Dayton Performing Arts Alliance plans inaugural gala

It’s being billed as an interactive evening and the first of its kind in Dayton — and perhaps, the nation.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance will hold a black-tie inaugural gala on Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Schuster Center and it won’t be your typical black-tie fundraiser.

“It’s a very interactive evening,” explains Annette Salsman, DPAA trustee and co-chair of the festive event. “Our musicians, ballet dancers and opera singers will entertain our gala guests from the moment they walk in the door until they leave at the end of the night. You’ll be able to dance on the Mead Theatre stage alongside the Dayton Ballet dancers, and see conductor Neal Gittleman up close as he conducts the orchestra.”

She says tenor Scott Piper will be featured singing American and Italian love songs in the Amore Lounge of the Mathile Theatre, The Dayton Philharmonic and Bob Gray Orchestras will play dance music on stage — ranging from swing and jazz to ballroom and disco. A ballet duet will be performed by Annalise Woller and Case Bodamer from the Dayton Ballet.

Salsman, who lives in Waynesville, says the evening’s theme, “A Little Night Music,” is an English translation of the German name for Mozart’s Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, Eine kleine Nachtmusik. It will set the stage for the interweaving of dance, instrumental and vocal performance throughout the evening.

The event is being hosted by the trustees of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. Heading a committee of 40 for the black-tie event, in addition to Salsman, are co-chairs Allyson Danis, and Ingrid Brown. They’re planning a gourmet dinner that will be served in the Wintergarten.

“We will be showcasing the new Nutcracker set and costumes in an innovative way,” explains Salsman. “The new Nutcracker costumes are based on cookies and candies so we are creating Nutcracker Sweets dessert stations to match the costumes.

“At the same time we will be showcasing a diorama of the new Nutcracker set and a glimpse at the new costumes being designed for the coming season’s all new Nutcracker.”

The specially designed martinis will represent the three organizations that make up the Alliance.

More about the chair

Salsman, an event-planner by profession, was last year’s chair of the Dayton Philharmonic gala. She and her husband moved here from Oregon in 2007.

Her love of the arts, she says, came from her grandmother.

“She was a piano teacher and would always give our family tickets to arts events,” she recalls. “I’ve always loved opera and symphony and enjoyed ballet.”

Salsman says it was our area’s cultural attractions that attracted the couple to the Miami Valley.

“My husband is an executive and we moved here for his work,” she says. “We wouldn’t have moved to a community that didn’t have a symphony, opera and ballet.”

A vibrant arts community, she observes, is usually a sign of an involved and active community, and one that offers higher education and more opportunities.

Concludes Salsman: ” I think the arts is important for attracting other executives and keeping a community growing economically.”

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