Our Laguna: Music scoring big with Laguna Beach Live!

January 17, 2013|By Barbara Diamond
  • Carla Arzente, Ron Harris and Diane Arnold at the Salt Fine Art Gallery for a kick-off party for the Laguna Beach Music Festival.
Carla Arzente, Ron Harris and Diane Arnold at the Salt… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

Music has always been a part of Laguna's art culture, but it has a hit-or-miss history. Lyric Opera Co. was founded here, leading to the formation of Opera Pacific, which moved out of town. The Laguna Chamber Music Society presented concerts at the Artists Theatre until it moved to the Barkley while the high school was being renovated and never came back. The Pacific Symphony played chamber music concerts in the theater until school officials no longer would clear the calendar for them.

But Laguna also has some keepers. Among the hits: Original scores add luster to the Pageant of the Masters. Concerts in Bluebird Park always draw a crowd of local music lovers. No Square Theatre musicals, including "Lagunatics," are special treats. The Laguna Concert Band, which began with six members, now has 60 musicians and performs more than 20 concerts a year, and Laguna Tunes has begun making a splash. Fete de la Musique, organized by the Sister Cities Assn. of Laguna Beach, gets bigger and better every year.


But no organization scores more highly on the scale for local musical events than Laguna Beach Live!, founded in August 2001 by Cindy Prewitt, Joe Byrne and Sam Goldstein.

The piece de resistance is the Laguna Beach Music Festival, presented jointly with the Orange County Philharmonic Society, set this year for Feb. 4 to 10 to showcase the sounds of South America. Performers include the Pablo Ziegler Classical Tango Quartet, Todo Mundo, the Calidore Quartet, Huayucaltia and Regina Carter, winner of the MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

Some events are free and those tickets are going fast, if not already gone, Prewitt said.

Tickets, which can be ordered at or by phone, are $40. A $100 package includes prime seating, reserved parking and champagne at intermission.

An opening night party at the Laguna Beach Woman's Club is $45. Seating is limited. A champagne reception and dinner at Claes Restaurant, concert tickets, a post-performance dessert party on stage with the musicians, and shuttle transportation to and from the Hotel Laguna is priced at $200.

For more information, visit the festival website or call (949) 715-9713.

The kickoff for the 11th annual festival was hosted by Saltfineart at 1492 S. Coast Hwy., which specializes in Latin contemporary art, a perfect tie-in to the "Sounds of Latin America." The gallery has coordinated exhibitions in city galleries to compliment the festival's musical theme.

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