.  SEA LIFE Aquarium is home to more than 5,000 living creatures and incorporates LEGO® models into a child’s voyage to the depths of the ocean featuring play zones, fun facts and quiz trails. LEGOLAND Water Park features more than seven slides, sandy beaches and the unique Build-A-Raft River. New this year, LEGO Legends of CHIMA Water Park presented by Cartoon Network where guests splash about in a Lion Temple Wave Pool, slide out of a crocodile’s mouth and race LEGO boats. The nation’s first LEGOLAND Hotel features 250 rooms, all themed either as pirate, adventure, or kingdom plus more than 3,500 LEGO models throughout the three-story hotel. For more information, visit  www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO (5346).

Strong Homes-Strong Communities; an Interfaith Conference Saturday October 11, 2014

Permalink 10/10/14 17:26, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Religions

Strong Homes-Strong Communities


an Interfaith Conference


hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mission Viejo Stake

Continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m.; Mayor of Mission Viejo will be the keynote speaker;

workshop topics on teenage years, family traditions, teaching children to work and

serve, family history, positive uses of technology, successful single parenting,

effective grand-parenting and enriching marriage throughout the years;

child careprovided.


LDS Church Mission Viejo Stake Center

27976 Marguerite Pkwy Mission Viejo


The Found Theatre Is Proud To Host Our Community Partner: Arts & Services For Disabled

Permalink 10/10/14 17:01, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Charitable, The Arts

CORE 10: Defining Ourselves

Join us for a month-long celebration honoring the creative acheivements of artists with disabilities!

Since 2004 we have partnered with The Arts and Disability Network at UCLA to showcase artists with disabilities from around the world.  CORE has been a forum for artists, arts and disability advocates and the community at large to build common bonds and promote themselves through the arts, while ensuring accessibility for all with sign language interpretation, braille and audio description.

Throughout October, CORE 10 celebrates the accomplishments of each participating artist, supporter and arts and disability advocate over the years.  In honor of the personal and creative accomplishments of many, from breaking down barriers to contributing to the changing perceptions on disability, we joyfully acknowledge this milestone event in your name and invite the community to celebrate with us!

CORE 10 is proud to be a part of Arts Month and Disability Awareness Month, expanding our programming to include education and advocacy events that compliment the visual and performing arts line-up! Additional details can be found and shared herebit.ly/COREEVENTS

Join us for an Inclusive Art Making Workshop for Children and Youth, Visual Arts Exhibition, Arts and Disability Panel Discussion and Multi-Media Performance Series all month long!


Inclusive Art-Making Workshop

Printmaking workshop for children & youth-with and without disabilities

Space is limited, please arrive promptly or contact us to reserve your spot

Thursday, October 9, 4:00-5:00pm

Hellada Gallery

Visual Arts Opening Reception

Curated by Erin McCullough

Saturday, October 11, 5:00-9:00pm

Hellada Gallery

Dissolving Boundaries: The Disappearing Perimeter (please note date correction)

Arts & Disability Panel Discussion

moderated by Chet Cooper, Ability Magazine

Wednesday, October 15, 7:00-8:00pm

The Found Theatre

Multi-Media Performance Series

Master of Ceremonies: Joel Anderson

Saturday, October 18, 7:30-9:00pm

The Found Theatre


Permalink 10/09/14 16:56, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Life in South O.C., Charitable, The Arts

Debbie Reynolds Headshot small.jpg



The Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation (APACF) (http://www.apacf.org) is proud to announce headlining the Great Gatsby Gala Benefit Concert will be beloved Hollywood legend, DEBBIE REYNOLDS.

The fourth annual GREAT GATSBY GALA will be held on Saturday, November 1st at Fox Pointe Manor, the magnificent estate residence of Dr. Howard and Linda Knohl in the Peralta Hills area of Anaheim.

Ms. Reynolds’ versatility as an actress has won her the respect of her colleagues and the affection of audiences all around the world who know her from her countless appearances in movies, on stage and TV.

She is best known for her roles in “Singin’ in the Rain” and her Academy Award nominated portrayal as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Ms. Reynolds has also appeared in numerous television shows such as “Will & Grace,” “Perry Mason,” “The Love Boat” as well as her many appearances on The Tonight Show.

Linda Knohl, president of the APAC Foundation board of directed stated, “We recognize and appreciate Ms. Reynolds dedication to the performing arts. Her star power brings the Great Gatsby Gala to new heights and represents a crowning achievement for the Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation.”

As previously announced, Master of Ceremonies for the Great Gatsby Gala will be southern California broadcasting icon, NBC4 Weathercaster, FRITZ COLEMAN.

After only a few years, the GREAT GATSBY GALA is one of the most fashionable and eagerly anticipated fundraising events in Orange County.

VIP ticket holders will enjoy a cocktail reception followed by a sumptuous dinner and live auction.

Following dinner, VIP guests will have front row seats to the APAC Foundation Benefit Concert on the Great Lawn with a line-up of stellar entertainment and celebrity guests under the stars at Dr. Howard & Linda Knohl's Fox Pointe Manor.

Guests are encouraged to dress in their best "Gatsby" attire.

All proceeds from the event will be used to support the building of a world class performing arts center in the city of Anaheim and its many programs including the APACF senior outreach program.

The mission of the outreach program is to create or reignite an appreciation of the performing arts by providing the community a series of lectures and quality educational entertainment.

Ticket prices to the GREAT GATSBY GALA are $250 for VIP and $75 for concert only. Tickets and underwriting sponsorships are available online at www.apacf.org.

SAVE THE DATE! November 1, 2014. You won’t want to miss this fun-filled and exciting event!

For more information, please visit www.apacf.org or call 714-554-2711.

About Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation


The Anaheim Performing Arts Center Foundation, a 501(c) (3) Tax Exempt organization, has been formed to establish and maintain a signature building with state-of-the-art performance and educational facilities. Working with the City of Anaheim, corporate and private sponsors, we are dedicated to making the dream of a cultural center and performing arts theater in Anaheim become a reality.

Found Theatre Hosts Dylan Thomas Centennial Celebration

Permalink 10/09/14 16:51, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Life in South O.C., The Arts


It's all Dylan, all evening as folksinger/educator Ross Altman presents an evening of poetry and music in observance of the Dylan Thomas Centennial on Sunday, October 26, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Found Theatre in Long Beach. Offering insights into and anecdotes about both artists, Altman will host this very special celebration featuring the work of the brilliant Welsh poet and his superstar namesake, Bob Dylan (aka Bob Zimmerman).

This is a participatory event in which the public is invited to share a Thomas poem or a Dylan tune...or just come and enjoy the performances. Signups can be done in advance by calling 562/433-3363 or by emailing info@foundtheatre.org, or at the event if slots are still available.

Los Angeles folk singer Ross Altman has a PhD in Modern Literature; when he left the classroom for the stage he turned the stage into a classroom. Every so often he produces literary events such as this to uphold what Matthew Arnold called the best that has been thought and said. Ross and Found Theatre executive director Virginia DeMoss have invited a few  of their favorite fellow performers to guarantee a good show.

The Found's Dylan Thomas Cenntennial coincides with October is Arts Month in Long Beach, as well as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Donations for the All Dylan Evening are encouraged and 100% of funds raised will be donated to Interval House of Long Beach, which provides emergency aid and support for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

Come gather round people wherever you roam and celebrate two great poets and singers of song; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rage, rage against the dying of the light. The Found Theatre is located at 599 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations or information: 562/433-3363 or foundtheatre.org.

This not-for-profit Dylan Thomas 2014 Centennial Commemoration is a © production of Grey Goose Music (BMI) and The Found Theatre; all works to be performed are copyrighted by their original authors or estates and therefore performances may not be videotaped, photographed or tape recorded; all cell phones to be turned off.

What: Dylan Thomas Centennial, hosted by Ross Altman and featuring poems by Dylan Thomas and songs by Bob Dylan

Where: The Found Theatre, 599 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, CA

When: Sunday, October 26, 7 p.m.


Cost: Donations accepted; all proceeds to Interval House of Long Beach

Tony Award® Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell Returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Simply Broadway - Friday, October 10 at 8 p.m.

Permalink 10/09/14 16:48, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: The Arts

Broadway’s favorite leading man, Brian Stokes Mitchell, opens Segerstrom Center’s 2014 – 2015 Cabaret Season with his one-man-show Simply Broadway on Friday, October 10 at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.

For his return visit to the Center, the dashing Tony Award-winning artist with the captivating baritone voice will perform some of his favorite Broadway songs from CamelotPorgy and BessCompanySunday in the Park with GeorgeLes Misérables and many more. He will be joined by pianist Tedd Firth.



Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Mikhailovsky Ballet and Orchestra Make Their West Coast and Segerstrom Center Debuts Performing Acclaimed Production of The Flames of Paris

Permalink 10/09/14 16:30, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: The Arts


Casting Announced for Exclusive
Southern California Engagement

Joining the illustrious list of renowned ballet companies presented by Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Mikhailovsky Ballet from St. Petersburg, Russia will make its West Coast debut opening the Center’s 2014 – 2015 International Dance Series performing The Flames of Paris, a work rarely seen in a full production.

The Mikhailovsky will dance four performancesNovember 28 – 30, 2014 in Segerstrom Hall.

When this new production premiered in St. Petersburg, London’s Financial Times said, “The drums of revolution beat out once more in St. Petersburg with Mikhail Messerer’s pitch-perfect restoration of Vasily Vainonen’s 1932 The Flames of Paris for the Mikhailovsky Ballet.”



Segerstrom Center for the Arts

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