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Theatre Review – Spamalot

| Community | April 3, 2015

Any local Monty Python fans are making a BIG mistake if they miss Canyon Theatre Guild’s latest musical – “Spamalot” – especially if you liked the 1975 movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

The show opened last weekend at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall and closes May 2.

This Monty Python spoof musical comedy has won several Tony Awards since it hit Broadway in 2005. In its initial run of over 1,500 performances, it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million, according to Wikipedia.

The Canyon Theatre Guild’s production kept the audience laughing throughout, largely due to faces made by actors. Our ability to catch the playful, comedic looks was owed partly to director Donna Manfredi’s blocking, I suspect. The show had just enough (yet not too much) melodrama to create the audience response necessary to make a spoof successful.

Set in medieval England, the main character is “King Arthur,” played by John Morris, whose acting was strong enough to lead the company. His sidekick, “Patsy,” was portrayed by Tim McGowan, who seemed like a seasoned character actor. His face was responsible for quite a bit of the play’s personality.

The female lead, Taylor Lane, who was the “Lady of the Lake,” had the most beautiful singing voice in the company. Her numbers, “Whatever Happened to My Part” and “The Song That Goes Like This,” – (for full disclosure, I must confess they are my favorite songs in the show) – were delivered with both vocal superiority and great comedic timing.

One of the most interesting decisions by the show’s producer(s) was to change the lyrics in the number “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway” from lines like “If you don’t have any Jews” to “If you don’t have any stars.” That wasn’t extremely noticeable; it was just interesting that the playful “His Name is Lancelot,” which pokes fun at the gay community, was left in the show. That’s the fun of live theatre, though – you get to see familiar shows produced differently at various theatres.

You don’t go to “Spamalot” for plotline. You go for the comedy, mostly, the music, which is all fun, and to revisit bygone years of Monty Python.

The Canyon Theatre Guild is located at 24242 Main Street in Newhall. Contact the box office at (661) 799-2702 or visit www.canyontheatre.org.

Spring Art Festival and Sale at Le Chene

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | March 28, 2015

SAF SP018The beauty of Le Chene French Cuisine, a Zagat-rated restaurant noted for its exotic foods, wines and setting SAF photo (4)outside of town, is amplified each year with the presence of artwork.

The Santa Clarita Artists’ Association will hold its 3rd annual Spring Art Festival and Sale on Sunday, April 26, 2015 from 10-4 p.m. at Le Chene. It is a one-day-only exhibit, which is free to the public and will include approximately 40 SCAA artists showing various art mediums in the garden level of the restaurant.

Art demonstrations are included in the festival with all pieces available for purchase. Proceeds to the non-profit organization, SCAA, will go to benefit a high school scholarship program and other art activities. An elegant brunch or lunch may be purchased at the restaurant during this show as well. Reservations for the restaurant are recommended at (661) 251-4315.

Le Chene French Cuisine is located at 12624 Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce.

For SCAA Festival inquiries call (661) 252-7639. Also visit www. Santaclaritaartists.org.scaa logo

Easter

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | March 27, 2015

While most people can come up with dozens of happy Christmas memories, it may take some time to recollect memorable Easter moments. But, it isn’t for lack of trying. Every year, Santa Clarita is host to numerous events to celebrate, such as Richard Rioux Park in Stevenson Ranch, where residents will gather on Easter Sunday, April 5 at 10 a.m. for a community Easter Egg Hunt, a live band, concession stands and a celebration of the meaning of Easter. The City of Santa Clarita always hosts the Eggstravaganza Easter Egg Hunt in Central Park in Saugus. This year it will be held the day before Easter at 10 a.m. And for water lovers, the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center will host its 7th Annual Splash & Dash Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4 at 10 a.m.

quarterbethlehemAn even earlier hunt is held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 27265 Luther Drive in Canyon Country. The 5th annual Eggventure Egg Hunt will take place from noon to 2pm on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The event is for toddlers up to 10-year-olds and there is no charge for the event, but donations of canned foods are welcomed on behalf of Help the Children, Santa Clarita.

For those of us who like to stay inside, there is always the prospect of an Easter movie marathon, especially with the prevalence of streaming practically anything we want into our homes. A quick search of favorite Easter films brings us back to oldies-but-goodies such as “The Robe” (1953), “Ben-Hur” (1959), “Jesus of Nazareth” (1977), “King of Kings” and many more.

The deepest meaning of Easter is, of course, its religious meaning as a Christian holiday. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, this year on March 29. It is a celebration that commemorates Jesus making his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem a week before his crucifixion. It comes from the Bible, in the book of John, chapter 12, verse 13. Worshipers wave palm fronds in recognition of the ones placed in Jesus’ path when he rode the donkey into Jerusalem. While it is a less common practice, some churches save the palms and burn them the next year on Ash Wednesday, which is the day that launches the Season of Lent.

Easter Sunday is, of course, the big day. But, wait – there are a few more important days first. Three days before Easter is Maundy Thursday, which commemorates the Last Supper. That is the last time Jesus sits with his disciples before he is arrested and crucified. Next is Good Friday, of course, when Jesus was crucified and buried.

On the third day Jesus arose, which is a phrase you hear on Easter Sunday, which is usually the Sunday with the highest church attendance, by the way. It is the pinnacle of the Christian faith, that Jesus is the Christ and was resurrected that day. It is debated as to which actual date or time of year it occurred (just like Christmas), but the commemoration remains the same. The story of Easter is found in the book of Mark, chapter 16. There is probably no better time to read the account than the Season of Lent. Happy Easter!sixthhopevineyardhalfhotc

 The 2015 Gazette 22 Who Do – Now Add Yours Too – Until March 31!!

| Community, News | March 26, 2015

Honor your favorite Santa Clarita Valley community advocates with a nomination for 22 Who Do. Some of this year’s nominees are, in alphabetic order:

Martha Aguilera
Fred Arnold
Jim Backer
Chris Ball
Gail Berke
Louie Bernal
Ed Bernstein
Sue Bird
Mike Bjorkman
Mark Blazer
Ed Bolden
Jen Brown
Tom Christensen
Rebecca DeLuca
Rick Drew
Sue Endress
Amanda Etcheverry
Alan Ferdman
Jennifer Gerard
Tiffany Grummer
Duke Hogstrom
Rhona Jukes
Nick Lentini
Jim Lentini
Greg Nutter
Michael Oliveri
Steve Petzold
Jennifer Ramos
Dave Reeves
Alice Renolds
Patrice Rifkind
John Rogers
Daniel Sterkel
Patty Sulpizio
Mike Thomas
Shelly Tomson
Lisa West

Nominations are open until March 31.

22 Who Do Criteria:
Nominees shall be selected and ranked based upon their levels of “Beneficial Community Activity” for the 2014 calendar year. The following will be excluded from consideration: elected officials; full time employees of the County of Los Angeles or the City of Santa Clarita; media members and high profile corporate executives. Residents in these categories will be excluded from nomination unless they have performed significant “Beneficial Community Activity” outside of their employment, offices or influence.
“Beneficial Community Activity” shall be defined as having been engaged in and/or having directly performed activities significantly benefiting the Santa Clarita Valley. We are looking for people whose roles are largely behind the scenes and who, in many instances, go unnoticed.
Nominees are not required to live in the Santa Clarita Valley, but must have performed officially recognized “beneficial community activity” in the Santa Clarita Valley during the past year.
Nominations will only be accepted for individuals.
All nominations must include a short biography and clear rationale as to how the nominee provided activities which were beneficial to the Santa Clarita Valley in 2014. Please include a high resolution head shot.
Nominate Your Favorites Today! Email Editor@scfree.net

Go Green at 2015 Santa Clarita Earth Arbor Festival Festival Highlights Eco-Friendly Fun with a Variety of Family-Friendly Activities

| Community | March 19, 2015

The City of Santa Clarita, in partnership with the SCV Family of Water Suppliers, invites residents to explore the benefits and fun of going green at the 2015 Earth Arbor Day Festival from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road.

The City’s FREE Earth Arbor Day Festival will include a variety of activities designed to get community members excited about eco-friendly living, including tree plantings, educational presentations by local organizations, healthy food for sale, recycled art exhibits, live music and much more.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to explore six interactive zones highlighting the importance of protecting the environment, including Alternative Transportation, Community Organizations, Tree Zone, Energy Zone, Eco Zone and Water Conservation Zone.

Other festival activities include solar energy cooking, where residents can eat chocolate chip cookies cooked by the sun, a crafting booth where participants can make scarves and bracelets from old t-shirts, and lady bug education and collection. Families can also enjoy guided tours of Castaic Lake Water Agency’s Sustainable Garden and the City’s newly expanded Community Gardens. Several recycled art exhibits will be on display, including submissions to the City’s annual “cArt aRt” competition which allows residents to decorate curbside recycling bins with eco-friendly materials.

This year, the City of Santa Clarita celebrates its 25th consecutive Tree City USA award from the National Arbor Day Foundation. In honor of this prestigious award, the City will give away free one-gallon trees and mulch at the event.

Several volunteer opportunities are available for the festival, including planting and tagging trees, assisting with activity booths and helping to distribute mulch. Interested participants can register to volunteer at SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.

For more information about the 2015 Earth Arbor Day Festival, visit GreenSantaClarita.com.

Cowboy Festival Volunteers Sought in Ranch Hands Round-Up

| Community | March 13, 2015

Both youth and adults can become “ranch hands” for the 22nd Annual Cowboy Festival next month. The City of Santa Clarita is seeking volunteers for the Festival, taking place in William S. Hart Park and other venues in Old Town Newhall from Thursday, April 16 through Saturday, April 19, 2015.

Those interested in volunteering are required to attend the Cowboy Festival “Volunteer Round-Up” at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24 in the Santa Clarita Activities Center, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway.

The Volunteer Round-Up is an orientation for all Cowboy Festival volunteers and will cover the Festival’s new venues, events and activities. There are a number of available positions including ticket taking, ushering, helping with children’s activities, assisting vendors, greeting and much more. All attendees will be entered into raffles to win Cowboy Festival memorabilia.

To help out at the 2015 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, all volunteers must register online at SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.

For more information about volunteering for the Festival, the Round-Up and other volunteer opportunities with the City, contact the City’s Volunteer Engagement Program at (661) 250-3708 or volunteers@santa-clarita.com.

Charter School Youth Offer Help to the Homeless

| Community, SC Living | March 12, 2015

More than three dozen students from iLEAD’s founding school, the Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School (SCVi), volunteered their time this month to benefit the SCV Emergency Winter Shelter.

Aubrey Love, Abby Blasberg, Maddy Sands, Baylee Lesh

Aubrey Love, Abby Blasberg, Maddy Sands, Baylee Lesh

The sixth- and eighth-grade learners prepared and served hot meals to the homeless, even cooking the food from scratch.

“They did the meal planning, they did the fundraising, they did the prep work, they did the cooking and they did the serving,” said Sara Brown, community outreach coordinator for SCVi Charter School, iLEAD’s founding school (www.ileadschools.org). “I’m so proud of the initiative and compassion these students displayed.”

Forty-two students volunteered for the project, in which they also gathered for group discussions about the issue of homelessness and the importance of nutrition and healthy foods. They raised funds to purchase the food, then did the prep work and cooking at the kitchen in the café on SCVi’s Hasley Canyon Road campus. And the food went well beyond peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

They have served two nutritious, hot meals to individuals in the shelter, including homemade shepherd’s pie, last week. The meals were served at the emergency winter shelter operated by Bridge to Home (http://www.btohome.com), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing transformation, healing, hope and compassion for the SCV’s homeless.

The students said they were struck by the gratitude expressed by those staying at the shelter, and the experience made them appreciate what they have.

“It reminded me that I shouldn’t take anything for granted,” sixth-grade student Aaron Andrews

Aaron Andrews, Kailey Spiteri, Lexi Andrews.

Aaron Andrews, Kailey Spiteri, Lexi Andrews.

said, adding that he noticed those staying at the shelter seemed to sincerely appreciate the meal. “They smiled and had good manners, like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’”

His sister, eighth-grader Lexi Andrews, echoed the sentiment. “It made me realize how fortunate I am. The people at the shelter were so nice, and grateful.”

Heeli Lounibos, an eighth-grade volunteer, said it was an adventure getting the meals prepared, particularly in such large quantities. “The kitchen, it can be hectic, but it’s fun because of the cause.”

It was Kailey Spiteri’s second year volunteering for the project. She said she noticed “there were a lot more people there this year.”

Eighth-grader Morelia Robles reflected on the experience also. “There were a lot of smiles and they were really grateful.”

Brown said the learners’ fundraising efforts were so successful that they exceeded the amount needed for the meals. So, the students agreed to use the $117 in extra funds to purchase items that were on the shelter’s wish list. “The kids enjoyed the opportunity to go on that shopping run to buy things to donate to the shelter,” said Brown.

SCVi Lower School Director Kim Shaw said the sixth-and eighth-graders did an excellent job of representing themselves and SCVi.

“Tonight was a wonderful example of what SCVi is all about … leadership, kindness and generosity,” Shaw said after the students’ March 5 visit to the shelter. “Our learners spent weeks planning a menu, raising the funds to purchase the food, cooking the meal, and finally serving the clients at Santa Clarita’s Emergency Winter Shelter. I could not be more proud and honored to have spent my evening with such amazing children.”

SCVi offers project-based K-12 curriculum and student-led assessment with global and culturally

Maddy Sands

Maddy Sands

diverse influences. The tuition-free charter school emphasizes an inquiry-based, learner-centered approach to education. SCVi’s primary goal is to help learners lead a successful and fulfilled life while contributing to the world around them. More information about SCVi and iLEAD Schools is available at www.ileadschools.org.

Bands to Audition for “Battle” Held at COC Canyon Country

| Community, News | March 12, 2015

Local musicians are welcome to audition for an annual competition that brings the sound of music to the Canyon Country hills.

The College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus is inviting local musicians to audition for a chance to play at the college’s second annual “Battle of the Bands” event taking place Sunday, May 31.

“We are so excited to once again be hosting this family-friendly event for our local music lovers,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country Campus & Grants Development at the college. “After the success of last year’s event we wanted to continue the tradition to try and see which local band could best rock the hills surrounding the Canyon Country campus.”

To audition, bands must apply online at www.keyboardgalleria.com by Thursday, April 30, 2015. Keyboard Galleria staff will then select five to seven bands to participate in the competition.

Bands selected to perform will have their music heard by the panel of music industry veterans judging the competition, while also competing for the chance to win cash prizes and music equipment.

As an added bonus, KHTS AM 1220 will also play the winning band’s music over its airwaves.

The 2015 Battle of the Bands competition will be held from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, at the Canyon Country Campus Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater.

For more information about Battle of the Bands and how to audition visit www.keyboardgalleria.com. 

City Invites Feedback on Trail Sign Project

| Community | March 12, 2015

The city of Santa Clarita is inviting the public to give feedback regarding the addition of signs to local pedestrian and bicycle trails at a meeting set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at the Old Town Newhall Library.

Attendees will have the opportunity to give their opinion on the design of the signs, suggest sign destinations and help city officials clarify which areas of local trails are most difficult to navigate, according to city officials.

“We have a large number of community members in Santa Clarita who love to use the bike and pedestrian trails as an alternative means of transportation,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “This grant from METRO will help improve navigation for those residents and escalate the overall enjoyment of our trail system.”

The project, which will be partially funded using a grant from METRO, will also include pedestrian and bicycle signage to help residents find the nearest Metrolink station in Santa Clarita.

City officials called the project a “response to resident’s requests” that signs be added along Santa Clarita trails to help pedestrians and cyclists more easily navigate trails and locate destinations.

For more information about the public meeting for the sign project, contact Project Manager Mark Hunter at 661-286-4042 or mhunter@santa-clarita.com.

Things to do in Santa Clarita

| Community | March 12, 2015

COC: Trinity Irish Dance
College of the Canyons has the timely show “Trinity Irish Dance.” “Trinity Academy of Irish Dance has been at the cutting edge of progressive Irish dance. Its groundbreaking work opened the artistic pathways leading directly to commercial productions like Riverdance.” Tickets are $45/$40/$35.

When:  Saturday, March 14 at 8pm
Where:  Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center, Arts Center, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Contact:  661-362-5304
Link: http://www3.canyons.edu/Offices/PIO/CanyonsPAC/trinity.html

Valencia Christian Center “Martin: Duty Calls”
Valencia Christian Center is hosting the remarkable play “Martin: Duty Calls.” The performance tells the story of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr and Coretta Scott King. “Martin Duty Calls is meant to entertain and educate the audience on the importance of the civil rights movement and to remind us all, we are better as a people and as a nation, when we have equality, respect and love for one another.” 

When:  Saturday, March 14 at 3pm and 8pm
Where:  Valencia High School, 27801 Dickason Drive, Valencia
Contact:  Valencia Christian Center 661-296-4822
Link:  http://martindutycalls.com

WiSH Education Foundation “A Starry, Starry Night”
Tickets for the WiSH Education Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year for the Hart district, Starry, Starry Night, are still available, officials said Tuesday. “A Starry, Starry Night” is a special event for WiSH Education Foundation. The evening includes entertainment from TVs “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars.” The event raises funds for supporting academics, programs and extracurricular activities for Hart School District students.  Tickets are $25 for General Admission and $20 for Student, Senior and Active Military. Tickets are available online. Tickets may also be purchased at the door, if available.

When:  Saturday, March 14 at 7pm
Where:  Golden Valley High School Theater, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway
Contact:  661-799-9474
Link: http://wishscv.org

100 Greener Homes Workshop
The City of Santa Clarita and The Energy Network are holding a “100 Greener Homes Workshop” Thursday, March 19. Be part of the City’s 100 Greener Homes goal. Learn how your home uses and loses energy; meet local participating contractors who can answer your questions; and find out about rebate and financing. Refreshment and prizes will be part of the event. Your home may be eligible to receive up to $6,500 for energy efficiency improvements. RSVP online.

When:  Thursday, March 19 from 6:00pm-7:30pm
Where:  Old Town Newhall Library, 24500 Main Street, Newhall
Contact:  877-785-2237
Link: http://theenergynetwork.com

Circle Of Hope “Bowling For Hope”
Join Circle of Hope in “Bowling for Hope.” Bowl for three hours for $25. The fee includes shoes, lunch and bowling for a great cause. There will also be a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle.  Circle of Hope Mission Statement: Circle of Hope provides education and support services for uninsured and underinsured individuals with breast cancer, as well as ovarian, cervical, uterine, colon, testicular, prostate and childhood cancers. This mission extends to patients’ families and the community.

When:  Sunday, March 15 form 1pm-4pm
Where:  Valencia Lanes, 23700 Lyons Avenue, Newhall
Contact:  661-254-5218
Link: http://www.circleofhopeinc.org

Thursdays@Newhall SENSES “Luck O’ The Irish”
SENSES is part of the Thursdays@Newhall events. Occurring the third Thursday of each month, SENSES is a themed block party. Each month there is a theme with performers and themed activities. Bring extra spending money for the gourmet food trucks. This month’s theme is “Luck O’ the Irish.” Celtic rock music will be performed by Green Ashes.

When:  Thursday, March 12 from 7pm-10pm
Where:  Old Town Newhall on Main Street between Market and 6th
Link: http://oldtownnewhall.com/thursdaysatnewhall/senses

Beautification Projects Need Volunteers

| Community | February 26, 2015

This Saturday and on Wednesdays, beginning March 4, 2015, volunteers will be needed for multiple local projects. The City of Santa Clarita is recruiting volunteers for several beautification efforts, including the Golden Valley Bridge Painting Project, Wildwood Canyon Trails Maintenance, and Quigley Canyon Tree Wells and Clearing.

The Golden Valley Bridge Painting Project offers volunteer opportunities in two shifts, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Saturday, February 28, 2015. Participants will help with taping off areas of the bridge to prep for painting, clean up and possibly painting. Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.

Volunteers are also needed for the Wildwood Canyon Trails Maintenance Project. From 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Wednesdays starting on March 4, 2015, volunteers can help with erosion control, brushing and tread-building. No prior experience is required, but volunteers must be able to hike two miles.

Residents 18 and older can volunteer for the Quigley Canyon Tree Wells and Clearing Project from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on March 14, 2015. This involves clearing rocks from trails and placing them along the sides of the trail to mark the walkway, digging tree wells around trees and removing metal fences.

Interested groups and individuals can sign up to volunteer for these and more opportunities at santaclaritavolunteers.com. For more information, contact the City’s Volunteer Engagement Program at (661) 250-3708 or volunteers@santa-clarita.com.

SCV Junction is Monthly Marketplace

| Community, News | February 26, 2015

by Martha Michael
While many residents have been to Heritage Junction in search of a broader historical education, there is now another reason to pay a visit to the site.

SCV Junction is a monthly outdoor marketplace in the historical Heritage Junction, which is located inside William S. Hart Park in Old Town Newhall.  Local handmade arts and crafts are featured on the first weekend of the month—rain or shine—for visitors to shop and participate in do-it-yourself projects, pan for gold and scavenger hunt. The monthly event is sponsored by the Santa Clarita Historical Society and Shop the Lot, and merchandise includes home décor, soaps, metal art and more.

The next SCV Junction Outdoor Marketplace is on March 7-8, when its host, the Santa Clarita Historical Society, invites the public to “Come find GOLD at the end of the Rainbow,” denoting an early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The event dovetails with Heritage Junction’s local history involving the discovery of gold in Placerita Canyon under the Oak of the Golden Dream.

Admission and parking are free. Visitors can tour the Saugus Train Station Museum, the Newhall Ranch House and more historic buildings. The event is appropriate for kids and lunch can be purchased from a food truck.

SCV Junction is a fundraising event benefiting the SCV Historical Society, a 501c3 non-profit organization. Heritage Junction is the headquarters of the SCV Historical society and home to several historical structures built in Santa Clarita during the 1800s, including the Saugus Train Station. Inside the train station is a museum with photos and artifacts of the early days of Santa Clarita.

For more information visit www.SCVJunction.com, call 661-418-7718 or email the event planners at SCVJunction@gmail.com. Heritage Junction is located at 24101 Newhall Ave., Santa Clarita, CA 91321

Original Composition To Be Performed At Free Concert

| Community | February 19, 2015

by Melissa Lampert

quarterconcertAn original composition created by The Master’s College student Amy Mack is set to be performed by the Grace Baptist Praise Symphony Orchestra at a free concert in Santa Clarita on Feb. 27.

Called “Tunes, Tales and Truths,” the family-friendly concert will feature the world premiere of “The Light Princess,” a classic tale by George MacDonald, as well as the original artwork of Jay Wegter.

“The Light Princess” tells the story of a cursed princess who can only find happiness while in a magical lake. After a prince from another land finds her and falls in love, the witch who cursed her is furious. She begins to drain the lake, slowly taking the princess’ life with it and forcing the prince to embark on a quest to save her.

Other tales will also be featured throughout the night following the theme “stories in music.”

Mack is a senior composition major at The Master’s College and has been composing music since she was in high school. She was awarded a composition scholarship to attend the Master’s College for her first ever composition, “The Awakening,” which was written for a full orchestra and recorded by the Grace Baptist Praise Symphony Orchestra.

“Tunes, Tales and Truths” is set to be held Friday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church, located at 22833 Copper Hill Drive in Santa Clarita.

A second version of “The Light Princess” will also be performed at Mack’s Senior Composition Recital at The Master’s College on March 6 at 6 p.m.

Celebrity Waiter Fundraiser Saturday

| Community | February 19, 2015

This weekend hundreds of local residents will get costumed for the much-anticipated fundraiser the SCV Senior Center’s Celebrity Waiter Dinner. On top of an evening with fun-loving friends, guests will each have the opportunity to win auction items including a seven-day Princess cruise for two to either the Caribbean or Mexico. this Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Hyatt Regency Valencia.

Also at the event, held this Saturday, February 21 at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, supporters will bid on a number of unique trips, social events and experiences at both live and silent auctions. One of the auction items is a “log” boat from Six Flags Magic Mountain’s historic Log Jammer ride, and one lucky bidder will win a week in a fully equipped Maui beach house that sleeps 10 guests. Other unique auction items include a day of sailing for four guests on a trimaran sailboat; a barbecue party at the Sand Canyon home of Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar; lunch with U.S. Congressman Steve Knight, State Assemblyman Scott Wilk or Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean; or an antique corner cast iron wood-burning stove from the turn-of-the-century.

Bidders can also compete for decorator items, dinner and theater experiences, a plane ride to the Santa Barbara area, a tandem skydiving experience, a pair of garden art metal giraffes, a picnic basket complete with wine glasses and cheese board, original pictures, tickets to sporting events, a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West desert masterpiece in Scottsdale, AZ, massage and spa services, house cleaning services, beauty products, jewelry, a collector set of six wooden cars, and a collection of gift certificates. Scheduled items also include golf packages, website design, a telescope with tripod, handmade chess set, tours of Animal Tracks in Acton next to Vasquez Rocks, orthodontics, printing, a paddle boat and more.

Table sponsors are working on zany themes and decorations for their tables, based on the event’s “Cities of the World” theme. Cities already reserved include Budapest, Dodge City (Kansas), Las Vegas, Manchester (England), New Orleans, Gotham City, Paris, Athens, Chicago, Copenhagen and Roswell (New Mexico).  Table hosts and guests can start registering as early as 5 p.m. on the evening of the dinner, and the program is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.  In addition to the auctions, guests will enjoy live music and entertainment. The introduction of the “celebrity” waiters to the crowd is always a surprise and fun experience. Guests can help their waiters earn the Favorite Waiter award by purchasing scrip to “tip” the waiter for special perks and antics throughout the evening. A number of waiters also are participating in pre-event fundraising, which is added to their “tip” income when selecting the Favorite Waiter.

Table hosts will also be competing for awards for best decorated table and best costumes.

The Celebrity Waiter is one of the SCV Senior Center’s top fundraising events. Proceeds help to support such services as home delivered meals, reassurance telephone calls, educational and support groups, the Handyworker program, Supportive Services and many other programs.

Table sponsorships will be available until the venue reaches capacity, with costs ranging from $1,650 to $5,500, depending on the perks available at each level. Tables seat 10 guests, and sponsors receive night-of-event recognition. Individual tickets are $125 each. Table reservations or additional information are available by calling Jennifer at (661) 259-9444, Ext144.

Lent Begins for Locals

| Community | February 19, 2015

Some traditions never change. We still mark time, however, with others that may take shape a little bit differently than they used to. There seems to be room for both, as Santa Clarita churches entered a new Lenten season this week.

It remains to be seen whether Easter Sunday will see a lineup of little girls in patent leather Mary Janes and lily white bonnets, but the Lenten season began with some of the same traditions as always. A look at local websites and Facebook pages for Catholic parishes made it known that a new season had begun. Each church held multiple masses for Ash Wednesday, the official start of the Lenten season ending on the weekend of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The students at OLPH (Our Lady of Perpetual Help) School began the day with Ash Wednesday Mass. Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Parish in Saugus posted Lent activities for kids on its Facebook site.

One of the community’s favorite Lent activities is back for the 37th year in Canyon Country. St. Clare of Assisi Parish is kicking off its annual Lenten Fish Fry dinners this Friday, Feb. 20 to observe the season of Lent and benefit several SCV charities.

Because of the admonition to avoid meat on Fridays during Lent, the dinners are available every Friday night to members and non-members alike.

The dinners, which are served from 4:30 to 8 p.m., are set to continue for five additional Fridays and include beer battered Alaskan cod, French fries or rice pilaf, coleslaw and rolls. Dinners are available for dine in or take out and range from $9 to $10.

Beneficiaries include Bridge to Home, SCV Food Pantry, the SCV Pregnancy Center, the San Fernando Valley Family Counseling Center, the Archdiocese of the Military and families in need.

Ash Wednesday marked the first day of the 40-day Lenten fast, which many Western Christians observe to prepare for Easter Sunday in imitation of Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast in the desert.

City’s Thursdays @ Newhall Series Returns with New Events in 2015

| Community | February 5, 2015

Free Events Held Thursday Nights from March through October in Old Town Newhall

Thursdays @ Newhall Returns
Crowds will form on Thursday nights in Old Town Newhall again as the City of Santa Clarita brings back the Thursdays @ Newhall series. Presented by Galpin Subaru, new and returning events will attract crowds to Main Street beginning March 5, 2015, including a weekly rotation of ArtSLAM, a car show, SENSES, The ARTree 2015 Speaker Series and the Concert Series sponsored by OutWest Boutique.

With Main Street serving as the backdrop, each week’s entertainment includes exciting new themes, attractions and hands-on activities for all ages in the heart of Old Town Newhall’s Arts District. On the first Thursday of each month from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., ArtSLAM will combine forces with JAM Sessions to celebrate art, music and movement. ArtSLAM features art installations by local artists. JAM Sessions is an interactive series inviting participants of all skill levels to release their inner artist through tango, salsa, drumming, square dance and much more. All ArtSLAM events are free and open to the public.

ArtSLAM kicks off on Thursday, March 5 with a pop-up art gallery and a Bollywood dance JAM Session. Additional JAM Sessions scheduled for the 2015 ArtSLAM season include Square Dance on April 2, Japanese Folk Dance on May 7, African Dance and Drums on June 4, Drum Circle on July 2, Swing Dance on August 6, Salsa Dance on September 3, and Tango Dance on October 1. JAM Sessions begin at 7:30 p.m. and are presented in partnership with the Ford Theatre Foundation, with funding provided by The James Irvine Foundation. To learn more, visit FordJamSessions.org. 

The Thursdays @ Newhall series includes Revved Up, a new and free themed car show held from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. Each event will feature top quality cars, a live DJ, food trucks and a beer and wine garden for adults. Attendees will be invited to vote for their favorite car, with eligible winners entered into the annual OTNA Classic Car Show.

Revved Up begins on Thursday, March 12 with a Classic VW car show. Additional shows scheduled for the 2015 Revved Up series include Trucks and Off-Road Vehicles on April 9, Traditional Rods and Customs on May 14, Custom & Classic Motorcycles on June 11, Imports on July 9, Antiques on August 13, Low Riders on September 10 and Oddball Cars on October 8, 2015.

Residents may submit a vehicle for consideration in a show by applying online at http://oldtownnewhall.com/thursdaysatnewhall/revved-up or by contacting the City’s Arts and Events office at aeo@santa-clarita.com.

The City’s popular SENSES block party will heat up Main Street once again from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on every third Thursday of the month. The free outdoor events, which draw thousands of attendees, will kick off on Thursday, March 19 with a Luck o’ the Irish theme, including live Celtic rock music by Green Ashes, as well as food trucks and activities.

Other SENSES themes slated for 2015 include Country Throwdown on April 16, Masquerade on May 21, Let it Ride on June 18, Christmas in July on July 16, Woodstock on August 20, Hot Havana Nights on September 17 and Sports of all Sorts on October 15.

Two special events will be held on the fourth Thursday of each month in collaboration with Thursdays @ Newhall, including the free ARTree 2015 Speaker Series and the OutWest Concert Series.

The ARTree 2015 Speaker Series will feature free lectures and discussions with influential artists and leaders who bring art, arts education and exceptional projects to Santa Clarita. The series will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month beginning February 26 at the Old Town Newhall Library. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

The ARTree Speaker Series is presented in partnership with the CalArts Community Arts Partnership and the City of Santa Clarita.

For more information about the City of Santa Clarita’s 2015 Thursday @ Newhall events, visit OldTownNewhall.com/ThursdaysatNewhall or contact the City’s Arts and Events Office at (661) 250-3787.

Arts & Entertainment Schedule

| Community | January 9, 2015

Sunday Nights (5 p.m.) $5
The VU Blues Jam
The VU Allstars host the evening music with a guest band followed by an Open Jam.
The VU Bar
22505 8th St,
Newhall, CA 91321

Monday Nights (5 – 8 p.m.)
Chess & Pizza! With Coach J
The Chess Doctor is in – come learn about chess or improve your game. Every Monday that is not a holiday, California Youth Chess League (CYCL) offers free chess play to the public. Come in for the chess, but make sure you order some pizza – it’s great! This is not a drop-off location. Parents MUST NOT leave children unattended
Vincenzo’s Pizza
24504 ½ Lyons Ave. Newhall, CA

Friday Nights (7-9 p.m.)
Melissa Performs for Guests
Hear Melissa play piano/guitar and sing while you dine. Enjoy a nice Italian dinner, a glass of wine and songs by Melissa.
La Toscana Trattoria Grill.
25858 Tournament Road, Valencia, CA (661) 254-9000

Saturday Nights (7-11 p.m.)
Live Blues Shows – Great BBQ and enjoy an evening of blues with theses very talented musicians.
Westfield Valencia Town Center
24201 West Valencia Blvd., Valencia, CA

Saturday Nights (7:30 PM)
Belly Dancing
Persia Restaurant offers you an experience of great taste and style. Discover delectable subtleties of Persian and Mediterranean food along with belly dancers to entertain you.
Live Jazz Music every other Friday Night.
Persia Elegant Cuisine
27600 Bouquet Canyon Rd., Saugus (661) 513-0077
Thursday Nights (8 p.m.)
Salsa Dance lessons and dancing afterwards Belly Dancers appear every night, but salsa dancing takes over on Thursdays. Persia Lounge also has an All you can Eat Lunch Buffet for $9.99 from 11:30 to 2:30 pm. Full service catering is available for  businesses & home, packages starts as low as $8 for lunch: Kabobs, Rice, Appetizers. There is a special beer & wine selection.
Persia Lounge
24328 Main St. Newhall, CA. (661) 259-4100

Friday, January 9 (7 – 9 p.m.) FREE
FRIDAY Singing Club Open Mic Night
The Singing Club presents this open mic event to all amateur singers and entertainers looking for a place to present their latest endeavors. Feel free to present whatever form of entertainment (family rated) you wish (songs, poetry, readings, comedy, instrumental, duets, etc.). Acts are rotated in order of arrival and each act is expected to last about 2-5 minutes. There is a library of over 2,500 song tracks available – or bring your own CD, YouTube link, or thumb drive. The library is available at the Singing Club web site (below).
It’s A Grind Coffee House
29641 The Old Rd Castaic, CA 91384
(Hasley Canyon exit off the 5 – in the Ralphs shopping center in Castaic)
(661) 702-9636
http://www.thesingingclub.net

Friday,January 9 (7 p.m. to ??) FREE
Guitar Center Open Jam
These shows provide an opportunity for musicians to gain experience performing to a live audience without having to go through the process of getting normal music gigs, which is very difficult to do without experience of live
performance.
Vincenzo’s Pizza,
24504 ½ Lyons Ave. Newhall, CA. (661) 259-6733

Saturday, January 10 (8 – 10 p.m.)
Melissa Performs for Guests
Hear Melissa play piano/guitar and sing while you dine. Enjoy a nice Italian dinner, a glass of wine and songs by Melissa.
WINE 661
Wine Bar & Bottle Shop
24268 Valencia Blvd,
Santa Clarita, CA 91355 Phone: (661) 288-2980

Saturday, January 10 (7:30 -10:30 p.m.)
Grateful Dudes Bluegrass
Long running very popular Bluegrass Jam. Come enjoy the evening of free music, meet with friends and order a pizza. Fun for the whole family.
Vincenzo’s Pizza,
24504 ½ Lyons Ave. Newhall, CA. (661) 259-6733

Sunday, January 11 (8 p.m.)
Robert Heft Blues Band
All Ages Welcome. Bring your Mother, Friends, Family and Instruments. Backline is furnished – Just sign in at the door. Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society (SCVBS) members get a free upgrade from a Medium to Large Pizza.
Vincenzo’s Pizza
24504 ½ Lyons Av, Newhall, CA

Tuesday, January 13 (7:30 p.m.)
Strong Van Winkl Music Showcase
Join Chuck and Skip for an evening of great music. There is no charge to listen. Come on by for a cold drink and some great food. It’s “Prime Rib Special” night.
Music Tuesday Nights with Skip & Chuck.
Bergie’s Bar & Grill
16404 Delone Street, Santa Clarita

Tuesday, January 13 (6:30 p.m.) FREE
Keyboard Galleria “Open Mike”
Solo acts, duos and small combos are welcome. KGMC always provides a great back line, so don’t worry about your gear. Of course, if you are attached to your favorite guitar, bring it. The stage is complete with amps, drums, pro piano, and BOSE sound system. It’s a great room to play. Try out a new song you are composing, or perform a song by your favorite artist … or just come and listen to the great talent that will perform. RSVP or call 661-259-5397 to get your name on the list.
Keyboard Galleria (661) 259-5397
21515 Soledad Canyon Rd. Ste. 120

Saturday, January 17 (7:30 -10:30 p.m.)
Grateful Dudes Bluegrass
Long running very popular Bluegrass Jam. Come enjoy the evening meet with friends and order a pizza. Fun for the whole family.
Vincenzo’s Pizza
24504 ½ Lyons Ave.Newhall, CA. (661) 259-6733

Monday, January 19 (6 – 8:30 p.m.)
Robert Heller Band host
“New Talent Open Mike”
The Robert Heller Band will perform and host the evening’s entertainment. Robert and the Band will provide the back line. Come prepared to perform two songs, bring your instruments.Get in on the FUN or just come and listen. Sign ups begin at 6 p.m.
Vincenzo’s Pizza
24504 1/2 Lyons Ave., Newhall, CA 91321

Monday, January 19 (6:30 p.m.) FREE
James Wisnowski to Demo
at SCV Artists Meeting
James is a graduate of the American Academy of Art and a signature member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America. In addition, he is a member of the Oil Painters of America, California Art Club, Laguna Plein Air Painters of America, American Watercolor Society, Chicago Artists Coalition, and the Palette and Chisel Fine Arts Academy. James focuses on the outdoor landscape in both oils and watercolor mediums, traveling and teaching his technique in workshops extensively in inspirational locations in Europe and the USA. Painting en plein air gives him a more immediate and intimate encounter with the subject, which allows him to translate the experience onto canvas. These paintings are later used as studies for larger work done in the studio. His technique is defined as a realist and a colorist, simplifying and emphasizing the light and color in order to communicate his vision of his environment as he sees it. James believes painting is a visual language with no need of verbal explanation. You can read more about James and view his work at http://jameswisnowski.com/.
Barnes & Noble Books
23630 Valencia Blvd,
Santa Clarita, CA 91355 Phone: (661) 254-6604

Special Thanks to David Veal (DVeal@socal.rr.com)

The Canyon Country Advisory Committee and the year 2015

| Community | January 8, 2015

by Alan Ferdman

With 2015 already upon us, the Canyon Country Advisory Committee will be celebrating its 18th anniversary providing Santa Clarita Valley communities with information and services unlike any other organization in our area. Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month, except December, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Mint Canyon Moose Banquet Room, 1800 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country. There is no charge for attendance. Presentations provided are video recorded and then loaded on YouTube for those unable to attend.

Last year provided many opportunities for the Canyon Country Advisory Committee to expand services at a level greater than ever before. The first opportunity spotlighted the group’s unique “Meet and Greet” format. This process allows for election candidates to provide short presentations about their qualifications and then follows up with a question and answer session. Questions are directly asked by audience members and answers provided by the candidates themselves.  All 13 of the 2014 Santa Clarita City Council candidates participated in meetings held January through March. Congressional Assembly candidates Steve Knight and Tony Strickland were highlighted at the September meeting, and finally Los Angeles County Sheriff candidates Jim McDonnell and Paul Tanaka took center stage during the October meeting. In addition, information was provided throughout the year on major issues such as CEMEX, Billboards, Measure S, and Chloride, plus much more.
With the majority of future local elections over a year away, 2015 provides the Canyon Country Advisory Committee time to refocus on areas the City of Santa Clarita is doing very well and issues where improvement is essential if we are to maintain our Santa Clarita family-friendly lifestyle.

Santa Clarita Valley communities continue to grow.  We no longer live in a little town and our “One Valley One Vision” General Plan provides for the future population to almost double. Traffic congestion, water availability and other infrastructure issues are already being felt around the city. Today, as the third largest city in Los Angeles County, working to establish a culture which establishes continuous improvement for all aspects of city processes and services must be a top priority. It is our responsibility to stay informed, keep our eye on the ball and hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make. Only then can we be assured Santa Clarita will remain a community where our children and grandchildren will want to live.

To help you stay informed, I invite you to join us at the first Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting of 2015 on Wednesday, January 21, remembering always “Together We Can Make A Difference.”

Just a Few Fun Things to Do

| Community | December 26, 2014

Ongoing
Outdoor Ice Rink
Westfield Valencia Town Center, partnering with Topanga Canyon Ice, will host an outdoor ice skating rink through January 11. The Payforward Ice Rink at Westfield Valencia Town Center is located on Town Center Drive and features real ice, skate rentals, and events in an ambient atmosphere for skaters of all ages to enjoy.

Open Skate Times:
Mon-Thurs, 11am – 9:30pm
Fri & Sat, 10am – 11pm
Sunday, 11am – 8pm

Check the website (click on “More Info”) calendar for dates & times of rink closures.

Holiday Hours are subject to change. The facility is subject to close for Holidays, Holiday Private Parties and Private Ice Rental at any time.

Skating tickets are purchased for a maximum of two hour sessions*:

Admission and Skate Rental (9+): $15

Kids (8 & under): $12

Children 3 & under: Free with paid adult

Walkers (on ice to assist skaters): $5 per 30-minute session

*Skaters will be entitled to a minimum two-hour block of skating time, however there are no in/out options available, once you leave the skating area your session is over.

Adult Frequent Skater Pass (12 Admissions): $120
Child Frequent Skater Pass (12 Admissions): $150
Holiday festivities include Hot Cocoa with Santa, holiday character shows, Frozen on Ice, Polar Bear Skate, and more! Website: www.towncenteronice.com.

Six Flags Magic Mountain Holiday in the Park
With hundreds of thousands of lights on display, now is a good time to visit Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita. It is Magic Mountain’s first “Holiday in the Park,” where visitors can enjoy the holiday music, dancers, carolers and games and more. The Winter Wonderland will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus and will continue through Sunday, January 4. The shows and rides are open to ticketholders; visit the website: www.magicmountain.sixflags.com.

Saturday, December 27, 2014
Extended Family Holiday Hike
This hike in Whitney Canyon to the Waterfall (short and shady) can get those out of town guests out of the house and burning calories after the holidays. It is such a pleasant and easy “out and back” hike that you can bring Gran, the grandkids and the new puppy. This is a flat (barely) 5-mile hike through a riparian area with shade along most of the route. Your hike will start off on a dirt road, but after about a half mile, it becomes a single track all the way to a little waterfall. The waterfall is dry this time of year, but there might still be wildflowers all along the riparian corridor.

Bring: An extra layer if it is particularly chilly. It is short but you might like to bring a snack, lots of water, sun protection/hat.

Meet your Leader: at Sierra Highway / Newhall Ave Park and Ride (Whitney Canyon trailhead), by the gate, at 8:00 a.m. for an 8:15 a.m. SHARP departure down the trail. You should be back by about 10:30 a.m. at the latest. RAIN CANCELS ALL HIKES. Directions: From Valencia, take the I-5 freeway south to the SR-14 North. Exit at Newhall Avenue. Take the right at the fork on the off-ramp. When you reach the stop sign, turn right. This will lead you quickly to the Park and Ride. Parking here is free. NOTE: If the Park and Ride is full, you may park in the MRCA lot ($7). It is wise to come a little early to secure a parking spot in the Park and Ride.

Look for your leader at the green MRCA gate by the green sign at the top/left of the Park and Ride.
Leader: Lise
Rated: Easy, suitable for newcomers and family

Monday, December 29, 2014
Thank You Note Workshop
Timed perfectly to cover all of your Christmas thank you note needs, the Valencia Library is holding a workshop to help you put just the right words together to show appreciation. The library will supply the paper and decorations to make them eye-catching also. It is open to the public and will be held at the Valencia Library in the VA Meeting Room at 1:00 p.m.

New Year’s Eve
Midnight in the Garden Masquerade
The Oaks Grille at TPC Golf Course will host a masquerade party on New Year’s Eve from 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Featuring the “Garden of Eden” five-course dinner prepared by Chef Otto, there are seatings at 7:45 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Formal attire is suggested and reservations are required for the event, which costs members $148 and non-members $170. Tournament Players Club is located at 26550 Heritage View Lane in Valencia. Visit www.oaksgrilletpc.com for more information.

Grants From Kaiser Go to Eight Local Non-Profits

| Community | December 18, 2014

Every year, a number of Santa Clarita non-profits get a boost from Kaiser Permanente. With an aim to “improve health locally,” the company’s Community Benefits Grants Program chooses to give money to charity groups that meet that criterion.

This year, the benefits totaled $62,626 and Santa Clarita’s lucky winners were:

Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley received $10,000 to support “Triple-Play,” a three-pronged (mind-body-soul) comprehensive health, fitness, and wellness initiative for at-risk youth at their club locations in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Bridge to Home received $9,626 to support a Health Navigator to coordinate healthcare for uninsured, homeless individuals and families in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Carousel Ranch received $4,000 to support equestrian therapy and exercise for lower-income children with physical disabilities at risk for obesity in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Child & Family Center received $15,000 to support the expansion of a school-based mental health program for lower-income, at-risk youths and their families in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Samuel Dixon Family Health Center received $7,000 to provide access to extensive dental services for lower-income, uninsured families in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center received $5,000 to support case management, health and wellness programming and screenings, and chronic disease education for lower-income seniors in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Single Mother’s Outreach received $7,000 to support case management to help address the social service and mental health needs of low-income single mother-headed households in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Special Olympics Southern California received $5,000 to support year-round sports, health, and fitness programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities at risk for obesity in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The organizations chosen need to show a commitment to expanding access to care for lower-income and uninsured individuals, improving education, prevention, early detection, treatment of chronic diseases, and efforts to promote healthy eating and active living to combat increased obesity rates through medical, environmental, and social changes.

“Our physicians and employees in the Santa Clarita Valley are proud to support our local non-profit organizations with these grants,” says Physician-In-Charge David Wong, MD. “Through partnerships with these groups, we are working to benefit the community at large by addressing issues and concerns that affect its overall health.”

To learn more Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit program visit: http://community.kp.org/ or follow @KPCommBenefit on Twitter.

About Kaiser Permanente Santa Clarita and Panorama City Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente Panorama City serves more than 200,000 members in the East San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. The care the medical group provides to members and patients is focused on total health and is guided by each patient’s personal physician, specialists, and team of caregivers. For more information, go to: kp.org/santaclarita and follow us on Twitter @KPPanoramaCity.

Just a Few Fun Things to Do!

| Community | December 11, 2014

Saturday, 12/13, 1-4:15pm
Ice Station Valencia’s Family Snow Days
27745 N. Smyth Drive in Valencia

The Ice Station’s Family Snow Days are a fun opportunity for the entire family to play in snow, ice skate, drink hot cocoa, meet Frosty the Snowman and have a fun family holiday experience. They will be offering FREE beginning ice skating lessons at 2:00pm and 3:15pm. Kids: $12, Adults: FREE to play in Snow or $5 for skate rentals with child admission. Visit www.icestation.net for more information.

Saturday, 12/13, 8pm
Rockapella Holiday Show
SCPAC 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Valencia
Back by popular demand, the undisputed kings of contemporary a cappella continue to offer proof of their boundless ability to inspire and attract devoted fans, new and old. They’ve toured the globe, helped 10 million viewers find Carmen Sandiego on PBS, and have provided a funky, powerful soundtrack to several generations of vocal music fans. Now they promise to deck the Performing Arts Center’s halls with holiday favorites, uniquely Rockapella-style. Tickets are on sale at www.canyonsPAC.com or by calling 661-362-5304.
Saturday and Sunday, 12/13 & 12/14, 8:30-10:45am
Breakfast with Santa
SCSC Activities Center, 20870 Centre Pointe Parkway

Join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a great breakfast, holiday stories, arts & crafts, and much more! There will be plenty of photo opportunities so make sure to bring your camera. Everyone one year and older must present a ticket to attend, cost is $20 for residents and $25 for non-Santa Clarita residents. To register call 661-290-2261.

Sunday, 12/14, 1 pm
Bowling for Kids
Valencia Lanes, 23700 Lyons Avenue in Newhall

Taylor Kellstrom and the SCV Book Exchange proudly present the 3rd Annual Bowling for Kids Charity Event with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Come out and bowl for $25 for 3 hours, including shoes, or buy a lane for $110 for up to 5 people. If you are not a bowler, come out and bid on the silent auction items. This year will include a 50/50 raffle, toy donations, and bowling award as well. Auction items last year included a signed hockey stick by an LA Kings player, UCLA football tickets, Clipper tickets, a foursome to Vista Valencia, free karate lessons, and many more other items. Any donation is appreciated! Lane and event sponsorships are available as well. For more information visit www.taylorkellstrom.com or call 661-287-0103.

Sunday, 12/14, 4pm
Santa Clarita Master Chorale presents “A British Holiday”
SCPAC 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Valencia

From cathedrals and cozy manor houses to the lively London streets of Charles Dickens’ carolers, the Chorale and Children’s Choir will celebrate English holiday music from all ages, including beloved British composer John Rutter’s exuberant “Gloria.” Tickets range from $11 to $29. Tickets are on sale at www.canyonsPAC.com or by calling 661-362-5304

Sunday, 12/14, 5-8pm
“Winter Wonderland”
The Church on the Way Santa Clarita, 23415 Cinema Drive in Valencia

Come and enjoy a “Winter Wonderland” where it’s all about snow, snow and more snow! There will be age appropriate areas for snow play. Stroll along the craft fair for gifts and decorating items. “Winter Wonderland” will feature a live nativity, an outdoor movie, and an opportunity to take pictures with Santa. Food trucks will be on hand for food purchases. Admission is free. Call 661-291-6000 for more information.

Thursday, 12/18, 3-4:30pm
SCV Senior Center Holiday Concert
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street in Newhall

Get into the spirit of the holidays with SCV Senior Center’s Holiday Concert featuring the Silvertone Musicians, under the direction of John Swinford. Come and enjoy this free and holiday fun concert. Call 661-259-9444 for more information.

Libraries Host Hobbit Events

| Community | December 5, 2014

The popularity of films based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien has meant a wider swath of society has been able to enjoy the classic fiction. The branches of the Santa Clarita Library have several events planned that will draw attention to the upcoming release of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.” The public is invited to celebrate the new film with programming beginning next week and continuing through Monday, December 15, 2014.

All three library branches and several community partners will offer these FREE programs, movie screenings, and literary discussions:
Wednesday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. – Hosted at the Valencia Library branch, Tolkien expert Cliff Broadway, who also serves as a senior writer/editor of TheOneRing.net, will present “The Hobbit – Then and Now,” a review of all adaptations of “The Hobbit” story, culminating in a preview of how Peter Jackson will wrap up his current Hobbit film trilogy.

Thursday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m. – Join Professor Diana Glyer of Azusa Pacific University at the Jo Anne Darcy Canyon Country Library branch as she shares about J.R.R. Tolkien’s friendship with C.S. Lewis. Glyer will touch on their relationship, its profound influence on the books he was writing, and how one lunch changed Tolkien’s tales of Hobbits, Wizards, and Black Riders.

After each event referenced above, participants will have the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to a private screening of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” on Saturday, December 20 at 10:00 a.m. at the Valencia Stadium 12 Theater. In order to be eligible to win a ticket, library guests must participate in at least one activity, have a Santa Clarita Public Library card and be 13 years or older.

All events are sponsored by the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library. To learn more or to become a member, visit SantaClaritaFOL.com

Stay connected on all Hobbit Happenings by liking the Santa Clarita Public Library Facebook page at Facebook.com/SCVPublicLibrary or following the Twitter account at Twitter.com/SCVPublicLib. For further information, visit SantaClaritaLibrary.com or contact your local Santa Clarita Public Library branch.

Agent Brings Bands to Public Fans

| Community, News | December 5, 2014

by Martha Michael
If you know Santa Clarita resident Chris Burke, you move from six degrees to two degrees from a number of the world’s most famous musical entertainers.

For decades, Burke has been an agent for bands represented by Hollywood’s most prestigious talent agencies, currently WME (William Morris Endeavor). Over the years, the 51-year-old has worked with groups like Three Dog Night and Crosby, Stills and Nash, and singers like Janet Jackson, Tony Bennett and Natalie Cole.

It was Burke’s connection to his client Kenny Loggins that brought the famed artist to the SCV last month for a fundraiser benefiting the Golden Valley High School Band. It pulled in more than $40,000. An event of that magnitude would seem daunting to the average resident, but for Burke it was “another day at the office.” It’s what he does—books talent at venues all over the world, setting up tours and promoting clients.

“I sat in the audience at the Golden Valley High School Theater watching Kenny Loggins’ performance for free to help the music department … the audience on their feet,” says Burke, “I couldn’t help getting a bit emotional, thinking, ‘He is doing this for me and for all the right reasons—helping our school.’ These types of things are very rare in this business. So, yeah, definitely ‘top ten.’”

It sounds like a stereotype, but Burke started in the mailroom. He was a student at California State University, Northridge, and landed a job at a small agency called Regency Artists. On his second day there, he made a delivery to the home of legendary singer Johnny Mathis.

“I remember specifically thinking, when he personally answered the door, that most of my friends wouldn’t even know who he was, but because of my mom and dad being in the business, I not only knew, but lived his music and realized he was already a legend,” says Burke. “I thought my career had peaked on my first day in the mailroom.”
Burke was also an usher at The Greek Theater in Hollywood. His next move was to the position of assistant to Ben Bernstein, a former agent to Whitney Houston. His career continued to rise, propelling Burke to a position as music agent for the most competitive agency in Hollywood.

“I honestly feel blessed each day I go to work and do what I do,” says Burke.  

He has represented a wide range of musicians, many of them classic rock artists and bands from the 1970s and ‘80s who are still touring.

When asked if there’s a “down side,” Burke says, “The low points always come when you lose an act that you have been representing for many years. That has happened twice. One was the Pointer Sisters and the other was, ironically, Johnny Mathis.”  

On the other side of the coin, Burke has numerous favorite experiences in the business. For instance, he had the opportunity to hear and witness James Taylor and Carole King rehearse “You’ve Got a Friend” in a theater with only a couple of people watching.

“I have had the honor of flying on a private jet with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Jay Leno. I love being in an audience of a show that took months to negotiate and watch the audience go crazy,” says the agent.

He and his wife, Leslee, have been married for 24 years, and they have two children, nearly grown. Leslee works at Fair Oaks Community School in Santa Clarita. Their daughter, Lindsay, attends Azusa Pacific University and their son, Ryan, is a junior at Golden Valley High School (in the marching band, of course).

He gets asked about his job quite a bit, and the always upbeat Chris Burke is happy to share his experiences. He says, “After 35 years, I love doing what I do, which is a good thing, because I don’t know how to do anything else.”

Just a Few Fun Things to Do!

| Community | December 4, 2014

Saturday, 12/6, 9-4pm
Bubble Gamez Launch Party
Bridgeport Park, 23520 Bridgeport Lane

Join Bubble Gamez at a launch party this Saturday! Version 2 Development is proudly introducing Bubble Gamez to the SCV with the hope to make bubble activities a fun experience for the community. They will be playing 5v5 Bubble Soccer – CTF and offering a special introductory price of $15 per player, per game. Each game is approximately 35-40 minutes long and begin every hour. Spots are limited, so reserve them now. Make sure to review the participation requirements on the company’s website, as not everyone will qualify; for instance, players must be at least 16 years old to play. For more information, visit www.bubblegamez.com.

Saturday, 12/6, 9:30am-4:30pm
HMNMH “Holiday Home Tour”

The 34th Annual Holiday Home Tour will live up to its theme, “Holiday Memories.” Three local homes will thrill visitors with their festive holiday décor. Some of the highlights will be a Santa’s workshop, snowball collection, “A Nightmare Before Christmas” themed bedroom, and a “Nutcracker” themed room. The tour is open to adults and children over 12 and flat shoes are required. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the event. For more information, visit www.henrymayogiving.com.

Saturday, 12/6, 9:30am-4pm
HMNMH “Holiday Home Tour” Holiday Boutique
Pico Canyon Elementary, 25255 Pico Canyon, Stevenson Ranch

Bring your friends and family to view a wide selection of creative and unique holiday items that will be for sale. Admission to the Boutique is free.  

Saturday 12/6, 10am-1pm
Snow Fest
Santa Clarita Valley YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway in Valencia

It’s snowing at the Y! This Saturday the YMCA will be turned into a frozen winter wonderland for everyone to enjoy. There will be tons of snow, sledding, crafts, games, hot chocolate and more! This is a free event open to the entire community. Call 661-253-3593 for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 12-4pm
Vintage Christmas
Heritage Junction at Hart Park and Main Street in Newhall

A Vintage Christmas celebration with activities at Heritage Junction and Main Street. The activities at Heritage Junction will feature an animal blessing, Santa Claus, kids’ craft projects, historic building tours, sweet treats, coffee and hot cider. Activities on Main Street will feature Christmas caroling and a holiday boutique. The Holly Trolley will provide free shuttle service between Main Street and Heritage Junction. For more information, visit www.otna.org.

Saturday -Sunday, 12/6 & 7,10am-3pm
Placerita Nature Center “Holiday Craft Fair”
Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road in Newhall

Create and decorate your own holiday wreaths, centerpieces, candles and ornaments the Placerita Nature Center way, using fresh-cut greenery, pinecones and other natural treasures. This is a fundraiser with modest charges. Most crafts are $2 and wreaths start at $12. Cash and checks only. Visit www.placerita.org for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 2pm
SCV Historical Society “Ancient Enterprises”
Old Town Newhall Library, 24500 Main Street, Old Town Newhall

The SCV Historical Society brings to life the earliest inhabitants of the Santa Clarita Valley, the Tataviam.  Dr. Laurie Solis, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at College of the Canyons will be giving the presentation “Ancient Enterprises: How the Prehistoric Tataviam Survived & Thrived in An Ancient Landscape.” Admission is free. Visit www.scvhs.org/ for details.

Saturday, 12/6, 2-8pm
Winter Magic Lighted Boat Parade
Castaic Lake, 32132 Castaic Lake Drive, Castaic

This annual lighted boat parade will light up the night as you and the family enjoy food and snacks, a visit from Santa and real snow to play in (bring your sled!). Help out the needy by bringing a canned food item (you will receive one raffle ticket) or an unwrapped toy valued at $10 (receive 10 raffle tickets).

Saturday, 12/6, 6pm
Veterans Plaza Christmas Tree Lighting
Veterans Memorial Plaza, 24275 N. Walnut Street, Old Town Newhall

Celebrate our servicemen, past and present, with this delightful Christmas Tree Lighting at Veterans Plaza. There will be caroling, hot cocoa, holiday treats and a placing of a wreath for our fallen servicemen by the SCV Young Marines. The Christmas tree is decorated with photos of our military members surrounded by red, white and blue lights. Call 661-799-8865 for more information.

Saturday, 12/6, 7pm
William S. Hart’s 150th Birthday Celebration
William S. Hart Park and Museum, 24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall

The Friends of Hart Park have planned a special evening to celebrate silent movie star Bill Hart’s 150th Birthday! This special occasion begins with a candlelight tour of the Hart mansion all decked out for the holiday. The celebration moves to Hart Hall for wine, hors d’oeuvres and a wild and wooly birthday party featuring many different entertainers who would certainly have brought a smile to Bill Hart’s face. Become a member of Friends of Hart Park and your admission is free! Join at the Family Level or above and receive two (2) free tickets. Active members of Friends of Hart Park are entitled to one (1) free ticket. Members with family Level or above receive two (2) free tickets. As this is a “members only” event, be sure to join the FOHP or enhance your membership to a higher level to receive your free ticket(s). Reservations are required and can be made by phone 661-222-9542. Seating in Hart Hall is limited, so make your reservations early!

Sunday, 12/7, 9am, 11am, 1pm
Santa’s Village and Live Nativity Petting Zoo
His Way Church, 23670 Wiley Canyon Road in Ventura

Join His Way Church this holiday season for a fun Christmas play about thankfulness. There will be Santa’s Village and a live nativity petting zoo that will make a great backdrop for family photos. For more information, visit ehisway.org.

Sunday, 12/7, 2-5pm
Toys on Parade Dance
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street, Newhall

The Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will hold a “Toys on Parade Dance” at the SCV Senior Center. On her first visit to the club, Terry Sherrer will call squares and Anndrea Stephan will cue rounds. The club will be collecting new toys to donate to needy children for the holidays. Casual attire is always welcome! All community members are welcome to participate in toy donations between 2-5 p.m! For information, call 661-254-4272, visit www.sierrahillbillies.org or find the group on Facebook.

Tuesday, 12/9, 6-7:30pm
Internet 101 Workshop – The Basics & Beyond
SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market Street, Newhall

You will get tips to help you buy your computer during holiday sales! There will be easy instruction on accessing information and keeping in touch with family members. All questions answered! Special holiday rate of $5. Contact Robin Clough, rclough@scv-seniorcenter.org, 661-259-9444 for more information.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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