Laguna welcomed summer with music and camaraderie with its sister city, Menton, France.
The fifth annual Fête de la Musique was presented Saturday by the Laguna Beach Sister Cities Assn., mirroring an event held in Menton.
Mayor Jane Egly and association President Karyn Philippsen welcomed the crowd at the opening ceremony on the cobblestones at Main Beach. Terri Gans, communications attaché to the French Consulate in Los Angeles, stood in for the consul, who was unable to attend.
The ceremony included Lisa Morrice singing "La Marseillaise." Jenny Wang sang the "Star Spangled Banner." The Laguna Concert Band's Swing Set also entertained.
Onlookers included association members Nancy Beverage, Jennifer Karan, Betsy Jenkins and Councilwoman Toni Iseman; Laguna Beach High School teacher Odile Dewar; Barbara Painter and other beachgoers, who staked out spots on the grass surrounding the cobblestones.
No Square Theatre kicked off the performances at Madison Square Café and Garden. Street performances began at 1:30 p.m. The sites were checked off by Decibel Divas Pat Kollenda and Susan Davis, who carted around town to check out the sounds of the fete.
They reported that no one exceeded the city's noise limits. In fact, at a couple of stops, Kollenda urged some talented performers to amp it up.
Just to let you know who you saw and heard while roaming around downtown: Capistrano Mariachis were stationed at Las Brisas. Fete chair Chic McDaniel's trio played folk rock in the South Coast Cinema alcove.
Alcoves are ideal locations. The performers don't interfere with pedestrians or with nearby musical groups.
The Funghis' '60s and '70s folk rock was played in the recess by Laguna Colony, only a few yards from the Coffee Pub/Lumberyard Mall patio, where Matt Quilter's trio performed county rock, with no conflict. Quilter called his group the MonTones — a play on the name of Laguna's sister city (he has really been hanging out too long with his brother Chris, who comes up with the wickedly clever parodies in "Lagunatics").
The Cigar Box Rock 'n' Roll Group drew a crowd at Chico's alcove. There was also singer Macarena Budrows, who just graduated from Laguna Beach High School with a Festival of Arts scholarship for dance.
Morea Arthur played acoustic rock in the Greeter's Corner alcove. Ninth-grader Marlie Becker sang and played acoustic guitar at Fresh Produce's entrance. Olivia Morrison, one of Dewar's students, and Frankie Major played acoustic guitar and violin at the recessed entrance to the Laguna Beach library.
April Walsh warbled Edith Piaf numbers, as well as her repertoire of 1940s hits at the Peppertree Lane parking lot. The Carolin' Bells sang in front of the Historical Society bungalow on Ocean Avenue and provided cookies for their audience.
Grey Hill Gospel String Band had feet tapping and hands clapping in front of Tuvalu.
Inside performances included Anne Likes Red in C'est La Vie, Laguna Beach High School teacher Gary Shapiro playing his guitar for Zinc Café customers, and the popular Blues Offenders blasting at Hobie's.
Also scheduled to appear: Mike DeBilles soloing on saxophone at Peppertree Lane, Your Ugly Sister at Beach and Broadway, H Charton and Jennifer Savino in the Wells Fargo advisory parking lot (her percussion instrument was a jar of dried peas); Andrea Ketchum at Mermaid and Glenneyre streets; Keith Comer at the corner of Ocean and the highway; and the duo Stacy and Ted in the 200 block of Ocean. Adam Genestra sang the blues at Hobie's south entrance and wandering accordionist Barbara Hawthorne performed wherever she happened to be.
The closing ceremony on the cobblestones was a Kumbaya moment, with J.J. & the Habibis belly dancers, the mariachi band and Swing Set all performing.
"We did get comments from the audience that they missed the sing-along we had in previous years," Philippsen said. "We will bring it back next year."
The Laguna Beach chapter of Sister Cities International was founded in 2008. Suggestions for additional siblings for Laguna are sought.
For information about the organization, visit website http://www.LagunaBeachSisterCities.org.