There’s no lack of spirited fun and high-energy entertainment when those in the Oneonta Club get together, especially for their December meeting.
This month’s affair, held at the South Pasadena Woman’s Club, was timely coordinated as the Tournament of Roses’ 2019 Queen and Court made their traditional stop at the club’s annual holiday dinner.
“Yes, we have a bit of fun each month,” said the club’s president, Matthew Crow, who kicked off the entertainment by directing the audience in a series of lively holiday favorites, some of which included “Let it Snow, Let it Snow,” “Silver Bells,” and “My Favorite Things.”
Crow seems to be the perfect fit in guiding the organization, mixing humor and laughter with the seriousness the club provides. Each May, Oneonta members present three $10,000 college scholarships to deserving South Pasadena High Students, along with honoring two teachers of the year with smaller amounts.
The December meeting is unique in that it’s one in which royalty is invited. Oneonta Program Chair Joe Payne introduced the 2019 Rose Queen and Court, before asking each member a series of questions, from their favorite hobbies to the university they hope to attend upon graduation from high school. On stage included princesses Lauren Michele Baydaline, Ashley Symone Hackett, Rucha S. Kadam, Sherry Xiaorui Ma, Micaela Sue McElrath and Queen Louise Deser Siskel.
Baydaline, 17, grew up in South Pasadena attending Arroyo Vista Elementary School and the local middle school before heading to Westridge School in Pasadena, where she is a senior. Baydaline recently moved to Alhambra with her family.
A week ago, she was back at Arroyo Vista, where her mother, Selena, is the school’s librarian. What brought the Rose princess on campus was the 5th grade State Float Parade. Like the Rose Parade, AV students build floats on a miniature scale, featuring some of the state’s highlights, and pull them around the playground to the enthusiasm of family, friends and classmates.
“They are made with all natural products, just like the real thing in the Rose Parade,” explained Baydaline, seated on the stage at the Oneonta event with other Queen and Court members. “The kids research the state before building their float. The Rose Princesses and Queen come out to cheer on them on and it’s really fun. Coming back to my roots was really amazing.”
Reading, writing, and spending time with her family are among her favorite activities when she’s not going to one of an anticipated 100 events she’ll be attending with members of the Queen and Court in the days ahead.
In college, hopefully Duke University, she plans, on majoring in linguistics and becoming an OBGYN.
Queried on her favorite song, Baydaline said “Here Comes the Sun,” sung by the Beatles, remains the frontrunner, noting it’s a tune she has listened to it since her childhood.
The Pasadena Girls’ Choir, under the direction of Barbara Allen, concluded the program and received a standing ovation when it was over. The choir brings a varied vocal repertoire to its performances, typically singing classical, pop, jazz and Broadway songs. They are scheduled to perform on the ‘Holiday Celebration’ Show at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on December 24, which will be broadcast live on PBS.
Oneonta Club’s history dates back to 1923 when a group of 12 men in South Pasadena gathered to discuss the need for a group, which would provide supportive fellowship in the area. The Oneonta Club was the result. The club continues today almost unchanged in any way.
With the exception of the December meeting, the non-sectarian, nondenominational club meets monthly for dinner programs in Gray Hall at Oneonta Church. Featured are speakers from all professional fields.
“It’s a nice throwback to a simpler time,” said Oneonta member Dean Serwin. “It’s really about having a sense of community with no agenda. We start with a cocktail hour, have a meal together, sing a few songs, enjoy a presentation, then we go home.”
Serwin says the motto behind it all is simple: “Do nothing until you feel like doing something.”
Crow explained the club is a way for individuals in the South Pasadena area with diverse interests and opinions to come together no matter what political views they hold or their perspective is on life.
“We have a little bit of fun with the singing, are educated by some great speakers and have some wonderful entertainment,” he said. “So, it’s something to look forward to on a Monday night, which otherwise is somewhat dull.”
Payne said the holiday dinner is put on jointly with the Woman’s Club of South Pasadena because “It’s an opportunity to meld two great organizations,” he said. “The venue is incredible with the stage, the dining hall and it really works out well for us. We really appreciate their support very much.”
For more information about the Oneonta Club, contact Joe Payne at email@example.com or call (626) 818-8000.