Honoring a legend

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Former Los Angeles Dodger "Sweet" Lou Johnson (left), winner of the Golden Baton at the Jr. Philharmonic's Celebrity "Battle of Batons" on May 4 at the Shrine Auditorium with Jr. Phil founder/conductor Ernst Katz and conductor Gary S. Greene. Katz and Greene are Malibu residents.

Before a capacity audience of more than 6,000, the 115-member Jr. Philharmonic honored long-time Maestro Ernst Katz for 71 years of dedication to youth in music. Since 1937, tens of thousands of young lives have been influenced by the Jr. Philharmonic and Katz’ philosophy of “Give Youth A Chance To Be Heard.”

Under the baton of Gary S. Greene, the Jr. Phil performed a varite of pieces, including those from classical music and American theatre.

Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd introduced the annual Celebrity Battle of Batons with Former Los Angeles Dodger “Sweet” Lou Johnson, actors Timothy Bottoms, Stacy Keach and Jackie Zeman and comedian Judy Tenuta.The audience voted Johnson the winner of the 2008 Golden Baton. The program was produced by violinist Debra Marisa Greene and Malibu resident Gary S. Greene.

Maestro Katz founded the Jr. Philharmonic in 1937. The more than 70,000 musicians, ages 12 through 25, who have participated in annual auditions and the more than 10,000 who have been selected for membership, received their orchestral training at no charge and without government or commercial subsidy. For more information about the orchestra, audition opportunities and future concerts, go to www.JrPhil.org.