I had the pleasure of attending the Inaugural Gala, presented by the Rialto Theatre Foundation and sponsored by Jim Click, Saturday, Feb. 9.

Along with food and drink the evening included a silent, as well as a live auction. The auctions included art pieces and meals from local restaurants and goods and services from local merchants.

The entertainment for the evening was provided by Grupo Fantasma, a 10-piece Afro/Cuban band from Texas. From the very first song the audience was engaged. By the end of the second song the dance floor was full and the group had no trouble getting everyone to join in clapping to the beat or helping them to sing a chorus. Driven by a rhythm section, which included four percussionists, the music poured forth with arrangements that highlighted a horn section and lead guitar runs that came together beautifully. The vocals and harmonies joined with the instrumentation to present a complete package. The music was tight and the musicians were loose, making for a night of live music that kept running through my head and making my feet move long after it had ended.

As always, the staff at the Rialto Theatre were friendly and helpful. The lighting and sound technicians gave us a mix that was a pleasure to watch and listen to.

Thanks to the Rialto Theatre Foundation and Jim Click for their work in keeping the Rialto a viable venue in downtown Tucson. And thanks to all of the people who support The Rialto Theatre by buying tickets to shows and attending fund raisers such as the Inaugural Gala. The arts remain alive in Tucson because of you, and we all benefit.

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