In my new role as The Orinda Association (OA) president, I would like to wish all of you a fabulous February and a great 2019. As the new year begins, it’s important to thank the many volunteers in Orinda who make this city such a great place to live. I would like to especially acknowledge the services of our outgoing co-presidents, Cindy Powell and Anil Comelo and our current officers, Joe Garvey, Bill Waterman and Sally Hogarty. The board of the OA would like to thank our donors for their support in 2018. With your time and financial contributions, we were able to provide wonderful events and services for Orinda. This included the Seniors Around Town (SAT) program, the 4th of July Parade, the Orinda Classic Car Show, The Orinda News and many others.
Several years ago, Forbes Magazine nominated Orinda as the second friendliest city in America. The involvement and percentage of charitable giving by residents within the community was one of the parameters used by Forbes in making its determination.
One of the pleasures of living in this beautiful city is the enjoyment of participating and attending one of the many events offered within the community. Some of the events offered throughout the year are the Orinda Film Festival, the California Shakespeare Theater, the annual Classic Car Show, the 4th of July Parade and the NorCal Kids Triathlon. These events, which are sponsored, organized and mostly executed by volunteers, generate contributions to support local programs and projects throughout the city.
Two of my favorite programs that benefit from these generous donations are the SAT program and the “Live at the Orinda” concert series. SAT has been around for 14 years. It provides free rides to Orinda senior residents utilizing volunteer drivers from the community. When this unique program began, it filled 24 rider requests. Last year, there were more than 1300 rider requests. A huge leap, underscoring the great need for this kind of volunteer service to our residents.
My second favorite program, which is celebrating only its second year is the “Live at the Orinda” concert series. This program provides premier live Broadway entertainment in a desirable intimate setting at the iconic and historic Orinda Theatre. My wife and I attended the “Kick Off for 2019” Jan. 20. Rita Moreno was the headliner and she was FANTASTIC. Ms. Moreno has won all the major performing arts awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. She sang songs from West Side Story and other Broadway hits. For each song (some of which she sang in Spanish), she told stories and interesting anecdotes about who wrote the song and the history behind the song. If you haven’t been to this kind of live performance, you will be moved by the intimate style of the venue. It makes you appreciate each song and the background of why it was written.
This wonderful series would not have been possible without the sponsorship and contributions of the Orinda Community Foundation and our city’s philanthropic soul, Steve Harwood. There are 76 subscribers out of the 190 seats available, so there is still plenty of space. Carolee Carmello, three-time Tony nominated Broadway star, will headline Feb. 17. Coming March 14 is Telly Leung, Broadway/TV star of Glee and Aladdin. Please visit www.LamorindaTheatres.com for tickets and showtimes. We’ll see you there!
Orinda’s greatest strength is its residents. Without your involvement, time and financial contributions, many of these programs would not be available to the community. Thank you!