On a beautiful Saturday evening, I attended a California Philharmonic concert at Santa Anita Park. This is an awesome venue that is located in Arcadia. Picture the beautiful San Gabriel mountains on one side, the Santa Anita Race Track on the other & tables filled with happy families with picnic baskets. This area is surrounded by a green lawn & the musicians from California Philharmonic are on the stage in front of you. Doesn’t that sound magical?
Arcadia is about a 30 minute drive from LA & the Valley. It’s just a little bit past Pasadena on the 210 Freeway. When we arrived at Santa Anita Park, we were directed to drive over to Gate 6 Parking Lot. From there we got our tickets, walked through the tunnel & arrived at the concert area.
For families that get there early, the venue offers face painting & other kid-friendly activities to try out while you wait for the concert to start. They even have a cute playground area that is just perfect for little ones to run around.
We opted not to pack a picnic dinner, although many families did bring their own food & drinks. Instead we checked out the dining options at the concession area. There was a good amount to choose from & I noticed that they had healthy food, as well as burgers & hot dogs.
Once we got our food, we headed over to our assigned section. Being a longtime Hollywood Bowl summer concertgoer, I can really appreciate being on the lawn area of Santa Anita Park. There is something to be said for families spreading out their blankets & food on the green grass in the lawn or mezzanine section. We were fortunate to be able to sit in an area that was close to the stage. During our dinner time, we had a nice round table to ourselves since our “seatmates” didn’t arrive until just before the music started. I loved being able to spread our food & drinks on the table. In other venues, I’ve had to balance our food & drink on our knees (if seated in a bench section) or place it on a table that was basically the size of a TV food tray.
The theme of that night’s concert was Magic, Fantasy & Adventure. Maestro Victor Vener & the California Philharmonic certainly delivered a magical evening of music. They performed music from Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice (which most kids will know as that song from the Mickey Mouse movie) & Stravinksky’s Firebird Suite. In between songs, Victor Vener kept up a lively conversation with the audience, educating us on the background of the composer & the song itself.
After a brief intermission, the Cal Phil Chorale came out on stage to sing songs with the orchestra. We were treated to music from Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King & Morricone’s The Mission. A really sweet moment occurred during the concert just before Maestro Victor Vener started up the music from The Little Mermaid. Apparently his granddaughter was in the audience & The Little Mermaid happened to be her favorite Disney movie. So before the first note was played, Maestro Victor Vener said “this one is for you.” Awww…what a great grandfather!
If this sounds like a great way to spend your Saturday evening, then you are in luck! There is another concert this Saturday. For ticket & program information, check out the Cal Phil website.
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. I received complimentary concert tickets which helped facilitate this review. All photos, thoughts & opinions are 100% mine.