Grace MidDay Concert continues online with Culver City Chamber Orchestra

While still practicing social distancing, today’s MidDay at Grace concert proceeds as scheduled with a “beautiful online concert with the Culver City Chamber Orchestra,” Grace music director Mary Lou Basaraba said.

CCCO director Arlette Cárdenes presents a fabulous lineup of music arranged for eight cellists and musical friends in a previous concert. Basaraba has selected several selections covering a wide range of styles, “from Baroque to Contemporary, including highlights from ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Carmen’ to ‘Game of Thrones,’ she said.

Founded in 1997 by siblings Andrés (a world-renowned violinist) and Arlette Cárdenes (who has a bachelors and masters in cello performance), the Culver City Chamber Orchestra was a means for the Cárdenes family to pay tribute to the city they call home.

“When I returned from graduate school, I found that our arts program in the schools had been suspended,” Cárdenes recalled. “It gave me the resolution to start this orchestra, as a way to give back to Culver City for the programs my siblings and I had when we ere in the Culver City schools.”

While the financial future of the orchestra remains uncertain, the vision of the Cárdenes family is as focused as ever.

“I have always envisioned our orchestra to be the best possible orchestra on the Westside,” Cárdenes said. “I still have plans to be pursue other avenues of funding. I especially want to focus on children’s outreach, because as I was given such a great education and opportunities to perform, it is notably harder due to our current cutbacks in the schools.

“In addition, we are hoping to work with other groups, such as choirs, dancers and especially with exceptionally talented young musicians,” she added.

To learn more about CCCO, call 310-397-2490; email at or go to

Grace Concerts

The MidDay at Grace Church concert series was launched in December 2018, along with Three ‘Opera at Grace’ programs, Basaraba said that the 1,000-plus attendees have raised more than $7,000 for a wide variety of local non-profit organizations.

The May 14 concert, as with all online MidDay musicals, will be dedicated to the Grace Diner – feeding the underserved (a tax exempt, 501(c) (3), a nonprofit organization EIN# 46-5058093) on the campus of the church as the designated charity to receive donations. Donations can be made at

“This is an extraordinary ministry that has served more than 30,000 sit-down meals to the homeless and needy for the past 10 years under the direction of Lisa Skelley and a dedicated team of volunteers,” Basaraba said by email. “In recent weeks since the Governor’s order to social distance with each other, Grace Diner has shifted from a weekly sit down dinner to a tri-weekly bagged meal service.

“(As for the concert), you can click in anytime to join us or as it fits your schedule. Such a disappointment to not see you in person,” Basaraba said. ““This promises to be a beautiful program and you will be part of a virtual audience for MidDAY concert No. 15.”

The concert will be available on video through email or on the Grace Church Facebook page ( and will benefit Grace Diner, which distributes up to 200 meals a day Monday through Friday, Basaraba said.