Take a bow!

DPAA kicks off its season with The Inaugural Gala

By Leo DeLuca

Photo: Dance on the stage of the Mead Theatre with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra during the DPAA Inaugural Gala on Oct. 5; Photo: Andy Snow

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance (DPAA) presents their inaugural gala Saturday, October 5. The event is titled “A Little Night Music” and takes place from 6-11:30 p.m. at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton.

The Dayton Philharmonic, Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera merged into one collaborative unit in mid-2012 and the DPAA was born. According to DPAA Inaugural Gala Co-Chair Annette Salsman, the organization is the first of its kind to undertake this unprecedented endeavor – an endeavor that will grant all three organizations a superior, more secure future.

The Inaugural Gala is the alliance’s flagship event – a way to launch the season in style and display everything the DPAA has to offer. In speaking with Salsman, she emphasized Dayton’s remarkable propensity for supporting the arts, citing it as integral to the DPAA’s existence.

Salsman referenced Dayton’s standing as the #1 midsize U.S. city for arts and culture, as awarded by “Cities Ranked and Rated.” According to Salsman, per capita, “Dayton offers 79 percent more arts organizations than all similar-sized U.S. cities.” The DPAA is extremely grateful for the support of the Gem City and the 35 gala sponsors.

Can you elaborate on DPPA’s Inaugural Gala and its role within the larger scope of the 2013-2014 Season? 

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s 2013-2014 season is one for the record books. It is the first year we will be showcasing all three art forms – ballet, opera and philharmonic –in “signature events” throughout the year. The gala will be a way to kick off the season and celebrate the success of the merger. DPAA Artistic Directors Neal Gittleman, Tom Bankston and Karen Russo Burke have combined forces to create an entertaining night that attendees won’t soon forget. This is the night that the DPAA lets down their proverbial hair and presents gala guests a fun, interactive night, while still presenting an exquisite event. –Annette Salsman

What features and performances will be of particular interest to this event? What are some highlights of the evening? 

Gala guests will mingle, dine and dance with opera singers, musicians and ballet dancers all night long. They will be just a few feet away from orchestra musicians while they dance under the stars of the Mead Theatre. They can glance over the musicians’ shoulders and glimpse at their sheet music. They can see a side of Neal Gittleman that they’ve never seen – the “conducting” side. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra is the dance band for the night, along with The Bob Gray Orchestra. They will be playing tunes from Motown to disco, ballroom to swing, and everything in between.

Special highlights include being on stage with Scott Piper, Dayton Opera’s visiting tenor, as he serenades the crowd to “O Sole Mio,” while they dance alongside Dayton Ballet performers. While on stage, attendees will witness a special ballet duet performance by the Dayton Ballet. The evening’s entertainment will overflow from the Mead Theatre into the Mathile Theatre, where Scott Piper will be performing American and Italian love songs in the Amore Lounge. We will be showcasing the new Nutcracker set and costumes in an innovative way. The new costumes are based on cookies and candies. We took that idea and are creating Nutcracker Sweets dessert stations to match the costumes.  We will also showcase a diorama of the new Nutcracker set and provide a glimpse of the new costumes. Our martini bar will have four martinis that will reflect the Ballet, Opera and Philharmonic: Tututini, Divatini and Maestrotini. –AS

Who originally had the notion to include performers in the inaugural gala? 

It was the idea of our amazing Artistic Directors Neal Gittleman, Tom Bankston and Karen Russo Burke. Neal had the idea to have the musicians perform dance music while guests dance onstage. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s past galas included dancing onstage and the Dayton Ballet’s prior events always featured the dancers performing and dancing with the audiences. Now that the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera have joined forces, it made sense to combine all three art forms to create a one-of-a-kind event. The three artistic directors have come up with a wonderful, fun and exciting night of entertainment for the DPAA Inaugural Gala. –AS

What do you think will be most intriguing to attendees? 

We are most excited about the innovative entertainment experiences we are planning for our guests. The DPAA Inaugural Gala is truly a one-of-a-kind event, not only for Dayton, but also for the nation. We are the only gala that incorporates their performers in their night’s entertainment. DPAA’s philharmonic musicians, ballet dancers and professional opera singers will entertain our Gala guests from the moment they walk in the door until they leave at the end of the night.  –AS

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance presents its Inaugural Gala “A Little Night Music” on Saturday, Oct. 5 at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, 1 W. Second St. The gala takes place from 6-11:30 p.m. For more information, please visit daytonperformingarts.org/gala.


Reach DCP freelance writer Leo DeLuca at LeoDeLuca@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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