MERCED -- Local music group Uke N' Reed will serenade the audience with their unique style of folk-swing at the annual Merced Symphony Association fund-raiser, "Savor Our Symphony," on March 8.
Led by Tom Schmidt, the group will play a variety of toe-tapping standards, while a hearty meal of heavy hors d' oeuvres and drinks from a no-host bar will be served.
" 'Savor Our Symphony' is the theme," organizer Ann Andersen said. "A time to savor the music, savor the food, savor the special and unique silent and live auction items, and savor the experience to help the symphony continue providing great music and support a unique cultural resource in our community."
The proceeds of the evening help pay for the 2012-2013 concert season.
"This is a delightful, fun-filled event that helps support the Merced Symphony concerts, including our children's programs," association Board President Judy Edwina Smith said. "It's a fast-paced evening that allows patrons to get home at a decent hour."
While Smith always anticipates the food each year -- savory tri-tip and an array of salads and sides -- her favorite part of the annual event is the live auction.
It features a wide selection of items up for bid, such as gourmet cakes, sailing on the lake, art, jewelry, memorabilia, vacations, gift baskets and much more. One lucky bidder will take home a wine tasting for six at Ficklin Vineyards, while another will get to conduct one selection with the orchestra next season.
"We have unique items that generate excitement," Smith said. "Last year a 1952 trophy deer head brought peals of laughter. The men wanted it; the wives didn't. The famous Grab Bag was the highlight of the evening."
The cocktail hour, dinner and silent auction will be accompanied by the easy-listening folk-swing music of Uke N' Reed.
The group blends the vocals of Patti Dahlstrom with her fierce rhythms on the ukulele and the colorful clarinet of Tom Schmidt, with Russ Manfredi on bass and Karen White on violin.
The group is well-known from appearances at local functions such as Rudy's Encore and the Merced Mall Summer Concerts, and they have toured throughout the state.
"Their style features upbeat, toe-tapping songs that will create a great ambience for the 'Savor Our Symphony' fund-raiser," Smith said.
'Savor Our Symphony'
WHEN: March 8. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Italo-American Lodge, 1351 W 18th St.
TICKETS: $25 and must be purchased in advance at Multicultural Arts Center, Merced Floral, Christina's Fine Clothing, Big O Tires, Goldsmith Jewelers in Atwater or the symphony association
CALL: (209) 383-3277