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CLAZZICAL NOTESBy Blog Master
Pasadena Clazzical Notes Concert
On a warm October evening a diverse group of music fans gathered together at the elegant Craftsman building of the Women’s Twentieth Century Club of Eagle Rock. This evening, a group called Clazzical Notes presented a jazz concert. The event was part of the Pasadena Village’s Open October series intended to introduce more people to the Village. The event was also the first of a potential series of collaborations between the Club and the Village.
Clazzical Notes is the brain child of Ms. Jerri Price-Gaines, long-time director of Education and Community Engagement at the Pasadena Symphony/POPS.
The concert featured jazz pianist Lanny Hartley who accompanied his wife, singer Yvette Freeman Hartley, in a performance of American standards. Mr. Hartley has had a distinguished career as a pianist, conductor, and composer, working with such legends as Lou Rawls and the Fifth Dimension. Ms. Hartley is an actress as well as a singer, with a long career in television, plays, and movies.
The hour-long performance included such old favorites as “How Deep is the Ocean”, “What a Difference a Day Makes”, and “At Last”. Lanny and Yvette captivated the audience with all the polish of years of experience. Village member Esther Gillies described Lanny's playing this way: “In Duke Ellington style, his fingers flew across the keyboard capturing handfuls of chords like magic.” The audience was foot tapping to the rhythms in no time.
Lanny gave the Women's Twentieth Century Club's hundred-year-old piano a workout, improvising jazz riffs in the songs. Linda Farrell, Vice President of the Club said, “We had been worried about the quality of our piano, but Lanny played it to the hilt and all was well!”
Ms. Price-Gaines, who serves as Executive Director of Clazzical Notes, commented that “the audience was very appreciative. The way they listened and responded to the music was gratifying.”
Clazzical Notes debuted at the Fuller Seminary Travis Auditorium in Pasadena in 2004 and continued performing until 2009. There were no more concerts until 2014. Late that year, Ms. Price-Gaines found herself looking through some old notes from past performers and fans of the program. The notes inspired her to resume the program, this time in a culturally expanded form. Her goal was to “bring people together from diverse backgrounds.” To achieve that goal, she began partnering with other organizations to build community through music.
The Women’s Twentieth Century Club of Eagle Rock, created in 1903, is dedicated to self-improvement, public service and the support of the ambitions of its members. The Club has an interesting history as a significant force in the women’s movement in America. In 1910 they led the petition for women’s suffrage in the California legislature. In 1913 they secured a grant of $7,500 from the Carnegie Corporation for a public library. The library opened in 1915 and is now the site of the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. Furthermore, the Club petitioned Occidental College to accept women when the college moved to Eagle Rock, and in 1922 they established a scholarship fund to help women students.
In 1912 the Club purchased a lot at the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Hermosa Street. The construction of a Craftsman style club house followed in 1914. This elegant and charming building, previously renovated in 2001, still stands watch over its lush grounds. The building hosts the group’s meetings as well as other events (such as the Clazzical Notes concert).
Katie Brandon, Executive Director of Pasadena Village, was thrilled with this first collaboration between the Club and the Village. Katie sees “great potential to provide more collaborative events to bring people together from different backgrounds to enjoy themselves and enlarge their community of friends.”
If the success of this concert is any indication, I think we all look forward to enjoying more such events in the future.