News and notes from our community
The power of words
Thelma Reyna named Altadena’s Poet Laureate
Altadena celebrated the works of its recently selected poet laureate, Thelma Reyna, at a special ceremony Sunday at the Altadena Library.
Reyna, a longtime educator in Pasadena and South Pasadena, has won national honors for three of her works: “The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories” (2009); “Breath & Bone,” a book of poetry (2011); and her latest work “Hearts in Common” (2013).
Reyna will serve as community poet laureate from May through April 2016. She was formally inaugurated Sunday at the Friends of the Altadena Library’s annual “Poetry and Cookies” event.
Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast honors homeless service providers Friends in Deed
Early risers gathered Wednesday morning in the ballroom of the Pasadena Convention Center for the 41st annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
Presented by Pasadena Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Committee and the nonprofit group Friends in Deed, an organization formed by the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Congregations, this year’s event, “A Place to Call Home,” was emceed by FOX News anchor Jeff Michael. The keynote speech was provided by Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.
The event featured musical performances by soprano Alisonne Crawford, Willard Elementary Rising Stars Choir and The Oliver Street Jazz Combo. Readings, prayers and blessings were offered by Rabbi Joshua Grater, Edina Lekovic, Dr. Mark Labberton, Bill Files and the Rev. Bishop Beverly Shamana.
Rebecca Huang, daughter of Pasadena Director of Housing Bill Huang, was honored for her work at raising funds for Friends in Deed’s bad weather homeless shelter program. In November 2012, Rebecca Huang, was honored by Friends in Deed for organizing students to raise $27,000 in donations from individuals and businesses.
“In this, our 120th anniversary of Friends In Deed, the Pasadena Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast holds special significance for Friends in Deed as well as the people we serve. ‘A Place to Call Home’ is exactly what Friends and our remarkable community of congregations and volunteers strive to provide, by working together against poverty, to improve lives of low income and homeless individuals and families,” Friends in Deed Board President Dr. Richard Cheung said in a statement.
Said Friends in Deed Director Donna Byrns, “Our motto, ‘Doing together what we cannot do alone,’ well says it.”
South Pas teen’s photo takes prize at Music Center Spotlight Awards
Sophia Arriola-Gibson, a 17-year-old senior at South Pasadena High School, was chosen as three of Southern California’s most talented teens during the finale performance at The Music Center of Los Angeles’ 26th Annual Spotlight Awards.
Competing against more than 2,300 participants in the arts education program, the teenager came in second in the photography category. Her photo, “Hanne’s Wall,” earned Arriola-Gibson a $4,000 cash scholarship provided by The Music Center.
Arriola-Gibson was one of 16 students who took home first-place or runner-up awards and scholarship money.
An awards show at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion hosted by Oscar-nominated actor, musician and author John Lithgow on April 26 culminated The Music Center’s year-long free recognition and scholarship program for Southern California high school performing and visual artists.
A first place and runner-up were named in each of eight categories, including ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental, jazz instrumental, two-dimensional art (works of art with height and weight, but no depth, using drawings, paintings, computer generated or mixed media) and photography (black/white, color and digital).
More than 2,300 students auditioned for the program this year, with more than 40,000 students participating since Spotlight’s original inception in 1988.
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