Community leaders take stage for arts fundraiser - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Community leaders take stage for arts fundraiser

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Mandy Zajac writes and edits arts, entertainment and lifestyle content for the Get Out section of the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6818 or

Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 10:00 am

An unusual lineup will take the stage Saturday at Mesa Arts Center.

“An Evening of Musical Magic” begins with a reception of hearty appetizers and drinks, followed by a concert featuring some pretty varied acts: local politicians, education leaders and businessmen, interspersed with a Country Western act, West African and Chinese dancing, and a local cover band.

The event is a black-tie fundraiser for the Mesa Arts Center Foundation, the nonprofit that funds the center’s arts education and community programs.

Mesa mayor Scott Smith and former U.S. Senate nominee Rodney Glassman will kick off the show’s opening number.

From there, performers include Mesa Community College president Dr. Shouan Pan, singing Peking opera, and vocalists Dr. Michael Cowan, Mesa Public Schools superintendent, and Dr. Sally Downey, East Valley Institute of Technology superintendent.

Bill Passey, of Mesa insurance agency Passey-Bond Co., will play flamenco guitar. Retired real estate broker Frank Bennett and real estate agent Charlie Randall will do stand up comedy.

Thrown into the mix is well-known local country music artist Cindy Standage, Valley band The Screamin’ Javelinas, and dancers from Kawambe-Omowale African Drum and Dance Theatre and Chandler’s Eastern Art Academy.

Former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods and Mesa attorney Clark Richter will emcee the show. Matt Salmon, former U.S. Congressman and current Congressional candidate, is scheduled to appear.

There’s also a live auction and “mystery gift box” fundraiser.

The gala begins 6 p.m. Saturday with a reception in the theater lobby at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St. Entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Piper Theater.

Tickets, $150 a piece, benefit MAC’s arts education and community outreach programs. More than 35,000 youth participate annually in the center’s classes, camps and school outreach programs, according to the mayor’s office.

Information and tickets are at (480) 644-6500 or Photos and video from the event will be posted at

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