FASO Gala 2017

As you all may have heard, FASO’s first annual gala is happening on June 17 at the Raquel Residence, aka the former Mary Pickford Estate! We’d like to share the star-studded history of this famous L.A. home here. For more details on our gala, click here!

The Mary Pickford State in "The Artist"
Training Teacher Edith W. Swarts (left) and Helen Matthewson Laughlin in 1924
Training Teacher Edith W. Swarts (left) and Helen Matthewson Laughlin in 1924

The home has been featured in many popular TV shows, including “Scandal,” “NCIS” and “Nip Tuck.” It can also be seen in blockbuster movies such as “Rocky,” “Taken” and “The Artist,” winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2012. The house has a philanthropic history: after it was designated the 2003 Design House (which raised $750,000 for charity), it was the venue for several fundraisers, including “Dining with the Chefs for the Ayala Foundation” and most recently “Hope After Haiyan,” which aided Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.

Architect W.C. Pennell designed the house in 1917 for UCLA Dean of Women Helen Matthewson. The home is a good example of Beaux-Arts residential architecture, which includes a recessed center section flanked by protruding wings. Beaux-Arts, which originated from the neoclassical architectural style taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, profoundly impacted American architecture.

For Beaux-Arts, think The Louvre.
For Beaux-Arts, think The Louvre.

The focal point at the center block is the one-story colonnade at the entrance, which features fluted columns and pilasters with stylized ionic capitals. The over-sized projecting cornice and plain parapet are reminiscent of  Vienna Secession architecture, which appeared in California around the time that the house was built. In 1918, Mary Pickford, “America’s Sweetheart” and the highest paid actor at the time, rented the house. In 1919, Pickford left Fremont Place when she married Douglas Fairbanks and moved to Pickfair in Beverly Hills. The home was thereafter rented to Mary Miles Minter, a top child star who was paid $1.3 million per year.

For an idea of what Vienna Secession architecture looks like, take a look at the Secession Building, which was built as a manifesto for the art movement.
For an idea of what Vienna Secession architecture looks like, take a look at the Secession Building, which was built as a manifesto for the art movement.
Mary Pickford, 1916
Mary Pickford, 1916

Helen Matthewson sold the house in 1920 to Robert and Lula Henderson, wealthy Oklahoma oil operators. The house would change hands many more times. The house underwent upgrades in the 1970’s under the ownership of Ragnar Qvale, architect of the Wilshire Country Club. The current owners completely restored the house in 2000, adding 5,000 square feet to the original 8,240 for their family. The home was presented the Historic Landmark Medallion #11 by the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society, and it’s included in many books on significant architecture in Los Angeles, usually called the Pickford Home.

Artist Spotlight: Deedee Magno Hall

Note: Deedee Magno Hall is swinging with us again at FASO Swing the Night Away 2018 on Sunday, May 20 at the Signature Banquet Hall in Granada Hills, Calif.! Cocktails at 5:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. For ticket info, check out the event page!

“Swing the Night Away” is less than a week away, so we’d like you to get to know our featured artists, vocalist and actor Deedee Magno Hall! Remember to watch her perform this Saturday, March 18 at the Glendale Hilton. Cocktails at 6:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m.! Get your tickets here.

1. Born in Portsmouth, Va. and raised in San Diego, Deedee grew up in a family that loves to sing and dance. Her father, a Chief in the US Navy, taught himself how to play guitar and piano. There was always music playing, on the radio, in the house and in the car! Ironically enough, when she was little, Deedee wanted to become a dentist despite her musical upbringing!

Deedee on The Party’s Debut Album

2. In 1989, Deedee was an original cast member on Disney Channel‘s “All New Mickey Mouse Club” (MMC), which was taped for a live studio audience at MGM Studios (currently Hollywood Studios) in Orlando, Fla. As she reminisces on those days, she thanks her loving and supportive family for moving across country with her. She also recalls that she was grateful to do what she loves—acting, singing and dancing—as a job at the time, but remained oblivious to the lack of Asian representation on TV at the time. Here at FASO, we’re certain that Deedee’s presence on MMC inspired young Asians and Asian-Americans to claim space on TV and beyond.

3. After the MMC, Deedee was one of five Mouseketeers chosen to join a Pop group called The Party, one of the first artists on Disney’s label Hollywood Records. The Party recorded four albums and toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, and opened for Vanilla IceTaylor Dayne and Color Me Badd. When Deedee reached high school, she asked fellow MMC alum and NSYNC member JC Chasez to her senior prom. He said yes!

4. More recently, Deedee has found great success in TV, film and on stage! She’s played Kim in Miss Saigon on Broadway, and on the musical’s Asian Tour and its second U.S. National Tour. Deedee has also appeared in “Wicked” as Nessarose on its first US National Tour and in “If/Then” on Broadway and on its U.S. National Tour. In Los Angeles, Deedee was Mrs. Walker in East West Player’s producton of “The Who’s Tommy” and is co-founder of the mommy singing group, Mama Bares.


5. Deedee voices the perfectionist Gem warrior Pearl on the acclaimed TV show “Steven Universe” on Cartoon Network!! Deedee won “Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series – Comedy/Musical” at the 2014 Behind the Voice Actor Awards for her performance as Pearl. “Steven Universe” has quite a few beautiful musical numbers and Deedee lends her amazing vocals to them. Here’s an example! In this clip, Deedee (as Pearl) trains her young ally in the way of the sword.


FASO Goes Pops!’ on Nov. 14

“FASO Goes Pops!” on November 14 continues the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra’s tradition of presenting quality, entertaining concerts. FASO, returning to the iconic Alex Theatre in Glendale where it earned cheers and praises for its very successful “FASO Goes Broadway” last April, tackles pop music this time.

“If the audience enjoyed ‘FASO Goes Broadway,’ this one will bring them to another level of fun and excitement,” promised Robert “Bob” Shroder, the musical director and conductor of the only Filipino symphony orchestra outside of the Philippines. “We auditioned a set of incredibly talented young singers to join FASO for this concert. You will be amazed to see young Pinoy kids perform covers of Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars and some of our favorite OPM (Original Pilipino Music) numbers.”

“We are very excited about this show because it is the first time that we are featuring pop music – both mainstream and OPM,” added Luis “Louie” Ramos, FASO board vice president and arranger-in-residence. “We will be honoring iconic OPM composers in the show.”

Shroder shared what’s in store for the audience: “We are opening the concert with an old school William Tell overture by Rossini. Then, we’ll kick it right off with mainstream pop music of the 1970s and 1980s. Wear your jersey shirts and blouses, bell bottom pants and platform shoes to dance to 70s tunes like those of the TSOP.”

The acclaimed maestro stressed, “Of course, our sentimental OPM love songs, as performed by our talented featured singers, will also highlight the evening. We will also honor several Filipino composers, most of whom will be present at the concert.”

Ramos said, “We are also featuring songs by these renowned Filipino composers who are based in the U.S. – ‘Lift Up Your Hands’ by Cecile Azarcon; ‘Tayo ay Pilipino’ and ‘Hanggang Huli’y Ikaw,’ SJ Gandia; ‘Let It Go,’ Robert Lopez; ‘Give Me a Chance’ and ‘Till I Met You,’ Odette Quesada; ‘Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin,’ Aaron Paul del Rosario; ‘Tatak ng Pilipino’ and ‘Ikaw Lamang,’ Dodjie Simon.”

The night’s featured performers will be announced soon.

In keeping with its much-admired commitment and tradition to spotlight deserving talents, FASO is excited to present the guest vocalists in the coming show.

Ramos announced, “After holding three rounds of auditions, we selected these performers, some of whom are as young as 8 years old: Bryce Gomez; Ian Chen, who plays Evan Huang in ABC’s ‘Fresh off the Boat’; Jokai Dawson, who will be performing ‘Billie Jean’; Sydney Haik; Gian Paolo Jimenez; Michael Keith Pronda; Mikaela Bautista; Therese Masangcay; Denise Gonzales; Gabrielle Current, 2015 Rose Parade princess; Shelby Miguel; and Daryl Ogalino, ABS-CBN’s ‘TFCkat USA’ Grand Singing Champion 2012 and ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ Grand Singing Champion 2008. These talents will be joining Dennis Jardiel, Erwin Andaya, Mike Zuniga, Nilo Alcala and Sharon Rose Orosco as our guest vocalists.”

“Shelby Miguel is a cancer survivor who battled Burkitt’s Lymphoma at the age of 4,” Ramos added. “According to Shelby, ‘Singing healed me once, and now I sing to help others.”

Around 55 orchestra members will perform under the baton of Shroder. He said, “Our trumpet section will hit the center stage to perform Leroy Anderson’s ‘Bugler’s Holiday.’ ”

Ramos will also arrange pieces for the show along with Saunder Choi, Melvin Corpin, Vince Reyes and Naldy Rodriguez.

“FASO Goes Pops!” is sponsored by Island Pacific Supermarket, SMART World Mobile and ishkaster Media. The show is for the benefit of FASO, a non-profit organization, to sustain the orchestra as it continues to serve the community with performances, like the one they will experience in November, and its youth programs, which include the summer music camp.

Tickets to the show on Nov. 14, 7:00 p.m., are now available online.


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