First published in the Jan. 22 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank Cultural Arts Commission invites community members to celebrate the musical talent in the area with “Virtually Burbank: Songs in the Key of Burbank,” on Monday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. through the Burbank Arts’ Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
This virtual event is the commission’s first of the year, and the program for the month of January will feature performances and Q&As with local groups like the choir VocArte, the big band Angela O’Neill and the Outrageous8 — a small ensemble of musicians from the Burbank Chamber Music Society — as well as solo musicians like singer-songwriter Sara Dee and vocalist Lauren Patrice.
“Our community will be impressed by the amazing lineup of musicians, who all live, work or grew up in Burbank,” said Raj Mallikarjuna, Cultural Arts Commissioner and host of “Songs in the Key of Burbank.”
“While they are of varying ages and backgrounds, they are all incredibly gifted at playing their chosen genres of music — from soul to classical, musical theatre to jazz and so much more,” she added.
Mallikarjuna is a composer of orchestral and chamber music herself, with degrees from Boston University and Berklee College of Music. She has worked with the Musicians at Play Foundation and was a 2019 Arts For LA Activate Fellow.
“Music has the power to uplift the spirit, and making music also fosters a feeling of being connected,” Mallikarjuna said. ”With all of the challenges and setbacks that we’ve faced during the pandemic, it’s important to provide our city with a source of comfort, as well as give our community of musicians a way to showcase their love for their art form.”
Cultural Arts Commissioner Eric Conner said the virtual format of the event makes discovering new musical talent easier than ever.
“Getting all of these performers on one stage would have been exceedingly difficult during even the most normal of times, which these days are most definitely not,” Conner said. “With just a few clicks, you get to be entertained by a multitude of musical acts, and maybe find a group you’ll want to join!”
Nicolina Logan, co-director of the Burbank Chamber Music Societ, said she appreciates the opportunity that “Songs in the Key of Burbank” is providing her group. “We are so grateful for this opportunity to connect with the members of our community alongside our fantastic colleagues,” Logan said. “To share music is to spread love, and with the great losses of the pandemic still daily upon us, celebrations like these could not be more necessary or abundant.”
Among the featured performers is local composer Yoni Fogelman, a 2020 graduate of John Burroughs High School and current USC student. “I am so honored to be contributing a song in the key of Burbank. Art gives us all a voice and reveals what we love, what we fear, what we hope for and what we miss. I am excited to hear what inspires other writers in our community, and I look forward to attending on the 31st.” A string orchestra piece composed by Fogelman was recently performed by the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
The “Virtually Burbank” series of online events began out of necessity in the summer of 2020.
“We were all in ‘lockdown’ and desperately wanted to still connect with the creative and larger Burbank community,” explains Connor. “After nine monthly virtual events — including hosting the City of Burbank’s Christmas Tree Lighting — we discovered that there were more programs we could still share online.”
This “season” of “Virtually Burbank” has been labelled “Back in the Saddle” as the commission plans to offer a variety of online programming on Facebook Live and Instagram Live while the community moves on to a new normal.
“Our upcoming ‘Songs in the Key of Burbank’ is a terrific fit for this online platform,” Connor said. “Anyone can click on and watch and listen to these talented performers from the comfort of their home. And in case you miss it — and why would you do that? It can be accessed later on social media and on the Burbank Arts website.”
To stay updated on the work of the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission, visit their website and sign up for their bi-weekly newsletter at burbankarts.com/.