The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School


The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School


The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School


Iannessa Honored during Holiday Concert

Margot Madeira

The Pali Symphony Orchestra performed alongside St. Peters Lutheran College from Brisbane, Australia at Pali’s annual Holiday Concert on Dec. 6.

Unlike previous years, the 2023 Holiday Concert included a special tribute to Director of Academic Achievement Monica Iannessa for her retirement at the end of the 2023-24 school year. The St. Peters Lutheran College’s orchestra joined together with Pali’s Symphony Orchestra to sing songs that were meaningful to Iannessa in Mercer Hall.

The concert was performed in association with Heal the Bay, a non-profit organization that works toward protecting the Los Angeles coastline and restoring its waterways.

Pali’s Heal the Bay Club worked with the Symphony Orchestra to raise money for Los Angeles marine life, specifically whales. They had a booth set up to collect donations, and they raised over $250.

“[Witnessing the organizers combine] art with civic activism, which has kind of been my mission, is really touching,” Iannessa said.

The concert tribute was inspired by Iannessa’s love for music, which began when her father introduced her to jazz, musical theater and classical music at a young age.

“The arts have always been around my family and have been valued,” she added.

According to the Musical Director of the Symphony Orchestra, Elizabeth Stoyanovich, the St. Peters Lutheran College has maintained a relationship with Pali for the past five years. Pali’s orchestral class first traveled to Australia with the orchestra group four years ago.

“They called me out of the blue and said that [they] are coming to the West Coast and want to know if we could do some side-by-side stuff,” Stoyanovich said.

To perform in the Holiday Concert, the Australian students flew to Los Angeles on Nov. 29 and visited Pali on Dec. 3. Along with the concert, they engaged in various activities together, such as trips to the Getty Museum and Disneyland.

“We always give a Holiday Concert with the Symphony Orchestra, but I just thought I would make it a bigger deal because Iannessa is retiring,” Stoyanovich added.

Junior Sienna Monnier, who participated in the concert and spent time in the Heal the Bay fundraising booth, said that planning the event was time-intensive.

“It was hectic because [the Australian students] all have to stay in hotels and there are a lot of them,” she explained.

During their three-day stay, some students stayed with host families while others stayed in the Santa Monica Hostel.

Monnier, who has been playing the violin for 11 years, began performing in the annual Holiday Concert in her freshman year.

“I [was] just really excited that the Australian students [came], and that we [got] to play with them,” she said.

The Symphony Orchestra is the most advanced orchestral class at Pali, performing pieces such as “Suite Lyrique” by John Rudder and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. Their final piece was Alan Hovhaness’ “And God Created Whales,” which is one of Iannessa’s favorite songs.

“Hovhaness holds a special place in my heart since my father introduced me to the composer,” she said.

Each musician chooses their own notes for a portion of the song and it features whale recordings in the background track.

Following the performance, Stoyanovich and the Symphony Orchestra surprised Iannessa with a special mention that included flowers and a whale movie screening in the background.

“I am just so honored by the talent of these students and the fact that they are so conscious of combining art with civic activism,” Iannessa said.

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About the Contributors
Lila Bigalow, Staff Writer and Videographer
Lila Bigalow is a sophomore, first-year staff writer and videographer for Tideline. She was a writer for her middle school magazine, and she attended a journalism course at NYU this past summer. She is excited to expand her knowledge on journalism and is appreciative of the opportunity to do so. Through her writing, she hopes to inform students on relevant topics and offer a new perspective. In her free time, Lila enjoys dancing, reading, baking and running for the Pali track team.
Margot Madeira, Staff Photographer
Margot Madeira is a first-year staff photographer for Tideline and excited to extend her skills and portfolio. Outside of Tideline, she plays for Pali High’s volleyball team and spends much of her time at practice or with her friends. Margot also enjoys watching movies, traveling and spending time in nature, because she is always looking for new inspiration for her photos.