The return of musical performances to the Pomegranate Patio at San Marino’s Old Mill marked as good a moment as any to mark the end of the pandemic, if indeed there is a definitive “end” to which we will all someday point.
Saturday night, the first show since September 2019 seemed to connect with the sold-out crowd who came early, stayed late and enjoyed a performance by the Orchid Quartet that will be difficult to duplicate.
The all-woman group with an impeccable pedigree worked its way seamlessly through a two-act show that featured both the far-fetched and the familiar with numbers from Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Aerosmith and the Beatles.
In between were other recognizable melodies that included “Moon River,” “The Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet,” “A Time for Us” (from the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet) and “Sweet Child of Mine,” which was made popular by Guns ‘N Roses.
The program ended with the haunting power of Adele’s “Skyfall” and the toe-tapping “Bohemian Rhapsody,” courtesy of Queen.
The Orchid Quartet is composed of violinists Molly Rogers and Desiree Hazley, Leah Metzler on the cello and Kiara Ana Perico on the viola. While the meet the band segment of these shows are typically less than memorable, Saturday’s was downright unforgettable.
“Being freelance string players is actually quite remarkable,” said Metzler, who explained that the group recently performed along with Smokey Robinson at the Stagecoach festival and completed a monthlong tour of China, where they headlined a 90-minute concert every other day on some of that country’s top stages.
“We could not connect via language,” said Metzler. “But we could definitely connect musically.”
The same phenomenon took place Saturday as nary a soul left the iconic performance area until the final note had been played.
Activity returns to the Mill July 1 and Aug. 5 when happy hour returns from 5-7 p.m. Music Under the Stars returns on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 8 p.m. with the Molly Miller Trio featuring Kenton Chen.
The California Art Club Gallery was also a high-traffic area Saturday with the California Gardens exhibit open to concertgoers, featuring several artists painting live on the grounds.