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Our Laguna: Laguna Beach Live! livens up the city with music

MusicConcertsMusic IndustryArtHotel and Accommodation Industry

Bossa Zuzu's Brazilian beat closed Laguna Beach Live!'s 2012 Jazz Wednesdays series of musical performances at Hotel Laguna.

The Live! at the Museum chamber music concert series winds up on Thursday.

Next up: The annual Bluegrass and Barbecue from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 16 on the Magnolia Patio at Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course, 31106 S. Coast Hwy. The Los Angeles-based Brombies will perform from 5 to 7 p.m.; the barbecue starts at 4 p.m. There is always something to look forward to on the Laguna Beach Live! calendar.

"We are up to 34 concerts a year," said Lucinda "Cindy" Prewitt, co-founder with Sam Goldstein and Joe Bryne of Laguna Beach Live!

Prewitt had worked with Goldstein on the formation of the Business Improvement District by the lodging establishments in town. The district funds cultural activities to entice tourists to Laguna.

"I knew there was the possibility of funding," Prewitt said. "So I began to think about what I would like to do with it. Music!"

Laguna Beach Live! was founded in 2001. Prewitt chairs the board, which includes Goldstein, Joe Becker, Tom Ellebie, Cody Engle, former Mayor Paul Freeman, Old Potter Place developer Joe Hanauer, Judith Jelinek, school board member Betsy Jenkins, Glenn Gray, Madeleine Peterson and Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, an ex-officio member,

"We said, 'Do we have any jazz in town?'" Prewitt said. "No? Let's do it."

Seven Jazz Wednesday concerts are held every other week starting in June in the Hotel Laguna's Rose Garden.

But Live! doesn't limit itself to jazz.

The group joined forces with the Laguna Art Museum to present four chamber music concerts in the galleries every second Thursday of June through September.

Performers this summer included Hutchins Consort Quartet playing acoustically matched string instruments, Jenni Olson on flute and Marcia Dickstein on harp, the Triada Guitar Trio and Ceora Winds playing the final concert.

The 2013 schedule will begin in January with the Winter Jazz Concert Series at Aliso Creek, concluding in April.

The Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society will present the annual Music Festival Feb. 4 to Feb. 10 , with performances at the Laguna Playhouse and other local venues.

The festival features well-known and up-and-coming musicians in a variety of activities, including master classes.

Double bassist Edgar Meyer, the Calder and Calidore quartets, and Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell were featured in the 2012 festival.

The 2013 festival will headline pianist-composer Pablo Ziegler, Hector Del Curto and the Calidore Quartet.

Besides three concerts at the Playhouse, the festival will include a champagne reception, gourmet dinner and a post-concert reception with the musicians on Feb. 8 at the Hotel Laguna. Tickets are $200.

The Gospel Breakfast is scheduled for March at Tivoli Too and a big band will perform in April at the Laguna Playhouse.

Which brings us right back to Jazz Wednesdays in June, concerts that spanned the broad genre of jazz in 2012.

This year's series began with the Latin Jazz Quintet, followed by the blues sound of the Rickey Woodard Quartet, jazz and pop played by Tom Luer's Popular Project, classical jazz and gospel singer-pianist Yve Evans and Company, pianist-composer Josh Nelson's Trio, the "retro-futuristic" Jet Set Quintet, featuring Tony Guerro, and Bossa Zuzu's Brazilian beat, featuring local Dan Reckard on saxophone.

"Yve Evans and Company was my favorite concert, " said Sue Kempf on Wednesday.

"Mine too," said Cheryl Sykes and Pearson.

Other folks who wined and dined as the evening waned and the saxophone wailed included Bluebird Canyon residents Jim Moore and John Gustafson, Patricia Twitty, Laguna Beach Taxpayers board member Ann McDonald, Exchange Club member Dwayne Bickel, Roger Von Butow, the Visitors Bureau's Judy Bijlani and Ashley Johnson, Kathryn Gray and her husband, Glenn, a Laguna Beach Live! board member along with Peterson.

Concertgoers were greeted by volunteers Jocelyn Aitkin, Vicki Pedrini and Carol Romen, and Ava Burton, assistant to Prewitt and wife of musician Jason Feddy, who books the groups for the city's Sunset Concert in Heisler Park.

"We present the best music in town at the best prices," Burton said.

Tickets for Jazz Wednesday were $12 online and $15 at the door, beverages and food not included.

Prewitt was missing Wednesday. She was in Denver attending the Western Arts Administrators Music Conference, which showcases performers and bookings are made.

"I would love to book some of this great music I am hearing, if we had the venues," she said.

Music has always been a part of Prewitt's life. She played violin in school and took piano lessons with her children, Jenn and Sean, here in Laguna.

Prewitt and her husband, retired physician Paul Prewitt, have lived in Laguna since 1976. They met on a blind date as graduates of Smith and Yale, respectively. The young couple stayed on the East Coast until 1971, when they moved to California.

Her activities in Laguna have included founding the Women's Auxiliary at South Coast Medical Center, where her husband practiced medicine.

Prewitt was also active in the PTA when her children were in school and joined SchoolPower "as soon as women were admitted."

She coordinated the Laguna Beach Unified School District capital campaign in the early 1990s to fund the first remodeling of the Artists Theatre on the Laguna Beach High School campus.

Prewitt volunteered to stick around to coordinate theater rentals and eventually was paid to find new performing groups and schedule performances.

She also was appointed to the Arts Commission and was beguiled by the late Doris Shields to become involved with the Bluebird Park Concerts.

Prewitt has been honored by the Laguna Beach Woman's Club and the American Assn. of University Women for her contributions to Laguna.

For more information about Bluegrass & Barbeque, call (949) 4715-9713. For tickets, visit http://www.LagunaBeachLive.org or call (800) 595-4849. Prices range from $10 for kids to $240 for a table of eight.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (949) 302-1469 or email coastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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