Disney Concert Hall - October 17th at WVRC

We began with SLOS VIAU leading the Pledge.  LENNY FRIEDMAN and JACK HARRIS took us through It's a Grand Old Flag, and I have to report that LENNY's arms and hands are really expressive - good job, as always.  Since JACK was already up there, he told a joke, thus enabling us to be seated after the song.   BRUCE ROLF followed with the Invocation. It came from Father Flanagan's Boys Home Newsletter, and started, continued, and ended with rhymes - the last one being, Anyone who wishes, can help with the Dishes.  Well done, and timely, BRUCE.

BILL MICHAEL, apparently owner of that mysterious Learjet, was asked to introduce the Visiting Rotarians, but they couldn't be found, alas.  There were some other guests, however.  JIM BECHTEL brought Rich Farra, who is also with Roxbury Capital.   PP MIKE NEWMAN was accompanied by Carol Hodges.  Carol is the daughter of our former member, DICK HERRICK, and she has just relocated in LA after being awhile in SFO.  She is with WorldCom.  Our new member, BRIAN BUMPAS introduced his high school sweetheart - and still his wife - Pat.

Prexy TED spoke about the upcoming joint meeting with LA 5, which will be the day before the Big Game (apologies to those from the Bay Area, who somehow have the effrontery to think two schools up there have undying rights to this phrase).  Anyway, the date is Nov. 22nd, the place is The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels - actually, in their conference center - and we have one or two busses leaving from Westwood Methodist at 11 a.m.  I found that there were quite a few signed up already - and note that we COULD have a separate bus leaving at 10:30 for those who want to see the Cathedral while there.  You can sign up to sponsor a cheerleader or player - same $25 bucks as for any other guest.  This is a Spouses Day - but get it on your calendar, and be sure to let SALLY BRANT know you are coming (bus cost is $6.50).

PDG BILL GOODWYN stepped forward to induct our two newest members, KAREN MASON and BRIAN BUMPAS.  BILL reminded us that there are more than 1.2 million active Rotarians, serving in 30,000 clubs, in 193 countries and territories worldwide.  If you visited one each day, you could get through the present list in just 82 years!  KAREN was sponsored by BILL, and she is with AON in Private Risk Management.  BRIAN BUMPAS was sponsored by PP DOUG DESCH, and his career was in Newspaper Distribution. As noted earlier, his wife Pat was present, and she pointed out to YOE before the meeting that she was indeed a Camp Follower while trying to stay with BRIAN as he pursued his flight training all over the U.S.

Our Rotary Auxiliary will next have a docent tour at LACMA, on Tuesday the 12th of November.  Send your check for 25 clams to Petie Henkes - and don't miss this, it will be another good visit.  The Paul Harris Celebration is almost upon us - November 2nd - and raffle tickets are being hawked by PP STEVE DAY (YOE wonders if STEVE gets a cut, or if RUDY ALVAREZ is on a retainer in pumping for our support for the auction prizes). But seriously, there are some great ones - and note that you can fully participate in the raffle whether you attend the Celebration or not.  While not yet formally announced, the first Yearling Breakfast of this Rotary year will be Tuesday morning, 0730, at the Brentwood Holiday Inn.  All are welcome - and in attending, you will find that even though you may have been around for awhile, you are bound to learn something new about this wonderful organization we all enjoy.  It's a fun event.

PP BOB WESSLING was next up, with another of his many plugs for that educational institution located in beautiful downtown Greencastle, IN.  While it appears to be true that his Tigers (that's their team nickname, in case you missed it, somehow) had a more successful recent outing than one of our local state institutions, it still seems to this unbiased observer that he (BOB, that is) should be severely fined for his constant claims of being responsible for their occasional victories.  Not to put too fine a point on this, there are those who believe that the advice freely offered to Coach Toledo by the writer of this scandal sheet is at least as helpful as what the Tigers supposedly receive.  However, there was one redeeming reason for Mr. WESSLING'S appearance at this stage of the proceedings.  He did have breakfast while visiting Greencastle recently with Ben Scherer, one of their green-as-grass freshmen.  In case you wondered, there was only o! ne member in attendance who tried manfully to stir up appreciative applause for Mr. WESSLING'S remarks - and again, without giving up any secrets, this member is a law partner of PP RON LYSTER.  (If questions, call me and I'll reveal his name).

I could tell that PP BOB was the program chair for today, since he was nervously pacing back and forth at the parking lot - even though he assured me that he had full confidence in the speakers eventual appearance. (I mention this in case you see me doing the same thing next week, when it's MY turn to sweat out the speaker for the 24th -  former member PAUL WINEMAN). Arvind Manocha arrived in plenty of time, and PP BOB provided some background on his career before being named Director of Strategic Operations of the new Disney Concert Hall.  In this position, he has wide-ranging responsibilities for most of the nuts and bolts operation of the Hall, specifically the non-artistic side of operations.  

Mr. Manocha began with some very helpful slides - the projector being operated by PP DAVE WHITEHEAD, who did his usual commendable job.  The current status is that all the structural work is completed, and most of the stainless steel 'skin' has been installed.  The large skylights are in place - these were delivered by helicopter, and it was a sight to see!  The concert hall is the same height as the nearby, and related, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, being the fourth structure of the Music Center - the other two are the Ahmanson and the Mark Taper.

The architect is Frank Gehry, and during it's planning stages, benefited from the advice and counsel of Ernest Fleishman, then the Music Center Director.  The intent was to demystify what the structure housed.  This was accomplished by opening the entire ground floor to view via glass outside walls, thus providing easy access and unrestricted visitor flow.  To further encourage familiarity with this ground floor, all elevators from the garage below end at the lobby level.  Planting has just begun on an extensive public garden, which almost circles the hall - this was the wish of Lillian Disney, wife of Walt - and their family has provided almost 100 million of the total cost of 275 million dollars.  Incidentally, all this is donated money, not costing the taxpayers anything - and that amount is less than the cost of just one new Boeing 747, as a comparison of value.

One of the somewhat hidden features of the Disney Hall is the excellent working space provided for its musicians.  Such space can sometimes be almost an afterthought, and so is a most welcome professional benefit of good planning.  There is a large outdoor Keck Amphitheater, primarily designed for the use of children, plus a smaller facility inside, and the Hall is intentionally welcoming to young people of all ages.  What is different about the main concert hall?  It is designed in what is known as a Vineyard Arrangement, meaning that there is seating all around the performing orchestra. The farthest seat is only 110 feet from the podium, and there are no overhanging balconies.  The walls are sheathed in Douglas Fir.  It will open next October, and the plan is to offer up to 150 concerts annually, making it the most active symphonic program in the U.S.

Q&A - DON NELSON, with the unusual shape and structure of the building, what are its seismic capabilities.  Design began before the 1994 earthquake, has since been updated, and it should be the safest place in the whole city during an earthquake.  YOE, what is the seating capacity.  2265, about l000 seats less than the Dorothy Chandler.  LENNY FRIEDMAN, what reaction is expected from those seated behind the orchestra.  Essentially, the newer (and younger) subscribers will prefer it, with the opportunity to see the conductor as he directs.  CHARLES MAGNUSON, is the library open to the public.  No, it is too specialized and the materials available are too delicate for 'civilians' to handle.  Someone asked, what will the acoustics be.  The entire hall, rather than just the stage, acts as a sound chamber, and it will provide a much fuller sound. In order to fully adjust to this, rehearsals will start three to four months befor! e the opening public performance.  DENNIS CORNWELL, how will security issues be handled.  The Disney Concert Hall is the final piece of the larger Los Angeles Music Center, and will thus be managed by the presently well-experienced security crew.

Arvind Manocha, we thank you for a most informative presentation.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe