An instrumental evening
Contributed photo, Pianist Elliott Hayes, 25, will perform at the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra's StarStruck gala. His accomplishments include performing at Carnegie Hall.

If you’ve ever wondered what an orchestra does when its audience is away, the Star Struck gala may help you find out.

The sit-down gala, benefiting the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra, will feature at least one orchestra member at each table.

“It’s a class act,” said Donna Langwig, an advisory board member for the symphony. “It’s fun, and you’re helping the orchestra.”

The third annual event will be held Saturday, Jan. 31, at the MountainView Country Club in SaddleBrooke, 38759 S. Mountain View Blvd. It is the orchestra’s only big fund raiser, and it brought in $6,000 last year, which went toward program printing, soloists, some purchase of instruments, venue rental and the conductor’s salary. The orchestra members are unpaid.

At 5 p.m., the gala will begin with a silent auction and piano jazz performed by local musician Nick Stanley. Auction items will include season tickets to the symphony, tax return service, restaurant gift certificates and art.

Dinner at 6 p.m. will include wine and a choice of filet mignon, salmon charon or a vegetarian entree. Members of the orchestra will perform during the meal.

When dessert arrives, music lovers will bid out loud on a chance to conduct an opening piece in a concert or be named as the commissioner of an original piece of music celebrating the orchestra’s 30th anniversary next year.

Pianist Elliott Hayes and the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra’s chamber orchestra will provide the evening’s main entertainment. Hayes, 25, has performed at Carnegie Hall and is working on a doctorate in piano performance at the University of Maryland School of Music.

He will perform a full concert the next day at SaddleBrooke’s DesertView Theater.

Tickets for the gala are $75, of which $37.50 is tax deductible. The deadline for reservations is Wednesday, Jan. 21.

For reservations, call 297-3042.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: StarStruck gala

WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31

WHERE: MountainView Country Club, 38759 S. Mountain View Blvd.

COST: $75

PHONE: 297-3042

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