Soprano Jennifer Ashworth performed, on Sunday afternoon, in her home town for the first time since 1997. Jennifer grew up in Wrightwood. She graduated from Serrano High School in 1992, where she performed in the Mellotones show choir, was Drum Major for the Marching Diamondbacks, and was the Student Director for Concert Band. After earning her BA in music from UC Berkeley, and Masters in Vocal Performance from Holy Names University, Jennifer moved to San Francisco where she has performed with the Lamplighters Music Theatre since 2001. Introducing herself and her music to a full house at the Wrightwood Community United Methodist Church, Jennifer quipped that she is, “A nerd.” She enjoys teaching her audience, be it children or adults, about the music and composers, and eras in which they achieved notoriety. Although no costumes were provided, as with her “Sing a Story” for children, Jennifer’s show came replete with interesting facts, as well as commentary about her choice of program. “Like a wine tasting,” she mused, “we’ll go from the lighter whites through the fuller-bodied reds.” Indeed, Jennifer started with a, “Light champagne,” If Music Be the Food of Love, by Henry Purcell. She performed works by Fauré and Brahms before moving into the musical theatre genre with Stephen Sondheim’s One More Kiss, “A rosé, heavier but still transparent!” Jennifer’s playful, animated qualities emerged for songs by Masteroff & Harnick, and by Gilbert & Sullivan, the latter of which she has performed nearly every soprano lead, 12 roles, in Lamplighters productions. Her favorite song in the afternoon’s program was, “The Hours Creep on Apace,” from Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. She referred to it as, “the tasting’s spicy pinot noir.” “Chacun le Sait” is from Le Fille du Regiment, by Gaetano Donizetti. Jennifer explained the song’s particular distinction of having nine high Cs within the piece. After challenging the audience to try and count them all, the performer burst into the first few bars, counting the first six high Cs on her fingers as sang them with apparent ease. George and Margaret Ashworth’s daughter Jennifer made a lasting impression on her audience, with her powerful, pitch-perfect voice, and her delightful personality. She is gracious and approachable, and an extraordinary talent. Jennifer’s accompanist was Ruth Hendrix, who plays the organ and piano for the Methodist Church. At Cal State Los Angeles, Ruth got her start in music, playing for and participating in master classes, including one by Numi Fisher. Ruth took voice lessons and found that it made her a better accompanist. She paid her way through school working as a studio pianist for the Carol Raine School of Ballet. Ruth’s occupation is cyber security. Ruth’s accompaniment to Jennifer’s vocals was like a nice wine and cheese pairing. Having heard the concert, one would have never known the two had met just two days before, and run through program together.
Serrano’s FFA Students Bring Livestock Projects to the School Board Meeting
By Donna Alvarez
Tuesday, May 9th 2017, students from Serrano High School not only explained the purpose of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program, but also presented their livestock projects to the school board meeting. The FFA program at Serrano is co-sponsored by Sarah Huss and Kaylene Maize. According to the National FFA Organization, the “FFA is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership.” New to the 2016-17 school year was the “Introduction to Agricultural Mechanics.” This will be included in the current Ag Mechanics, 1 and 2, Veterinary Science, Agriculture Economics, and Agriculture Government. Equipment added to the program are the torchmate cutting table, new lockers, along with projects for the San Bernardino County Fair, and the Working in a Safe Environment componentwhich is included in all classes. Nineteen students attended the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) State Conference. “Student design programs to gain hands-on experience and develop skills in agricultural career programs. An SAE program is the hands-on application of concepts and principles learned in the classroom” (aged.illinois.edu). Livestock and student projects are often shown in the county and state fairs. Nineteen Serrano High School students attended the State Conference along with 7300 other students. At this conference, students participated in public speaking, Career Fair, FFA Opportunities, Industrial Tours, and the Sequoia National Trails Tour. Serrano students will show five of their animals at the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville, May 20th through May 29th. At the end of their presentation, the students demonstrated how to handle and ‘show’ the turkeys and lambs they had brought to the meeting.
Wrightwood Elementary Living Wax Museum
By Terri Hill
Historic figures from American history came to life at Wrightwood Elementary School on April 13. Presented by the fourth grade classes of Mrs. Coberly and Mr. Zaeske, the Living Wax Museum featured such notables as Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Sally Ride. Fourth grade students choose from a list of American politicians, scientists, astronauts, philanthropists, writers, and more, and spend several weeks researching their lives and accomplishments. The students’ parents are asked to put together appropriate costumes for the presentation given to the class, and then the public. Positioned in rows across the multipurpose room, each student stands still, as if a wax figure in a museum. Parents and other observers are instructed to “Push the Button” on the floor in front of a wax figure. When the button is pushed, the figure comes to life and, in character, gives a brief biography of his or her alter ego. In some cases, the students used quotes in their portrayals. Camryn Plein commented, “My first few choices were taken, so Mrs. Coberly chose Nellie Bly for me.” Camryn went on to describe the journalist who, in 1889, completed a trip around the world in just 72 days. Camryn was quite happy with the choice of famous Americans that her teacher had recommended.
California’s San Simeon treasure
By Terri Hill
While on a trip to San Luis Obispo, I decided it was time to finally see Hearst Castle in San Simeon. A native of California, I have been in the general vicinity many times, but never took the time to visit. On a cool, clear day in mid-March, I took the 15-minute bus ride up the rolling green hillside to the storied La Cuesta Encantada, Spanish for, The Enchanted Hill. William Randolph Hearst was born in 1863. When he was two years old, his father George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranchland in San Simeon. George had made millions from his mining career. At that time, the property served as a camping retreat for the family. Phoebe Apperson Hearst, William’s mother, took him on a 1½-year tour of Europe when he was 10 years old. It was impressions from that trip that would inspire his ideas for the castle, its art, gardens, and pools decades later. George Hearst had died in 1891, and William inherited the ranch land in 1919 from his mother. At the time, the property had grown to 250,000 acres and, being tired of camping out, Hearst planned a small bungalow on "Camp Hill." Hearst hired 47-year-old Julia Morgan, the architect who had renovated his mother’s home. Morgan held the distinction of being the first woman to receive a certification in architecture from L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and was California's first licensed female architect. Originally planned as a little place for the family, the estate grew larger and larger as the two worked together for nearly three decades. Working with Morgan, Hearst spent $6.5 million on the building, and $3.5 million on art from all over the world that would fill the living areas and bedrooms. In addition to Casa Grande - the Castle, which has 38 bedrooms and 42 bathrooms, a theater, library and more, three guest houses grace the property, each named for the view from the front room: Casa Del Monte - House of the Mountain, Casa Del Sol - House of the Sun, and Casa Del Mar House of the Sea. The family resided in the latter for a year. Tours of the estate range from upstairs or downstairs in the main house, to kitchen and cottages. As I have a keen interest cooking and entertaining, I chose the Kitchen and Cottages Tour, which includes the wine cellar. Food consumed at the Castle was almost exclusively produced on the ranch. Cattle, chickens and other fowl, and fish were raised, and vegetables and fruit grown on the sprawling ranch, and dairy products came from animals on the property as well. The kitchen was designed with family meals, as well as entertaining in mind. In the center of the pantry, outside the actual kitchen, are two long prep tables, nickel-plated countertops on cabinetry. Hot water runs through pipes within the cabinets, allowing for a hot surface on which to stage prepared dishes for serving. This area also housed a Frigidaire refrigerator, at a time when most kitchens were still considered well-equipped if they had an icebox. A restaurant style griddle, rotisseries, and oil-fired burners and ovens, provide ample cooking space for meals served to large gatherings in the Hearst family’s heyday. Oil fuel was used as opposed to natural gas, as Mrs. Hearst was wary of the dangers of gas after leaks caused by the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco ignited infernos across the city.
Classical Music In March
By Michael Palecki
The Wrightwood Classical Concert Series (WCCS) continued on March 19 at the United Methodist Church for its first performance of the 2017 season. With Music in March leading off, Jazz in July, A Night at the Theater in September and a Christmas Concert in December will follow, produced by Joyce Wonderly and featuring faculty members of the Keyboard Art School of Music with guest artists. While Program Director Rodger Whitten played grand piano, he also accompanied guest artist lyric soprano Christa Stevens, guest artist tenor Marco Antonio Lozano, cellist Chet Noll, trumpeter Tim Benge, and soprano Stephanie Santos-Owens. Also performing last Sunday were guest pianist Jeremiah Gonzales and guest poet Wendy Jo Arnott. After Joyce Wonderly welcomed audience members to the performance, Whitten set the pace for what would follow with Frederic Chopin’s “Military Polonaise.” The mood was boisterous with keyboard energy and the audience was fully engaged. After that, Whitten accompanied Stevens and Lozano on Mozart’s “Fra gli amplessi”, which was resplendent with bantering vocals and impassioned gestures proceeding to a rapturous finale. That would be the first occasion, and later with Charles Gounod’s “Ange, adorable” from Roméo et Juliette, in which the duo electrified the audience. Whitten on piano, Tim Benge on trumpet and Chet Noll on cello, melded J.S. Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire” into a melodic triumph. Following that, Santos-Owens sang Franz Lehar’s “Vilja-Lied” from The Merry Widow with crisp and succinct vocals and her signature burst of loud projection with perfect clarity. And then Chet Noll commented, “This is going to be something entirely different,” and played wild piano improvisations ala John Cage, sometimes leaning into the piano body to pluck the strings with one hand while the other played the ivories, as Wendy Jo Arnott recited three poems. It was a kinetic tour de force and the audience responded with thunderous applause. The first half of the concert concluded with Stevens’ voice traveling from moody to the sublime on “I Have Dreamt” from Wuthering Heights, by Bernard Herrmann, which was followed by Lozano singing “La Danza” by Rossini. On that selection Whitten remarked, “It’s frightening how fast he wants this to be.” And it truly was energetic. Following intermission, highlights from the second half included a dynamic performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 21 from guest pianist Jeremiah Gonzales, Benge and Whitten performing Purcell’s Sonata for Trumpet and Organ, Santos-Owens doing Puccini from Tosca, and Stevens & Lozano teaming up once again for more Puccini from La Bohéme. By far the most inspirational performance of the evening was, in the opinion of this journalist, the performance of Rodger Whitten on piano and Chet Noll on cello for Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” arraigned by Whitten. After so much energy throughout the entire concert, it was moody and serenading, just like floating on soft wispy clouds. The Wrightwood Classical Concert Series continues on July 15, September 23 and December 3. For ticket information go to www.KeyboardArt.com, or call Joyce Wonderly at (760) 249-3487.
Phelan’s Mounted Posse is able and ready
Dan MacDonald in his bright orange shirt.
The Mounted Posse patch designed by Dan. Photos by Vicky Rinek
By Vicky Rinek
Dan MacDonald, the Principal at Baldy Mesa Elementary School and a member of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Mounted Posse was the guest speaker at the Phelan Chamber of Commerce meeting on March 7, 2017. The informative meeting covered MacDonald’s involvement with the Phelan Volunteer Posse. MacDonald reported that in San Bernardino County there are 15 units with 400 volunteers that are trained and on call 24/7/365. MacDonald said, “We were the first unit in the county to become a mounted posse unit. It took two years to make the transition to a mounted posse.” MacDonald continued, “I’m really proud that our unit serves Phelan, Pinon Hills, Baldy Mesa, and Wrightwood, but we are also on call throughout the State as mutual aid.” MacDonald has been riding horses for 27 years and has lived in Phelan for 22 years. He volunteered with the Sheriff Department several years ago as a volunteer equestrian patrol representative to be proactive and prevent problems. “I want to give back to the community,” said MacDonald. The mounted posse idea started a few years later. “We have eight members that are search and rescue certified,” said MacDonald. Their shirts are a bright orange color for a special purpose. “When out on a search, if the subject we’re looking for is afraid we can be identified as rescuers by that lost person.” MacDonald continued, “As a mounted posse searching for someone or something while riding a horse gives our team views from a different perspective. We also look for evidence from crimes. We spent 12 hours looking for a handgun used in a shooting. Some people had metal detectors; others had shovels, as we looked for the handgun.” Unfortunately, the gun was never recovered. To be certified in search and rescue you have to be trained. The course is a 3-weekend, full day, Saturday and Sunday, 10 – 12 hours per day, training indoors and training outdoors. The training facility in Big Bear is where volunteers receive basic search and rescue certification. “We are known as ‘ground founders,’ first on foot. I am always prepared with my equipment, we are required to have fully packed and ready to go backpacks, ready at a moments notice.” MacDonald continued, “My pack has everything I need, with water, food, change of cloths, and first aid, and it weights 50 pounds. “We have a compass and a GPS used to go out in search. First thing we learn is to take care of ourselves. If I’m not prepared I would not be to be good to anybody.” They’re never alone they are always in a team. MacDonald said, “If and when we find the lost individual we first see what supplies they might have. If they don’t have what is needed we share our supplies with them.” MacDonald shared interesting facts from the SBCo. Sheriff department; there are 8,133 volunteers. There are 101 active units in SBCo, 400 people who are trained, certified, and on call 24/7. Last year they had 135 missions, and searched for 266 subjects in SBCo culminating in 26,000 hours posse work. Sheriff volunteer hours totaled to 400,000, all of which saved $10,265,000 for the County. The volunteers pay for everything they wear and use: special clothing, first aid, water, food, and the patches. “This is cool – we designed our own “Phelan Posse” patch. We had to have a Joshua tree, a horse, and mountains in the background along with the Sheriff star.” Said MacDonald. “Work is fulfilling when we find the missing person, however sometimes we don’t find the subject alive. But, at the same point, it gives closure to the family when we return the person to them.” MacDonald continued, “Please don’t get lost, share with friend when you go on a hike or on a ATV, tell them when you expect to return, and stay in the same place.” It’s a whole lot easer to find you when they have that information. “I can be called out anytime. I sleep by my cell phone.” Said MacDonald, “When I get a call I get my horse, my trailer and my gear and arrive at the command center and wait at the command center for direction.” MacDonald continued, “They know what your certification is before you are assign to an area. It’s amazing how organized the search and rescue is.” A big part of a search and rescue is the planning. The command center grids out an area and the search team uses their GPS and compass to go to that area and start walking until they cover their assigned spot. “At the end of my search I turn in my GPS. The command center takes the GPS readings and now their computer knows exactly where everyone went.” Said MacDonald. “If they need to backtrack or send out another team to search an area that had not be searched before they know exactly where to look. We all have to be recertified to make sure we still have the skills needed to rescue someone. “If you don’t use the skill you can forget the skills needed.” MacDonald concluded, “I’m proud to be a member, and proud to be a commander of my unit. And please don’t get lost. We’re out there to help if needed but hope we don’t have to look for you.”
Wyatt Earp with his wife Josephine Sarah Marcus at their winter camp near Vidal, California. – Courtesy Jeff Morey – True West Magazine.com
Wyatt Earp’s journey to the Mojave By Terri Hill Walter Feller presented a brief history of Wyatt Earp in the Mojave Desert at the March 3 meeting of the Wrightwood Historical Society. Feller is the president of the Mojave Historical Society and he gave a fun, light-hearted presentation. Wyatt Earp’s history in Southern California began, as many did, with a wagon train trip west. His father Nicholas, who worked a small farm, kept a saloon, and also served as justice of the peace in Monmouth, Illinois, led a wagon train to California in 1864. Wyatt worked his father’s ranch in Colton, near San Bernardino. A boomtown after the Civil War, San Bernardino boasted 2,000 residents, dwarfing that of Los Angeles at the time. Wyatt would make the trip east again, as a young adult, before returning to the west. Wyatt married in 1870, but when his wife died suddenly, he wandered Indian Territory and took work as a buffalo hunter and stagecoach driver where he could. Wyatt arrived in Kansas in 1875 and one year later, in Dodge City, Kansas he met and became lifelong friends with Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday. It was then that he established his reputation as a notable lawman and gambler. He and his second wife, Mattie, joined his brothers and their wives in the mining town of Tombstone, Arizona in1879. On October 26, 1881, the Gunfight at the OK Corral was the culmination of a feud between the Earp brothers and a gang led by Ike Clanton. Three of the Clanton gang were killed; Earp brothers Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan, along with Doc Holliday survived. It was in Tombstone that Wyatt met his third wife Josie (Josephine Marcus Earp), who remained with him until his death. After the OK Corral incident, Mattie waited for Wyatt in Colton, but he had taken Josie to San Francisco, and Mattie returned to Arizona alone. Wyatt and Josie ended up in Colorado and over the next few years, traveled and spent time in western mining towns. They lived in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho and in 1886 settled for a brief time in the boomtown of San Diego. There, Wyatt gambled and invested in real estate and saloons. In 1897, during the height of the Alaska Gold Rush, Wyatt and Josie traveled to Nome, Alaska and operated a saloon in town. In 1901, with an estimated 80,000 dollars, the couple returned to the states and headed for the gold strike in Tonopah, Nevada. Wyatt found interests in saloons, gambling and mining to be quite profitable. Wyatt later took up prospecting. He staked claims in the Mojave Desert, including just outside Death Valley. He discovered a few gold and copper veins near Vidal, California on the Colorado River in 1906, and filed numerous claims at the base of the Whipple Mountains. Wyatt Earp lived out his years mining in Mojave, and living in his Vidal home with Josie. They spent summers in Los Angeles, where they mingled with the affluent. Wyatt Earp died in 1929 at the age of 80. He and Josie are buried in her family’s plot in Colma, south of San Francisco. Virgil Earp had a cabin at Clyde Ranch in Lone Pine Canyon; Wyatt was said to have visited his brother there. Drennan, a small town in California, near the border of Arizona was renamed Earp, the year that Wyatt died.
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