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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Pinewood School hosts Duncan Sheik in concert


Emily Copriviza/Special to the Town Crier
Pinewood students, from left, Annie Whitacre, Carolyn Ehrlich (on guitar), Justin Stangenes and Talmage Wise perform in “Whisper House” in the school’s November production. Duncan Sheik, who cowrote the musical, will visit the school next month to perform.

Thanks to a connection with the Pinewood School Performing Arts Department, the school’s Upper Campus is scheduled to host a concert featuring Duncan Sheik, the Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer-songwriter and composer.

In November Pinewood produced the high school and regional premiere of the musical “Whisper House,” which Sheik co-wrote with Kyle Jarrow.

After finishing his ninth studio album, Sheik will kick off the Northwest leg of his national tour at Pinewood. His Broadway blockbuster “Spring Awakening” springboarded the career of actress Lea Michele and many others. His No. 1 hit from the 1990s, “Barely Breathing,” was recently featured on the TV shows “Glee” and “Girls.”

Pinewood connection

Spencer Williams, chairman of Pinewood’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, said he wanted his students to stage “Whisper House” after he saw the premiere at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.

To secure the rights to the musical, which were not subject to the typical licensing process of plays and musicals, Williams, “on a whim,” contacted Jarrow about the possibility of performing “Whisper House.” Jarrow replied, “Absolutely.”

“As a musical-theater educator, it was one of the most exciting and educational things we could do,” Williams said. “The students were able to create the characters without seeing so many other versions of the production on YouTube. It’s pretty rare to get to do that. Most don’t even get to do that in college.”

Williams invited Sheik and Jarrow to the Pinewood performance, but scheduling conflicts prevented them from attending. After reading that Sheik was embarking on a tour that would bring him to the Bay Area, Williams, “on another whim,” called Sheik’s manager and asked if the singer would stop by Pinewood to chat with students about musical theater.

Williams once again received an enthusiastic reply, with Sheik’s manager proposing a concert at the school, preceded by a VIP event for students.

“I’m very excited to hang out with the students and talk to them about music and theater,” said Sheik in a phone interview with the Town Crier. “I think that kids being encouraged to make music or theater or any kind of art in high school is incredibly important.”

Sheik said he thinks that too often nowadays students are consumers of media more than creators of art.

“I really appreciate kids making art,” he said. “When high school kids do things like this – especially a show like ‘Whisper House’ – it’s incredible they pulled it off.”

Broadway success

Sheik, 44, has spent the better part of the fall in London working on the theatrical debut of “American Psycho,” which recently premiered at the Almeida Theatre.

He launched his musical career in 1996 with his eponymous debut album, which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Vocal, featured the pop hit “Barely Breathing” and sold 750,000 copies.

Sheik plunged into the musical-theater world in the early 2000s with “Spring Awakening,” for which he wrote the music and Steven Sater the book and lyrics. “Spring Awakening” won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical and eight Tony Awards, with Sheik earning Tonys for Best Orchestration and Best Original Score, and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

“When I wrote ‘Spring Awakening,’ my real intense feeling was that there was a lot of musical theater being well made and beautifully done, but stylistically the music had no connection to the rest of the music people listen to – the popular music of the day,” he said. “I feel like the theater can and should reflect the stylistic taste of the public that is going to see it.”

“Spring Awakening” boasted an indie-rock sound that garnered accolades from the theater world. Sheik’s most recent work, “American Psycho,” has a 1980s-influenced electronic dance sound.

Pinewood performance

Sheik’s concert at Pinewood will feature selections he wrote for his musicals, songs from his catalogue as a recording artist and new music from his upcoming album, “Electric Domain,” scheduled for release later this year.

His new sound was “very much influenced by the aesthetic of electronic dance music,” he said.

The concert benefits the Pinewood Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. More than 10 students received scholarships of varying amounts last year, allowing them to travel and perform with fellow students at the Vatican. Pinewood students are scheduled to perform in Notre Dame in Paris this year.

Sheik’s concert is scheduled 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Pinewood Upper Campus Theatre, 26800 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills.

Tickets are $50, $100 and $150 (for the VIP package).

To purchase tickets, visit tinyurl.com/SheikTickets.

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