As my family, friends, and students know, I have a penchant for all things “Old California”, so I delved into their website to learn about this remarkable property that had been spared from bulldozers and developers over the past 200 years.
I was pleased to learn that in addition to their beautiful public gardens filled with native plants, they host live music concerts and art exhibits on behalf of the California Art Club. I struck gold: Music and Art under one classic California Mission-style roof surrounded by native plant gardens! I was in hog heaven.
Sadly, I was unable to attend their last concert of the season last year. I promised myself that I would try to get out there for a visit at some point. Time passed, I was entrenched with work and it faded from my memory.
Luckily, I subscribe to Jim Eninger’s Clickable Chamber Music newsletter.
In his June 27, 2019 issue under Highlights and Hidden Gems, I spied a “Magical Music at the Mill” announcement featuring the Mann-Wen Lo and Friends String Quartet, Saturday, June 29, 2019 – 8:00 PM at the Pomegranate Patio, The Old Mill – San Marino CA.
With no schedule conflicts this time, I was excited to be able to attend. I arranged to meet Jim and his lovely wife Mary at the concert and promised to research and report back about parking. Here’s where the story takes a little sentimental twist.
During my lunch break, I called The Old Mill for parking advice. A nice young man answered my call and provided excellent intel. He assured me I wasn’t too late to book a seat for the concert and offered to take my credit card info over the phone.
When I gave him my name, there was a pause. He asked in a soft, polite voice, “Linda Wehrli?” I confirmed. He replied, “This is Evan Vidar!” I just about plotzed. Evan happens to be my longtime former piano student (age 7 – 14 years old) who I had the honor of coaching to win the LACHSA (Los Angeles County High School for the Arts) piano audition back in 2005! Busy with life, we both fell out of touch. Fourteen years later, Evan is 28 years old and happily married. Mazel Tov!
I was over-the-moon to learn that Evan and his wife are the El Molino Viejo caretakers and coordinators for concerts, art exhibits and other social activities on the property. We made plans to meet up at the concert and also introduce him to Jim and Mary Eninger. It was this piano teacher’s dream (and relief) to learn Evan not only continues to play piano, he also composes and is part of an ensemble. You can hear his compos on his website, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram pages. Kvelling!!!
But, back to the main story about the amazing concert and art exhibit I witnessed that night.
After strolling the gardens, I had just enough time to peruse the fabulous gallery featuring California Impressionist works by select members of the CAC. I’m pleased to share with you closeups of some of my favorite works that were on display that night. To quote Jim Eninger, “This work just speaks to me so much!” Agreed.
A few minutes before 8 PM, we found our seats on the Pomegranate Patio. Old Mill Foundation board member Blythe Maling warmly welcomed us and spoke about the programs at The Old Mill.
Without further ado, the Mann-Wen Lo String Quartet walked onto the outdoor stage. Violinists Mann-Wenn Lo and Hwi-Eun Kim, Violist Josh Newburger and cellist Stella Cho treated us to a stellar program of Webern, Mozart, Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov and an encore of wild gypsy music. Jim and I remarked to Evan how perfect the acoustics were, especially for an outdoor concert. Here is the Instagram link to a clip I took of the encore. Enjoy!
Needless to say, the evening was memorable (and affordable). I had my fix of beautiful art, music and garden. My spirits are refreshed. I will be back for more. Stay tuned!
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Music Scene covers eclectic music events and locales.
Art Scene covers eclectic art events and locales.
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Pastimes For a Lifetime Art and Piano School is located in Valley Glen, California. 818-766-0614. School is open Tuesday – Saturday year round, except for major holidays.
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