It was a seemingly pleasant Tuesday morning when Altadena Mountain Rescue Team member Chuck Rozner spoke calmly via satellite as he helped man a command post near Mount Waterman in Angeles National Forest to oversee the search for a missing Pasadena hiker.

The search was proceeding at full speed after cloudy conditions lifted, and the Sierra Madre Mountain Rescue Team said it was zeroing in on a location and expected a helicopter to arrive soon. 

Rozner, a 43-year veteran of the all-volunteer nonprofit Altadena organization, spoke with measured optimism. He’s assisted in or conducted dozens of rescues over the years and is one of about 120 trained mountaineers across eight teams that provide a backbone of support to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and are dedicated to saving lives through mountain rescue and safety education.

“I’ve been doing this pretty much since I was a Boy Scout,” said Rozner. “It’s a great way to volunteer and become part of a team, especially if you love the outdoors.”

Founded in 1951, the Altadena team is the oldest organization of its kind in L.A. County and has been deemed a member unit of the Sheriff’s Department Reserve Forces Bureau since 1956. Headquartered at the sheriff’s Altadena Station, the team is staffed by reserve deputies and civilian volunteer specialists and is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Though members come from all walks of life and professions, it isn’t unusual for them to get a call in the middle of the night or wee morning hours to help assist in a missing or injured person’s case, noted Rozner.

“You never know when you might get called, but everybody has jobs and personal lives, so not everyone goes every time they’re called,” he said.

Altadena team member Alexia Joens can attest to some late nights — she assisted in a search last Saturday morning and afternoon, then went home before returning for a new shift after 9 p.m., finally arriving home at 5 a.m.

Joens doesn’t think much about the hours, she said, knowing only that when she can go, she will. That’s part of the team’s mantra and commitment, members acknowledge.

“I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be able to do this kind of volunteering,” she said. “When you first come to the team, it’s a huge commitment and it really changes your life and the way you focus your activities. It’s really neat to be able to give back in this way and be a part of this effort, to be able to help someone who is out there injured or lost and return them to their families.”

On average, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team conducts about 100 search and rescue operations every year. In addition to rescues within Los Angeles County, the team has participated in operations throughout California, and in New York, Hawaii and Mexico.

Locally, the number of hikers injured or lost has seemingly increased over the years due to a number of factors. One is social media, Rozner said, with thrill seekers in search of post-worthy selfies and photos risking a hike to areas they are unfamiliar with or requiring more skills than they possess.

Eaton Canyon — which is in the Altadena team’s jurisdiction — in particular had some tragic endings in recent years, as some trekkers jumped or fell from the trail’s popular waterfalls. Another factor is technology: Though hiking and map applications have opened Angeles Forest to a more geographically diverse crowd, if those phones fail (batteries die or users hit a dead zone), the hiker can quickly get in trouble.

“In some ways technology has made our jobs a little easier as it can help trace someone, but it also emboldens people to go out into areas they’re just not familiar with or prepared for,” Rozner said.

Then there are more typical hazards, such as running out of water, getting caught in rain or snow, or getting turned around at dusk — a well-known occurrence in which the trail can suddenly appear completely unfamiliar to someone who previously has been on the path.

Altadena resident and rescue team member Fred Pearce has come to know part of the phenomenon as the “REI effect,” a nod to the outdoorsy inspirational marketing of REI sporting goods store.

Pearce, who by day is a full-time environmental consultant, recalled helping some hikers who still bore tags on their newly purchased equipment. In one instance, he recalled, the trekker didn’t know enough to remove the rubber guards on the hiking poles.

“We try and advise people as much as we can,” he said.

The team trains throughout the year using life-saving techniques, often in conjunction with other teams across the county and the Los Angeles County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service. They practice hoisting victims into helicopters and over cliff sides with a “basket,” or stretcher.

Members conduct weekend patrols of the mountain areas within their team’s jurisdiction, namely the 20 canyons behind Altadena and Pasadena, and are assigned weekend duty on a rotating basis, which averages once every other month. Those patrols ensure a quick response to emergencies during a time when they are most likely to occur, and also serve as a means of fire prevention and mountain safety.

Over time, members have assisted in some high-profile rescues, garnering media attention and reaping praise from local organizations. Recently, the Ayrshire Foundation took note of the group, granting it $55,000 for a new 2020 Ford F-250 Super Crew and A.R.E. Truck Topper — a much needed and welcomed piece of equipment that will help the team get to hard to reach places and save lives, Rozner said.

Members have also accumulated impactful rescue stories and assisted in life-altering experiences. For Pearce, one of those was the time he and team colleagues found a hiker in Angeles Forest who had been missing for an entire week.

“I’ll never forget that day — it was an incredible feeling,” Pearce recounted. The team had hiked for hours down a new search point into a canyon, where they followed a rushing river downstream. Suddenly there appeared the missing 73-year-old who’d been separated from his hiking group. Apart from some malnourishment and dehydration, the man was OK.

“We’ve been on many, many searches, but finding someone alive after a week makes it all worth it,” said Pearce, who has also aided in multiple body recovery missions.

Though not every search has a happy ending, there is also “value in helping families reunite with their loved ones and help bring them closure,” Rozner added.

Apart from saving lives and educating residents how to safely navigate their backyard forest, the Altadena team has kindled a strong kinship among its members.

“We really look out for each other; there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for me, and that goes both ways — this group feels like a second family,” Pearce said.

The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team is always seeking new volunteers. Those interested should come ready to spend time in the outdoors and have a “desire and determination to help people,” Rozner said, adding that the nonprofit organization provides all the training and equipment. To learn more, visit amrt.org.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association has selected eight high school seniors as the 2021 Rose Scholars. The group consists of Ritaj Abdulla, Pasadena High School; Simone Kuo, John Marshall Fundamental High School; Cole Brown, Marshall Fundamental; Oscar Damian Larios, Pasadena High School; Madeleine Chen, Marshall; Tia Reed, John Muir High School; Noah Griffin, John Muir; and Florence Winslow, Rose City High School.
Rose Scholars, presented by Citizens Business Bank, is a program designed to help students in our community thrive and to foster their potential. The program has awarded $20,000 in scholarships to eight graduating seniors from the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD).
“Citizens Business Bank and the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association have enjoyed a long-standing relationship, and we were honored to support and launch the 2021 class of Rose Scholars,” said David A. Brager, chief executive officer of Citizens Business Bank. “Education and opportunity are fundamental to the future of the communities that we serve, and we wish all the PUSD students who applied or were selected well in their future endeavors.”
As part of the application process, students were invited to submit a creative piece that reflected their future dreams, goals and aspirations. A one-page reflection describing their thoughts and feelings about the piece was also required, as well as still images of their work and a video recording describing their inspiration.
Instead of a minimum GPA requirement, applicants were asked to obtain a recommendation from a teacher, coach, counselor or community member.
“Congratulations to the 2021 class of Rose Scholars. We appreciate the support that PUSD students receive from partners like Citizens Business Bank,” said PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald. “As a former banker, I know firsthand the impact businesses have in the community when they support students. We’re also grateful for the continued relationship with our community partner, the Tournament of Roses. Their steadfast commitment to Pasadena, its people, and youth is a shining example of what we can do when we come together.”
Applications were reviewed and scored based on the structure of their art, the organization and language of their written reflection, and the recommendation from an educator, coach or community member. The review committee was comprised of Tournament of Roses members, staff and PUSD representatives.
“Working closely with PUSD teachers and administration, the goal was to make the scholarship as attainable as possible for all students, “said Bob Miller, president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “The scholarship program included all PUSD high schools, inclusive of the district’s non-traditional high schools, and supports students that have overcome adversity and pave a way for their future.”
The Tournament of Roses Association and its foundation are focused on positively impacting the Pasadena community with charitable giving, volunteerism, and community involvement,” according to a spokesperson. “As part of this work, the Association has partnered with Citizens Business Bank to launch Rose Scholars and other signature community programs.”

Rose Bowl Aquatics Center lifeguard manager and head coach Kandis Pulliam encourages one of her Rays swim team members in the pool. Pulliam has developed a social community for the team, one that’s proven invaluable during the pandemic.

When Sofia Sanchez first came to the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center at 6 years old, she didn’t want to go near the pool.
Diagnosed with autism, Sofia had spatial orientation and sensory processing issues combined with low muscle tone, and her parents were hesitant. “We really thought she might not ever be able to swim, plus she was petrified of the water,” said her mom, Susan Tarka Sanchez.
But under the enthusiastic direction of life guard manager Kandis Pulliam at the center’s warm water therapy pool, Sofia began, little by little, to enjoy the experience. Soon, Pulliam coaxed her over to the Olympic-sized pool, and as soon as Sofia could swim across, convinced her to join the Rays swim team, a competitive and social team for individuals with special needs and developmental disabilities.
Sofia, now 12, swims more than a mile each team practice. Sometimes she uses one arm, sometimes no arms, but it doesn’t matter, not to her and not to anyone else.

In what has been one of the most challenging years for our country, the teachers, staff and administrators of Pasadena Unified School District demonstrated their unflagging commitment to our students and their families.
As the COVID-19 pandemic diminishes, we are planning and budgeting for the 2021-22 school year with the expectation that PUSD will fully reopen our schools for in-person learning. As we move forward with our budgeting for the future, our goals are twofold: to develop our budget strategically to meet the needs of our students and to make the budget development process transparent and accessible to our constituents.
To make PUSD more competitive with other districts when it comes to salaries and benefits, we are committed to improving employee compensation so that we can retain and recruit the remarkable and innovative educators and employees that make such a difference in our students’ lives. We know that accomplishing this will take some strategic prioritizing – and hard choices in the near future.
Like many districts around us, PUSD cannot increase salaries in the 2020-21 school year. However, with the state proposing to provide the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for schools in 2021-22, PUSD has offered our labor partners a one-time bonus for employees in the current year, which can then be placed on the salary schedule as an ongoing raise once the state COLA is funded in the 2021-22 school year that begins on July 1, 2021.

Brian McDonald
PUSD Superintenden

Every year, PUSD creates a budget based on how much money we expect the district to receive in state and federal funding. We track revenue and expenses to ensure the district maintains a balanced budget. Nearly 85% of PUSD’s budget is invested in teachers, administrators and classified staff who work hard to provide excellent educational opportunities for our students. Our largest cost increases every year come from built-in salary increases (which occur with added years of service and completion of increased education and professional development), mandatory rising district contributions to state pensions, and rising health care costs for employees. PUSD maintains a general fund reserve, much like a savings account, in case we need to dip into it to cover unexpected costs in textbooks, materials and facilities. The state requires school districts to maintain a minimum amount in the reserve fund.
To keep up with inflation and these increasing costs, PUSD needs a revenue increase of at least 5% every year if our enrollment remains stable. In most years, the state of California therefore provides an increase in ongoing revenue called the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). This leads to improved compensation for our hardworking employees (although with enrollment declines we would need additional funds or budget reductions to cover the loss of revenue associated with losing students). However, last June, because of the pandemic’s effect on the economy and tax revenues, the state of California did not provide a COLA to school districts for the 2020-21 school year. The COLA was zeroed out for 2020-21.
PUSD has received state and federal COVID-19 relief funds to help mitigate the substantial costs of transitioning to remote learning and making classrooms safe for students and staff to return to campus. These one-time funds are restricted, which means that they must be spent on extending learning time, mental health services and supports, and facilities upgrades such as hospital-grade air purifiers and air conditioner filter upgrades as well as inspection and repair of all air conditioning units. Funds must be spent by Sept. 30, 2024, at the latest. As one-time funds, these dollars cannot be used for salary increases since salary raises are ongoing and must have an ongoing source of funds.
We are moving forward with a strategic budgeting approach that commits and allocates our resources to meet our district’s goals, examines the results of programs and initiatives we have invested in, and makes adjustments to optimize our students’ educational experiences.
During the pandemic, PUSD teachers, administrators and classified employees never stopped working to make our schools better and safer for our students. They had to master new technologies and adjust to ever-changing conditions. We are profoundly grateful for their hard work for the students and families of our district.

Scott Phelps is the PUSD Board of Education president and Brian McDonald is PUSD superintendent.

The Mayfield Senior varsity girls’ soccer team scored two goals in the second half to defeat host Polytechnic, 2-0, in a Prep League match on Monday.
EllaLena Galo and Kaitlyn Gomez each scored to help the Cubs improve to 6-2 in league play. Jamie Pernecky and Francesca Agliolo each played a half between the posts to preserve the shutout.
Mayfield will close out the regular season at Palos Verdes Chadwick today at 3:30 p.m.
The CIF Southern Section will announce playoff pairings this Saturday, May 8, at 9 a.m.

Flintridge Prep 6
Mayfield Senior 2

The Wolves clinched the Prep League championship outright by defeating Mayfield last Friday.
North Carolina-bound Makenna Dominguez recorded a hat trick with three goals and added an assist. Teammate Kate Fuetterer scored twice, freshman Sage Shurman assisted two scores and Chayse Lim-Ying finished with a goal and an assist.
Kaitlyn Gomez led the Cubs with a goal and an assist, Mia Cunningham also scored and Charlotte Potter contributed an assist.
Flintridge Prep (9-0 overall), ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 3, will conclude the regular season at Burbank Providence today at 3:30 p.m.

La Salle 5
Long Beach St. Anthony 0

The Lancers clinched the Del Rey League championship with a victory at Long Beach St. Anthony last week.
La Salle finished the regular season with an overall record of 8-1-2 and league record of 7-0-2.

Maranatha 8
Northridge Heritage Christian 1

Tvene Derderian scored three goals and recorded two assists to help Maranatha cruise past visiting Heritage Christian in an Olympic League match last week.
Kasey McLoy added two goals, and Emmie Hewlett, Taylor Uene and Ruby Estolas each scored once. Lauren Garcia and Zoe Sabado each contributed an assist.
The Minutemen will host La Habra Whittier Christian in a league match today at 5:30 p.m.

By Austin Green
The Outlook

Less than a week after they finally got approval from Los Angeles County to do so, and following a hectic few days of planning, event organizer C.B. Richards hosted the 75th Pasadena Games on April 24.
Richards, the meet master, presided over a festive, normal-like atmosphere — complete with a socially distanced DJ — that welcomed athletes, coaches and fans from over 20 schools to South Pasadena High School’s campus with safety protocols in place. As the cherry on top of a successful competition, Richards’ Tigers easily topped the boys’ and girls’ team leaderboards at the end of the meet.
“People wanted a chance to get out and see their kids run and do activity again normally,” Richards said of the strong turnout. “For me, it was really cool to offer that after basically almost two years of no invitationals for these kids.”
SPHS won the boys’ side with a score of 117 and the girls’ side with a score of 96.5. Studio City Harvard-Westlake came in second in both areas, with point totals of 65 and 73.5, respectively. La Canada took third on the boys’ side with 51 points and Redondo Union took third on the girls’ side with 57 points.
Several local high schools — including Maranatha, Mayfield, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep — were among the competitors.
None of those teams were at full strength. Flintridge Prep only brought three freshmen boys to compete in the 1600-meter. Mayfield was missing a couple of its best runners while St. Francis could have some multisport athletes skip the track season entirely due to the pandemic-shortened break between the end of the football season and the start of spring workouts. Maranatha, meanwhile, was missing several top runners because they had already bought tickets to the school’s previously scheduled prom night, per Minutemen head coach Lee Noble.
Maranatha came in 16th out of 19 on the boys’ side and 17th out of 23 on the girls’ side. St. Francis came in 13th on the boys’ side while Mayfield came in 7th on the girls’. Flintridge Prep did not qualify for a leaderboard spot.
Still, Maranatha got solid performances out of Janaya Wade, who had top-15 finishes in both the 100-meter and 200-meter (13.59 and 28.37 times, respectively) and Rebecca Demonteverde, who finished 12th just behind Wade in the 200-meter (28.39). Demonteverde also finished 5th in the 400-meter with a 1:02.52 time, and teammate Shani Camaja finished 10th in that race with a personal best 1:08.76 time. Isabella Lieberg finished 4th on the shot put with a distance of 26 feet, 10 inches.
On the boys’ side, Reid Pullens finished 6th in the 200-meter (23.10) while Jonathan Ning finished 5th in the 800-meter with a personal record of 2:08.57. Teammate Caleb Tu finished 24th in the 800 with a 2:33.00 time. Ning also finished the 1600- meter with a 4:56.35 time.

Mayfield only had 12 girls compete, but head coach Marisa Sanchez was proud of they performed. The Cubs got four top-10 finishes in the 800-meter highlighted by Cecilia Kvochak’s win in the event with a personal record 2:32.27 time. She was joined by teammates Jayde Lim (6th, 2:45.17), Natalie Mera (8th, 2:48.84) and younger sister Clare Kvochak (10th, 2:50.12). The Kvochak sisters also had impressive showings in the 1600-meter. Cecilia came in third at 5:35.87 and Clare came in 14th at 6:18.66. The Kvochak sisters, along with Mera and Lim, also combined for a 4:41.38 finish and third place in the 4×400 relay.
“Cecilia and Clare tripled (events) and marked amazing times,” Sanchez said, “So I think that says a lot about our training as well.”
Freshman Erica Ramos also had a big day for Mayfield, leading her team in the 100-meter (34th, 14.98) and setting another personal record in the triple jump (29 feet, one inch).
“Without our top girls, we were still placing seventh,” Sanchez said. “I think that says a lot about, even though we are small in size, we have amazing depth and amazing talent.”
St. Francis got three top 10 finishes from Dario Rock, who took 8th in the 100-meter with a personal-best 11.35 time, second in the 110-meter hurdles (14.94) and third in the long jump (20 feet, 11.5 inches).
“Dario is really a hard worker,” St. Francis head coach Mike Russell said. “I just like his attitude towards what he’s supposed to be doing and what he is doing. I’m very happy with him.”
Andrew Howard finished sixth in the 100-meter with a 11.29 time. Baylor Buchanan and Cole Seley finished 14th and 17th in the 400-meter with 53.87 and 55.93 times, respectively.
Flintridge Prep’s three freshmen boys only competed in the 1600-meter. Evan Guyer finished 41st at 5.35.85, Nicolas Stanton finished 43rd at 5:44.27 and Max Goodman finished 45th at 5:48.96.
Harvard-Westlake junior Adrienne Usher, a Pasadena resident, won medals in each of her four events. She finished first in the high jump, 100 meters and sprint medley, and was third in the long jump.

By Shonna Clark

“It takes a community” to raise a child! This has become all the more apparent over the last year of isolation and separation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents realize how dependent they have been on their family members to help with babysitting and other support. In more normal times, they’ve been able to take for granted that childcare centers and schools provide meaningful education, healthy friendships and nurturing socialization. But for over a year now, they’ve had to try to meet many of their children’s needs on their own.
“It takes a community” is what we’re attempting to demonstrate as we move toward a planned return to normalcy. We’re depending on others around us to receive vaccinations, to wear masks and practice social distancing and to be tested when they have symptoms. We recognize the need for this to be done gradually and carefully, by the entire community working together.
“It takes a community” is what Altadena Children’s Center is all about. This has always been the Center’s mission, but in this critical moment living out that motto in day-to-day, loving, quality childcare is more important than ever. After being shut down for over two months, ACC thoughtfully re-opened on a limited basis last May, following all the cautious guidelines provided by Public Health and our State Childcare Licensing agency. Many families that were involved in the program a year ago are still enrolled, and new families are being added as space becomes available.
“It takes a community” is the name of ACC’s annual fundraising campaign. Although we’re not able to celebrate together in-person, we’re confident that the spirit of support for our program will be just as strong. We need to tell you that we are currently operating under a deficit budget due to enhanced cleaning measures, reduced group sizes, and increased staffing needed to meet safety protocols. We have survived this year thanks in great part to the support of our ACC Community as well as the Federal PPP Loan, which is only a temporary fix, so we’re thinking creatively about how to expand our services as restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, your help continues to be crucial!
If you are able, please invest in our community. Make a donation to Altadena Children’s Center, and help sustain ACC in these difficult times, as it will preserve the future of ACC for generations to come.
You may mail a check to: Altadena Children’s Center, ATTN: ITAC, 791 E. Calaveras St., Altadena, CA 91001.

With gratitude,
Shonna Clark,
Executive Director

Pasadena Village invites local residents to honor their mother, or someone they consider a mother, by sharing a memory and photos of those who have made an impact on lives to be featured online.
View the lovely memories that have already been shared at Pasadena Village’s new “Honoring Mothers” page at pasadenavillage.org and click on “Honoring Mothers.”
Anyone wishing to share your memories may email a short statement and photos to info@pasadenavillage.org with their name and the name of the person being honored.
“We hope by sharing these memories, we can highlight the untold stories of people who have nurtured and inspired our community, one individual at a time,” a Pasadena Village spokeswoman said.
Village member Dick Myers is honoring his late wife Carol. “While raising our two boys, Carol took us around the world,” he said. “Her energy and curiosity took us to places I would never have seen without her. Over the next 30-plus years, we had four recurrences of cancer which finally claimed her. She never gave up on life; she was a vibrant and loving spirit until the very end.”
In addition to sharing a photo and stories of “someone who has made an impact on your life, you can consider adding the name of someone special to the list on the Honoring Mothers page, by making a contribution in their name to Pasadena Village. You choose the amount, and can mark in the comments if you would like their name listed on our Honoring Mothers page,” according to a statement.
All contributions directly support Pasadena Village’s mission to foster vital independent living in a spirit of mutual support, enrichment and inclusiveness. Donations are not required to have your memories and photos included at pasadenavillage.org/honoringmothers.
The Pasadena Village is an intentional community of adults over 55. More than 130 members engage in a robust calendar of discussion groups and educational programming which are currently offered via Zoom. The 501(c)3 nonprofit offers new friendships and meaningful experiences along with ways to support each other and contribute to the wider community. It is one of 300 “villages” across the country that are embarking on a new way to support the population of seniors 55 and over who choose to age in place and remain in their own homes as long as they wish. To learn more, visit pasadenavillage.org, email info@pasadenavillage.org, or call 626-765-6037.

By Sharon McTigue
Special to The Outlook

Throughout a year of social distancing, excessive sanitizing and other prohibitive COVID restrictions, National Charity League of Pasadena managed to find a way to continue to serve one of their most beloved philanthropies — the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House.
With a history dating back two decades, the mother-daughter teams of NCL have managed to navigate the COVID-19 protocols and reinvent their “Meals of Love” program so as to continue to provide weekly hot meals for the families in residence. Without being able to access the on-site kitchens to cook the meals, NCL looked to local restaurants to prepare them and then purchased the meals, which they could then safely deliver to the house. It was truly a community win-win for all involved.
“NCL has really stepped up to provide meals in a way that’s safe for the families,” said Ronald McDonald House Executive Director Mara Leong-Maguinez.
Located on Pasadena Avenue near Huntington and Shriner’s hospitals, the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House is perfectly situated to support the special needs of families with critically ill children. The PRMH officially took up residence in the two historic craftsman homes on Valentine’s Day in 2004. Originally built in 1910 and 1912 for then-California Gov. Henry Markum and his five daughters, the homes boast 17 bedrooms between them and sit on a large campus with plenty of outdoor space to relax and play. The house can serve as many as 17 families at a time and offers comfortable beds, hot meals and a wonderfully caring staff, all at no charge to the families. Funded in small part by the McDonald’s Charities, the house relies on the generosity of individual donors and local community partners to be able to care for the families. Last year, they served over 526 families by providing 5,489 overnight stays.
NCL is so proud of its partnership with PRMH and all the great work they do. We will continue to serve the modified mobile meals and look forward to the day when we can return to the kitchens and prepare them with love.

Pasadena philanthropists Terri and Jerry Kohl have made a $5 million gift and pledged a challenge grant in support of the LA Opera Orchestra and the company’s post-COVID recovery, part of which will be used to fund an upcoming production of “Oedipus Rex” by Igor Stravinsky.
The challenge grant has been designed to raise money for the company’s endowment, ensuring long-term support for the orchestra. This gift, in recognition of the unique hardships that artists are facing as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns, is the largest pandemic-era gift the company has received to date and makes the Kohls among the largest donors in LA Opera history.
“We are extremely touched by — and grateful for — the generous, heartfelt and meaningful support from Terri and Jerry, which comes at a critical moment for the company,” said LA Opera President and CEO Christopher Koelsch. “Our stage has been regretfully dark for a year, and while we have been able to provide our orchestra some level of financial support as well as performance opportunities through our “On Now” digital programming, this gift will help to ensure that we are able to return to pre-COVID levels of employment and artistic strength as soon as it is safe to do so.”
In recognition of the gift, the company has named Terri and Jerry Kohl sole underwriters of the LA Opera Orchestra, officially calling it the “LA Opera Orchestra, generously underwritten by Terri and Jerry Kohl.”
“I cannot think of anyone in our community who has demonstrated such care and support for orchestral musicians,” said LA Opera Board Chair Marc Stern. “Terri and Jerry’s support of LA Opera’s orchestra will not only be transformative for the future of the company, it will also be a powerful affirmation of the excellence, artistry and individual worth of each member of the orchestra, many of whom play for orchestras and ensembles throughout Southern California.”
Made up of 62 core musicians, the LA Opera Orchestra can encompass as many as 100 players, depending on repertory.
“I am deeply grateful to Terri and Jerry Kohl for having demonstrated such generosity in giving the members of our LA Opera Orchestra the support and recognition that their consistently high level of performance has merited,” said James Conlon, LA Opera’s music director. “In the nearly 15 years since I came to Los Angeles, I have come to know our musicians not just as world-class artists but as wonderful colleagues whose dedication to their art and to the company is unswerving. Their artistic contribution is fundamental to LA Opera’s powerful artistic image, and I am gratified to know that my personal appreciation for our orchestra musicians is not only shared, but amplified, by the Kohls’ extraordinary generosity.”
Longtime attendees and generous supporters of LA Opera, the Kohls have been contributors to the company since 2008. The Kohls are recognized as civic and cultural benefactors across Los Angeles and nationwide as a result of their individual and corporate generosity, with leadership support of the region’s most prominent musical organizations, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Colburn School, Pasadena Symphony, Muse/ique, Pasadena Pops and Los Angeles Master Chorale. Terri Kohl currently serves as president of the Blue Ribbon, The Music Center’s premier women’s support organization. They are the founders and owners of Brighton, a producer and retailer of women’s fine accessories products available in Brighton Collectible stores, fine specialty boutiques and online. In addition to their personal giving, their company generously donates to a variety of national and local charities, including the company’s Power of Pink program which raises money to fight breast cancer.
“Terri and I are passionate about live music performances, but we care even more about the individual musicians who make those treasured experiences possible,” said Jerry Kohl. “For more than a year, the lives and careers of classical musicians have been completely upended by the pandemic. We want to do everything in our power to ensure that the organizations that employ them, giving them the opportunities to share their talents with our communities, have the resources they need for returning to live performances as soon as possible. The LA Opera Orchestra is comprised of dozens of the nation’s top players, many of whom have become friends. It is a true honor for Terri and me to be associated with this orchestra, LA Opera and the outstanding service they provide to our community.”
“The last 12 months and the next 12 months have been and will be the most challenging in Los Angeles music history,” he continued. “We’re stepping up because we passionately care. I hope others will step up and show their passion for Los Angeles musicians by giving whatever they can, big or small.”