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Searching for LJ’s heart and soul

By Chuck Buck

On a cool, breezy evening, at dusk, on the very same day that the La Jolla Light newspaper announced the resignation of four more board members from the much besieged Promote La Jolla, hundreds of La Jollans gathered at Scripps Park for a transformative moment in time as the La Jolla Musical Society swept away the collective angst of a village of discontent.

We were to learn that this “free” concert had been on life support, a victim of so many financial ills besetting these kinds of organizations. Yet we were also to learn that women of influence raised the necessary funds to stage, at the last minute, this extraordinary evening as part of the society’s SummerFest 2009.

For more than an hour, the concert cast a spell of enchantment. The park was, as an impresario might say, a “sellout.” For as far as one could see, there were families and grandparents and seniors and 30-somethings in their beach chairs and blankets. And on a glowing stage with banners fluttering in the soft breeze, the La Jolla Musical Society’s Cho-Liang Lin, the SummerFest music director, was reminding us of Mahler and Beethoven while transporting us on a tour de force of his musical genius. There, that evening resided the heart and soul of La Jolla - the real La Jolla. The La Jolla of the past, reaffirmed by the present, while silently longing for the Cove Theatre, Dansk and John’s Waffle Shop. For those who might mistake La Jolla as some kind of Rodeo Drive on the coast, the heart and soul is not to be found in the sleek, glossy superficiality of upscale retailers and restaurants, but in the simple, enduring pleasures such as a concert in the park or browsing books at Warwick’s, picking up a bouquet of flowers from Adelaide’s or getting your prescription filled at Burns.

Chuck Buck is a La Jolla resident.