January 25, 2004
Deepa Bharath Editor's note: Beginning today, we offer a new weekly feature called Living Memories. It won't be the story of former city leaders or captains of industry, it will be a story of a lives lived outside of the public spotlight, yet lives that warmed the hearts of those who knew them best. You only had to meet Aron Negron once to love him a lifetime. An hour, a day, a month. It didn't matter how long you've known Aron. You saw the same, unassuming smile.
November 15, 2003
Luis Pena Longtime Newport Beach resident Jeri Lofland fondly remembers her departed friend Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers. Lofland had a yard sale one summer day in Dover Shores during the early 1970s, and one of the many people who attended was a man in his 30s by the name of Bobby Hatfield. After the yard sale was long over, he kept coming to her house. Lofland and Hatfield hit it off, and a friendship between them developed. They both had many things in common, she said: they had the same friends and were both members of the Balboa Bay Club.
January 23, 2003
Deirdre Newman The melodious sound of Bach and Mozart filled the elegant lounge at the Inn at the Park nursing home in Irvine on Saturday afternoon as residents were treated to a piano recital by a group of Newport Beach students. As sunlight streamed through the windows, residents luxuriated in couches and armchairs while members of the Music Students' Service League passionately pounded out a variety of classical music selections. The league, a grass-roots organization formed in the Port Streets neighborhood in 1995, is based on the premise that music has a healing effect.
November 30, 2002
Deirdre Newman When Michael Fleming was born, his parents looked at his hands, then looked at each other and sighed a breath of relief. His long, slender fingers virtually assured that he would be able to carry on the musical tradition in his family. Fast forward nine years. Michael is now a two-instrument virtuoso, playing the piano and violin. "To be talented at both is unique," said Michelle Marumoto-Wright, Michael's violin teacher and director of strings for the Irvine Conservatory of Music.
October 20, 2001
Young Chang Eva Xia hesitantly admits she listens to hip-hop music and that her favorite rapper is Tupac. She seems embarrassed for some reason but when asked, says she isn't. The 17-year-old also loves Martha Argerich, a renowned Argentine pianist who Eva calls "absolutely awesome." Her music is subdued but has so much meaning, technique and depth. "She's like one of the most formidable women pianists," Eva said, sounding out "formidable" because it's not a word teenagers use everyday.
August 26, 2001
Young Chang A boy who lives on the first floor of a quaint Costa Mesa apartment complex knows that when visitors inquire about a piano-playing neighbor, they're asking about Judy Leighton -- the woman whose music floats off of her second-floor balcony. In what she calls her "corner for kids," which is decorated with stuffed Care Bears, Big Bird and a Winnie-the-Pooh lamp, Leighton teaches children how to play the piano regardless of whether they can afford the cost.
October 20, 2000
Young Chang Eddie Palmieri hopes it will rain again. This week the sun has come out in New York, where Palmieri lives when he is not in Puerto Rico. Rain is water, and water is life, he says. A clear sky means the planets must have stopped hovering near the Earth. The Latin jazz performer, pianist and composer is full of fanciful maxims and tales. He says his friend and mentor Tito Puente, a Latin jazz legend who passed away in May, is now probably performing on the moon.
October 23, 1999
Alex Coolman He carved an image of birth into the piano, and he carved an image of death. He went on carving the tragic stories of a family of slaves, not stopping until the entire piano was covered in pictures of their history. The labor must have taken years. Well, not quite. "It's all done in foam," said Christian Johnson, the artisan for South Coast Repertory who did the carving. Johnson created the elaborately detailed etchings in the piano for August Wilson's play "The Piano Lesson," which opened yesterday and runs through Nov. 21. All told, the carving took only about a week and a half, but the stories that are told in the artfully disguised slabs of foam are central to the play.
October 9, 1999
Alex Coolman "And who's that woman sitting over there?" the man at the microphone asked, his voice husky with suggestion. "The one in red." Every eye in the dim restaurant swiveled toward the bright lights of the bar, where the object of the inquiry, her face now almost the same color as her sweater, gave her name with a smile. "Well, you're beautiful," the man said. "This one's for you." With that, the man nodded at Rich Fauno, house pianist at Villa Nova, who launched into a rumbling rendition of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You."