A "gala" is defined as "a celebration; festive occasion; special entertainment." Friday evening's Hearts for the Arts Gala lived up to all three definitions as Davis County residents gathered to celebrate current and past accomplishments of the Davis Arts Council, to eat a festive meal, and to enjoy special entertainment by a variety of artists. Prior to and while dinner was served, a silent auction of myriad donated items and pieces of art tempted checkbooks out of purses and pockets. Master of Ceremonies Dick Nourse, a member of the Utah Broadcast Hall of Fame, introduced the several parts of the program before having to "make haste" to the KSL broadcast booth to anchor the 10 o'clock news.
A short video presentation highlighted the many programs sponsored by the Davis Arts Council. Several volunteers and sponsors were then recognized for their service.
Entertainers included Derrin Young and Katie Steggle who sang "Ten Minutes Ago" from "Cinderella," Three Plus Three, and Brad Wheeler and Danny Weldon who teach youngsters in county schools to play the harmonica. Their "Blues in the Schools" program has taught more than 10,500 school children. Their goal is to get all 10,500 kids to play "When the Saints Come Marchin' In" at the same time and place for the Guinness Book of World Records.
Marie Stevenson and her Layton Elementary School fourth-grade class demonstrated Wheeler and Weldon's teaching accomplishments on the harmonica, as well as their own, by playing for the enthusiastic crowd.
Layton Mayor Steve Curtis made the shortest speech of the evening when he said, "I'm grateful that such a great city as Layton has such a great organization as the Davis Arts Council."
The $50/plate dinner concluded with an exquisitely presented dessert of raspberry mousse in thin (edible) chocolate cups garnished with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. As the crowd savored the silky smooth chocolate finale to the evening's feast, the silent auction closed and the live auction got underway with Auctioneer Kyle Holt and his assistants, David Greene and Blake Olson.
The long list of donated auction items ranged from a Fire Department Ride-Along to beauty, spa, and baby baskets. A week-long getaway to the Barlow family's four-bedroom, three-bathroom retreat in St. George garnered a winning $650 bid. Other items auctioned off were a Pampered Fitness Package, a Utah Jazz "VIP" Package for Two, a 14K antique cameo dating back to the 1890s, and several "private" packages such as a private concert with Kurt Bestor and another from Three Plus Three and a personal portrait to be painted by local artist Carma Hendryx.
Several who made use of the microphone during the evening encouraged generosity among the arts lovers present in order to build up funds for creation of an indoor performance arts facility. The success of the Davis Arts Council "Summer Nights with the Stars!" at Layton City's Kenley Amphitheater has proven that "if you build it, they will come."
The 2006 season of "Summer Nights" will feature the Blind Boys of Alabama, Dionne Warwick, Seals and Seals (Dan Seals of England Dan and John Ford Coley and his brother Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts), "A Night on Broadway" with George Dyer, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, singer, songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman, 60s rock and roll group Outrageous, and Debby Boone, singing a "Tribute to Rosemary Clooney."
More information on dates and prices of tickets for these performances can be obtained by phone (801) 546-8575, online at www.davisarts.org or in person at the DAC Box Office, 445 N. Wasatch Drive in Layton between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Season tickets offer a whopping 25 percent off individual ticket prices.
Also sponsored during the summer at the Kenley Amphitheater are free Sunday concerts (June 4 through August 27), free Wednesday night movies (June 14 through July 26), and a film festival on September 9.