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Travel – ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 25, 2015

COL park sign

by Marilyn Hackett

To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary my husband and I wanted adventure that would take us to new heights. Celebrating an anniversary with The Colorado Rocky Mountains National Park (their 100th anniversary) was just the ticket.

COL teatro lobbyAfter a two-hour flight to Denver, we picked up a car and drove downtown to the Hotel Teatro, a four-diamond “techy- chic,” energetic and sophisticated hotel. The cozy library is the perfect way to unwind from your trip, sipping cocktails and coffee drinks by the fire. Once you’ve adjusted a bit to the change in altitude, grab a bicycle from the hotel and ride to historic downtown and Union Station. Stop at the Denver Mint and pick up a free bag of money! Ok, the bills are shredded, but still! The 16th Street Pedestrian Promenade is great for shopping and if you work up a thirst, there are many famous Colorado breweries all around the city. Denver drivers are cautious. So, even if your brewery by bike tour lands you upside down in an intersection, the chances of surviving are pretty good.

Across the street from Hotel Teatro (Teatro means “theater” in Italian) is the Denver Performing Arts Center, where we saw a production of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” This musical tells the story of a woman who survived the Titanic disaster and devoted herself to Denver and the women’s suffrage movement. The next day we toured her home and the Molly Brown Museum.

Stanley Hotel

Stanley Hotel

It took an hour to reach Estes Park and the Historic Stanley Hotel. The romance of this hotel is “other-worldly.” This is the haunted hotel where Steven King got the inspiration for his book “The Shining.” Celebrating our 25th here seemed like a fine idea. I mean, things worked out so well for the couple in that tale. It is said that Steven King booked the last night at the hotel before it closed for the season. It was empty except for the bar and the bartender. He was drinking and struggling to find the story for his next book. The bartender told him about ghosts that haunted the hotel ballrooms and phantom children in the halls. We took a ghost tour and sat in a dark basement most of the time. Our guide called out “Lucy, are you there?” and then “Lucy” closed the door to the basement.

The wonders and mysteries of nature are more my cup of tea. The entrance to

Estes Park

Estes Park

the Rockies (at Fall River) is just minutes from the hotel. The experience of traveling down Trail Ridge Road is humbling. You are miniscule, a mere dot, against the majesty of the mountain. After riding through the clouds and hiking the 12,000 -foot climb to the top of the Rockies, our journey circled back to the quaint village of Estes Park. We had lunch by the river and on our return to the hotel we passed by the public golf course where, on the 18th hole, were easily 100 wild moose. Maybe people just play the front 9? If you can, stay an extra day and take a side trip to Colorado Springs and see the Garden of the Gods, the Cave of the Winds and the Manitou Cliff dwellings. Once home, it took us a few days to adjust to the change in lower altitude. I played with my shredded money, cut down the maze of shrubbery in my yard and locked the tricycle in the shed. Looking at my pictures, I relaxed with a cold Denver brew, happy to be home in Santa Clarita.

For Recreation visit: www.coloradosprings.com. For Lodging: www.Hotelteatro.com. For Historic/GhostTours:www.stanleyhotel.com.

Business Briefs – Canyon Country

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 23, 2015

citysantaclarita

Vacancy rates in the City of Santa Clarita as of the 1st Quarter of 2015:
Office: 10.6%
Retail: 5%
Industrial: 2.5%

The City of Santa Clarita’s March 2015 unemployment rate:
6.6% (down from 7% in February 2015)

The 5,000-square-foot Toppers Pizza restaurant expected to open at the intersection of Soledad Canyon Road and Sierra Highway is currently under construction, with completion scheduled for this summer.

Construction of the Golden Valley Road Bridge Widening project over State Route 14 has begun. The footing for the end abutments, or bridge supports, is currently being constructed, with construction of the center footing abutments expected to begin soon. Also beginning this month is the excavation for the bridge approach roadways. The project is scheduled for completion by summer 2016.

The 10,000-square-foot retail center being constructed at Sierra Highway and Golden Valley Road currently has two tenants, with additional space available for lease. La Cocina Mexican restaurant and an unidentified convenience store are currently under construction at the center, with plans to open by the end of the year.

21st Annual Thunder on the Lot

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 22, 2015

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For those who place Harley-Davidson’s annual event, “Thunder on the Lot,” on their calendars at the same time each year, they need to know a few things have changed. It’s on a different weekend and at a different location this year.

Not only will this cruise night, car show and two days of concerts land on a different weekend than usual – this year it’s Friday through Sunday, June 26-28 – event organizers are partnering with the City of Lancaster in order to revamp parts of Thunder on the Lot. It will be held this year at Lancaster City Park.

The largest fundraiser in the Antelope Valley, Thunder on the Lot will kick off again with the Thunder “Cruise-in” on Lancaster Blvd. on Friday, June 26 at 6 p.m. Last year’s inaugural cruise was such a huge hit that the addition of the Friday night open header cruise will now be a permanent feature of the annual event.
Thunder on the Lot benefits 25 children’s charity organizations. Year to date, the event has raised and distributed more than $4.2 million for children in the Antelope Valley who are in need.

The main event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, June 27-28, when a series of top bands take the stage. Thunder opens at 2 p.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday. This year it’s “The Best of Thunder,” with many of Thunder’s most popular bands returning to celebrate some of their performances.

Foghat is Saturday night’s headline artist, performing at 9 p.m. on the Bike Show Stage, and seating for the headline concert is on a first come, first served basis. The classic rockers have produced gold records, one platinum record, “Fool for the City” (1975), and one double-platinum record, “Foghat Live” (1977). The “Fool for the City” album contained Foghat’s trademark Top 40 hit song, “Slow Ride,” and cemented the band’s place as one of the world’s top rock acts.

On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Damage Inc., a Metallica tribute band, will open for Foghat, and on Sunday at 4 p.m. Bostyx, a Boston and Styx tribute band, will headline the stage following the return of The Doors tribute band, Peace Frog, which performs at 2:30 p.m. on the Bike Show stage.

Thunder on the Lot features a major motorcycle show, classic/custom car shows, an early morning poker run, go-kart races, import car show, low rider car show, motorcycle stunt riders, a burn out contest, beer gardens, live music on two stages all day, and major raffle giveaways, including a brand new Harley-Davidson.

General admission on Saturday is $10 per person, and kids age 10 and under are free. Tickets are available for purchase beginning at 12:00 p.m. on June 27.

Admission on Sunday, June 28 is FREE.

Thunder on the Lot will be held at Lancaster City Park, 43063 North 10th St. West in Lancaster. For more information about the event, call (661) 942-4111 or visit Thunderonthelot.com.

Ending on a High Note SCCEA Scholarship Winners

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 21, 2015

Scholarship winners Elisha Soronio (left) and Ariel Herman

Two Canyon High School students were singing a happy tune recently, after being awarded scholarships from the Santa Clarita Choral Educators Association. Ariel Herman and Elisha Soronio got the news that they are receiving scholarship money following the annual SCCEA Choral Festival last month.

Both of the students had to audition for the awards.

“During the application process, we were required to sing an art song,” said Ariel Herman, a graduating senior. “I sang Giovanni Bononcini’s ‘Non Posso Disperar.’”

Students competing for the four scholarships had to also do some “sight singing” for judges, and were asked questions regarding their future plans.

“The reason I auditioned was because I really want to pursue singing in the future. I auditioned hoping to earn money to use for professional vocal training,” said Elisha Soronio, a sophomore at Canyon. “I often sing and perform with my brother in many places around Santa Clarita, and I hope one day to become an artist

who gets to share her own music with the world.”

Ariel will be attending College of the Canyons and plans to transfer to UCLA to major in psychology and become a family therapist for deaf individuals. She currently holds the office of president in Canyon’s choir, a group she calls a “home away from home.” She has toured with the choir on trips to destinations as far away as Chicago and Vancouver, Canada.

Students in the music program at Canyon High School attend workshops and compete in festivals throughout the year.
“The musical diversity that my amazing choral director, Mary Purdy, provides has shaped my appreciation for music immensely,” said Ariel. “I would never have known or admired such amazing composers such as Bach, Victoria, Vaughan Williams or Fischer if it wasn’t for choir.”

Both Ariel and Elisha perform with the concert choir and the smaller group, “Madrigals.”

“We are introduced to so many types of music – some that are really popular and some I’ve never heard of. It makes me appreciate all the different kinds of beautiful music out there in the world,” said Elisha. “I’m so grateful to be a part of it, because it’s the main thing I look forward to every day at school … it’s where I can express myself freely through music, and be part of a family who I share a passion with.”

Elisha took home two of the SCCEA scholarships previously, when she was in junior high school. If the past is an indicator, it seems Elisha’s trajectory is pointing her in the direction of more musical rewards.

“I plan on doing something with music,” she said. “I live for each and every day, thankful for all the blessings I have … for the future, I leave it all to God.”

Student Gets a Stroke of Appreciation Robert Cortez Navarro

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 21, 2015

gvhs winner Thayer  Novaro1w

Talented teens have been vying for art scholarships from the Santa Clarita Artists’ Association for 24 years, and one of this year’s went to a 2015 graduate from Golden Valley High School. Robert Cortez Navarro was awarded $500 to further his art studies.

“It was a first time thing for me,” said Robert. “Honestly, I was rather surprised when I found out that it had been me they chose as one of the winners.”

Winners were congratulated at a scholarship awards reception at Barnes & Noble in Valencia. To win one of the scholarships, the candidates presented their portfolios and were interviewed by the committee.

“They were really great, talented students,” said Pat Thayer, SCAA Scholarship Committee chairman. “They are mostly AP students. One requirement is that they continue in the arts in some fashion. Many kids are good artists, but don’t see an art career in their future.”

Robert had submitted ink, scratchboard, colored pencil and pen artwork to the SCAA committee with his application.

“His intricate drawing and use of imagination is quite good,” said Thayer. “From portraits to abstractions, his work reflects an artistic gift that has been nourished by his teacher, P. J. Vernon.”

The Golden Valley High School art teacher, P.J. Vernon, has a reputation for inspiring her students.

“She is one of the most dedicated, wonderful cheerleaders for her students,” said Thayer. “She’s just so special with them.”
Golden Valley is currently exhibiting the artwork of past graduates who have gone on to use their artistic talents. Those are the kinds of decisions that have kept students like Robert engaged in the arts.

“I like to take things that people don’t really want to look at and I make them adore it,” he said. “My favorite media of all, I have to say, is old fashioned pen and pencil.”

The two other scholarship winners this year are Michael Casteneda of West Ranch High School and Alicia Yang of Saugus High School.

A survey of SCAA members indicated that the scholarship program is an essential part of who they are as an organization. And Pat Thayer has been in charge of the program for at least five years.

“It’s just a passion of mine. I just love working with the kids,” said Thayer, an artist herself, who enjoys collage and mixed media art forms. “It is very exciting to see so many showing evidence of such creative thinking, solid training and wonderful talent.”

For more details, visit www.santaclaritaartists.org.

Sleepy Hollow No More – Awesometown Adjacent?

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 21, 2015

sand soledad

If you ask the majority of people why they moved to Canyon Country, you usually get words like “country,” “quiet” or at least some sentiment about the area not being too urban. It’s hard to say if that lifestyle will soon be a thing of the past, but the rate of development (at least plans for development) hint that residents may need to scoot over to make room for newcomers.

Canyon Country Magazine readers have been informed of plans for Disney Ranch in Placerita, Vista Canyon breaking ground (soon) in Sand Canyon, and now there’s a new development on the corner of Sand Canyon and Soledad Canyon Road.

It’s not exactly a new concept. Inquiring minds have long wondered what’s happening with the northeast corner of that intersection, which has served as a mobile home park for decades.
“I’ve been involved with the land since 1985, and it’s been a mobile home park all that time,” said Tom Clark, managing member of the project, called Sand Canyon Plaza LLC. “Along the way, specifically in 2002 or 2003, we got approval to build a shopping center.”

It started as two different projects, according to Clark, where 50 acres were for his center and 30 acres, owned by another company, were approved for housing. Royal Clark Development Co. bought the 30 acres to create one project at the site.

“It was a hodgepodge, with the parcels being separate,” said Clark. “We did joint processing to balance the grading, so we didn’t go offsite. We ended up buying the parcel and went with one project. We and the city (Santa Clarita) both agreed it was a better project.”

Sand Canyon Plaza is now one project on 80 acres and includes 580 dwelling units: 148 single family homes, 120 attached townhomes and 312 apartments. Additionally, there is 116,000 square feet of retail/commercial development in the plans.

“In that commercial area we have three sit-down, high-end restaurants, like a P.F. Chang’s, either chain or smaller boutique people,” said Clark, who has a lot of experience building restaurants. “The whole commercial aspect will be upscale. We’re creating a lake, indoor-outdoor seating and then some shops and others, like Coffee Bean, Noah’s Bagels – some of those types of things, all with indoor-outdoor seating and a fair amount of landscaping.”

Sand Canyon Plaza will also include a senior assisted living facility.

“Again, the architecture is not going to be your normal big box retail shopping center look, much more upgraded,” said Clark.

The site was zoned with a commercial designation when the City joined the County of Los Angeles to create “One Valley One Vision” in the year 2000, setting guidelines for the future growth of the SCV, including the preservation of natural resources.

It calls for a “mixed use neighborhood” at this point, said Clark, which means housing and commercial development. “That particular corner has two major streets – Soledad and Sand Canyon – and on- and off-ramps to the freeway,” he added. “Everyone worries about traffic. We are in the process of doing all the studies to make sure we mitigate any problems.”

The Sand Canyon Plaza project heads for the Santa Clarita City Planning Commission late summer to fall of 2015, and then the City Council right after that. So, if all goes well, said Clark, they will break ground in May/June of 2016 and deliver in late 2017 with housing and restaurants, etc.

Issues Raising Eyebrows:

Does More Development = Higher Home Values?
“Home prices are majorly dictated by the big market,” explained Clark. “Notwithstanding all of that, there are ebbs and flows in housing, but it usually goes up. I think that as areas tend to have more amenities and nicer streetscapes and good schools and are safe and look nice, what happens is, values go up. If the opposite happens, values go down. It’s a multitude of factors.”

Local realtor Lisa Kauppi acknowledges that the project will affect her clientele on the east side of the valley. “Honestly, I think it will increase property values on this side of town, to have fewer mobile homes,” said Kauppi, fine estates director at Troop Real Estate. “I’ve heard he says that it’s going to be a style like ‘The Grove’ (retail and entertainment complex in Los Angeles).”

Making Canyon Country a “destination location” is part of the conversation residents are having with developers. “The Canyon Country area has great schools and good statistics on crime and what have you, and has that rural feel to it,” said Clark. “It’s not in the middle of Los Angeles – it has its own valley. I think it’s a place people want to go and … we’ve done studies that are very positive about how it’ll go.”

What about the Mobile Home Park Residents?
“We have an ordinance to close the park, and we have purchased a handful of the mobile homes, but we stopped with the Great Recession,” said Clark. “People understand that the park, at some point, is going to be developed. We’re going to make sure we help move them, etc. The ordinance is pretty specific; basically, you take care of them.”

Upon purchase of the mobile homes, Royal Clark Development rented them to locals, who have been informed of the eventual removal of all of the buildings.

“The one thing about mobile homes is – they’re mobile. You can move them in a day – literally,” said Clark. “As we continue to move

Commercial rendering - corner of Sand Canyon and Soledad

Commercial rendering – corner of Sand Canyon and Soledad

through this process and as things move along, we‘re going to be letting people know. I think people see that our location speaks to something more than what it currently has been. I think that the mobile homes are old and the park is old. I look at it as we’re just taking it to another level.”

The residents will likely be able to stay on the property until early 2016, and Clark said the company has tried to accommodate both residents who are renting and compensate mobile home owners who were bought out by Royal Clark.

“People who’ve owned their homes have come out pretty good,” he said.
So Many Building Projects in Canyon Country
“I am very excited about his (Jim Backer’s) project, with the Metro station, the office component, hotels, and I think it’s going to be a good addition to the area,” said Clark, about JSB Development’s Vista Canyon less than a mile away, another big project preceding his. “It’s good for jobs, for the local amenities. I don’t see us necessarily competing. I see us as complementary.”

Vons across the street from the Sand Canyon Plaza project was upgraded recently, but in the past was part of Clark’s proposed development. “Then the Great Recession stopped us in our tracks,” said Clark. “And then Safeway bought it.”

Residents sometimes voice concerns about the change in Canyon Country’s personality with such big developments headed this way. Both Jim Backer of JSB Development and Royal Clark Development claim to adhere to the themes of the community.

“It’s not a done deal and we’re wide open for suggestions,” said Clark. “The City is very mindful of that, Canyon Country keeping its persona, and we’re totally on board with that. It’s not going to be something modern, something strange. There’s a place for everything, this is definitely ‘country.’ We have been reaching out to different groups, Sand Canyon Homeowners Association (SCHOA), and the Canyon Country Advisory Committee (CCAC), and we’ll continue to do that. The reception’s been good thus far.”

Land Use, Commercial and residential

Land Use, Commercial and residential

Clark also commented on the contrast some residents draw between the west side and the east side of the SCV.
“A lot of people talk about the Valencia side of Santa Clarita and … I’ve always heard and I’ve seen that Canyon Country residents had to go to Valencia for a lot of things,” he said. “I think we’re just adding those things that aren’t there now, and we’re going to try to do it in a lot of nice ways – again, with the architecture and the lakes.”

Water!
“I’m concerned about our sustainability,” said realtor Kauppi. “I do think (the project) is good for the community, I just don’t know if we have the water. How are we doing that without water – why is the City okaying developments when we don’t have water for those who are here?”

According to Clark, there is only a small percentage of the water needs for his development that are not already in place.

“We have a 138-unit mobile home park now that uses water, along with landscaping, to the extent that we do that portion without any change,” said Clark. “Also, we are working with the Vista Canyon project, where they are doing a water treatment plant. We are working with the water company to use that (reclaimed) water for our landscaping.”

Landscaping is approximately half of the water in a project, said Clark. “From landscaping to fixtures … if we use reclaimed for over half our water, then we are taking care of a pretty large portion of our water needs,” said Clark. “I can’t say that we’re neutral, but we’re certainly not using as much water as a project of that size would normally use.”

For more information about Sand Canyon Plaza, contact Tom Clark at royalclarkdevco@aol.com.

A Warm Welcome for an Icy Newcomer

| Canyon Country Magazine | May 21, 2015

tutti frutti 2 web

tutti frutti outside webSome carpooling moms and dads take the stance that stopping for food on the way home from school is only likely if a certain place “freezes over.”

But, a brand new business in Canyon Country is poised to take advantage of teen traffic, and even those parents who would never stop before will, at least, be tempted by the prospect.

Tutti Frutti opened in the TJ Maxx shopping center, right on Camp Plenty Road, and it is a busy place already. It is a self-serve frozen yogurt establishment, where customers fill a dish with their choice of flavored frozen yogurt, and choose whether to add toppings.

“It’s a healthy way to eat dessert,” said owner Sunny Oh, who also owns a Tutti Frutti in North Hills. “We have a lot of fruit flavors, with real fruit – low calorie.”

There are machines along the wall with about a dozen different flavors of frozen yogurt, and a tutti frutti 3 webbar where customers can choose toppings

from cookie crumbles and nuts to strawberries and raisins.

Most of her customers favor Tutti Frutti’s original flavor, “tart,” which tastes like it sounds – a little bit tart, said Oh. A lot of people also choose banana, mango and pineapple. The store offers dairy-free sorbets, soy products and both non- and low-fat frozen yogurt.

Oh has been in the business for about 20 years, and she chose to open in Canyon Country because her son and his family live in Fair Oaks.

tutti frutti 1 webTutti Frutti is the largest self-serve frozen yogurt brand in the world. There are independently owned Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt stores throughout the United States and more than 25 countries. The company has developed more than 100 flavors and recipes for both naturally “tart” and traditional “creamy” flavors, according to the website.

As global as the company is, Oh intends to benefit the local community. She employs five college students part-time, and she plans to help with school fundraisers, offering gift certificates when possible.

Tutti Frutti is located at
19401 Soledad Canyon.
Call 661-367-4733.

New Master at Bark Avenue

| Canyon Country Magazine, Scene in SCV | May 16, 2015

bark1 web

by Martha Michael

When the coats of Santa Clarita canines need combing, there’s a familiar grooming shop that just got a new master.

Donna Matthews took over the leash at Bark Avenue Grooming on Sierra Highway last month, a dog grooming business established in 2004, operating only part-time for the last few years. Matthews has redecorated and its doors are now open five days a week.

Matthews moved to Santa Clarita from Rhode Island two years ago, where she was a senior vice-president at a bank. Because she was in charge of small business lending there, she has now experienced both sides of business ownership – the lender and the spender.

When her fiancé Geoffrey Hughes, who she will marry later this month, landed a job with an engineering firm in Pasadena, the two decided to cross the country. Why dog grooming?

bark3 web bark4web“I own three standard poodles, and I’d groom them myself between their regular grooming. I decided to go to grooming school to get officially trained last year,” said Matthews. “I had clients I was grooming from home … I just came into Bark Avenue one day and – I don’t know what I was thinking – I asked, ‘Would you be interested in selling?’ And she said yes.”

Matthews hired the instructor from the grooming school she attended, who grooms the four-legged clients at Bark Avenue full-time.

“I also have a former vet tech on staff, working on Saturdays,” she said. “He was with the former owner for years, so he knows current clients.”

Hughes also gets into the act, helping his fiancé, the business owner. He works with her on Saturdays at the shop, playing guitar and even going to lengths to attract new customers by wearing a dog suit for motorists to see. The couple’s poodles include 7-year-old Polly, 8-year-old London and Stella, a 2-year-old former United Kingdom Grand Champion. They also own a cat named “Kitty.”bark2 web

“I’ve had animals since I was a baby,” said Matthews. “My mom bred poodles when I was little … and I’ve been riding horses since I was six. I’ve had cats, rabbits, dogs. I love being around animals, particularly dogs.”

Her clients can see it firsthand. Matthews will sit with skittish clients in the lobby until the animals feel comfortable.

“I’ll hold it, I’ll pet it. I’m big on cuddling the pet. I won’t bring it in the back until it’s comfortable,” she said. “If it’s calm in here and there are not a lot of dogs, they’re in the lobby with me, usually in my lap if they’re not too big.”

 

Before and After

After

Before

Before

Bark Avenue Dog Grooming offers such services as haircuts, nail clipping, grooming and dog spa experiences. There are also pet accessories for sale.

‘Shrek: the Musical’ at GVHS Where no department is left behind

| Canyon Country Magazine, News | April 23, 2015

shrek poster

Theatre arts students, band members and choir students at Golden Valley High School are bringing their favorite swamp creature to life in their spring production.

GVHS Theatre Director Janie Prucha

GVHS Theatre Director Janie Prucha

“Shrek: the Musical” is on stage for three nights this month, allowing students to play familiar characters like “Donkey,” “Fiona” and “Lord Farquaad,” and for audiences to hear songs like “Donkey Pot Pie” and “When Words Fail.”

“I chose ‘Shrek’ because the rights recently became available and the students were very enthusiastic about this piece,” said Golden Valley High School Theatre Director Janie Prucha. “The story was a happy memory from their childhood, as well as being really funny with some great music!”

The cast consists of students from ninth through twelfth grades and stars Matt Farrand as “Shrek,” Samantha Gebers as “Fiona,” Eriel Brown as “Donkey,” and Ryan Watson as “Lord Farquaad.”

“The strongest part of the performance is the sense of humor and fun that the students exhibit,” said Ms. Prucha. “They are extremely talented and are having a great time, which the audience is invited to share.”

The cast has been rehearsing since mid-January.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a pit band made of Golden Valley Band students under the direction of

Cast of Sherk

Cast of Shrek

our band director, Roger Brooks. Vocal direction was provided by our choir director, Kerry Riccio, and choreography by Donna Herbst,” said Ms. Prucha. “The message is great too – ‘Let your freak flag fly’ – be proud of your uniqueness – see past the surface and celebrate your differences.”

Ms. Prucha has a knack for choosing productions with which teens can connect, in the same way she jumped at the opportunity to bring theatre kids a show with everyone’s favorite ogre. She has demonstrated her skills for more than a decade, as Golden Valley’s theatre director since the school opened in 2004.

Rehearsing for “Shrek: the Musical” (L to R):  Tess Gebers, Samantha Gebers and Star Austria

Rehearsing for “Shrek: the Musical” (L to R):
Tess Gebers, Samantha Gebers and Star Austria

The students have performed “Beauty and the Beast,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Fame,” “Footloose,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “A Chorus Line,” “The Wiz,” and many more. Ms. Prucha has also directed plays such as “The Crucible,” “The Odd Couple” and “Philadelphia Story.”

“Although I have enjoyed them all, some of the highlights have been: “Wedding Singer,” because it was so funny and well-received; “Beauty and the Beast,” because the production was our most ambitious; and “A Chorus Line,” because it was an alumni summer show, in which former students came back to perform in the Golden Valley Theatre when it opened,” Ms. Prucha said.

As a high school level director, her biggest challenge is finding large cast shows which feature lots of girls and are appropriate for high school, and also recruiting boys to participate. Once cast, students are in for a ride.

“They learn to develop characters and stay in the moment onstage throughout the rehearsal process,” said the theatre teacher. “Students usually come into rehearsals able to move well and sing. Skills that are new to them include stage combat,which they enjoy learning, improvisation, which is a continuing challenge, and dialects.”

Former Golden Valley student actors are in theatre departments all over California, in Chicago, New York, Boston and in the Midwest. “The ones that have graduated work in theme parks, regional theatre, independent films, and some are pursuing graduate degrees and teaching credentials,” said Ms. Prucha. “A few have been invited to continue their training internationally in Scotland and Italy.”

Ms. Prucha teaches three beginning theatre classes, one children’s theatre class and the advanced theatre class, which is responsible for the main stage productions. The stagecraft class provides the running crews for the shows.

“We, at Golden Valley, are proud of the collaborative spirit of our performing arts department, who work together to put on a spring musical every year and schedule our programs to make it possible for our students to participate in band, choir and theatre at the same time,” said Ms. Prucha. “Together, with the support of our administration, this cooperation makes a big event like ‘Shrek: the Musical’ possible.”

“Shrek: the Musical” runs April 29, 30 and May 1 at the Golden Valley Theatre at 7 p.m. Golden Valley High School is located at 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway in Santa Clarita. Tickets are available at the Golden Valley ASB office for $12 pre-sale and $15 at the door.Visit GoldenValleyHS.org.

Canyon Country Cake Auction Sweet Charity Comes to Robinson Ranch

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | April 22, 2015

SCVYP_CAKELOGO-246x300

sweetyestoyouthSweeeeet! A favorite fundraiser is going to be closer to home this year, when participants bring their most creative cakes to Robinson Ranch Golf Club. The 7th Annual Sweet Charity Cake Auction & Reception will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 from
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and there are
numerous ways the community can get involved.

FIRST, a business, organization or school/group can gain exposure by entering the cake contest. The cost is $25 to enter a cake/auction package, which means the individual or group submits a specially designed cake on the day of the event, plus an auction item. Each participant can design (or have a cake designed) that reflects its mission, logo or products (think “Cake Boss” or “Ace of Cakes”). Each cake must be accompanied by a unique gift item with a minimum value of $100 (trips, baskets, gift certificates, services, etc.). Guests will bid for the cakes and gift items together.

Cakes will be awarded prizes based on their originality and creativity, as well as the cake that raises the most sweet charitychils orchardmoney. For ideas, refer to the SCV Youth Project’s website to see pictures from the last five years (www.helpnothassle.org).

SECOND, you can become a Sweet Charity Cake Auction sponsor. Sponsorship levels range from a Royal Icing Sponsorship of $10,000 to a Sprinkle Sponsor of $100.

THIRD, you can simply attend the event. The cost is $45 to enjoy the reception and bid on the cakes. The cake auction is limited to 25 entries, so hurry! Robinson Ranch Golf Club is located at 27734 Sand Canyon Road in Canyon Country.

All proceeds will benefit the SCV Youth Project, which provides free peer mentoring, crisis intervention, support groups and outreach to teenagers on junior & senior high school campuses throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. For more information or to register, call (661) 257-9688 or visit Helpnothassle.org.

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