The 45th Annual Grand Gala returns this year with the hit-music from Broadway’s SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical. With a score featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You Baby,” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff,” this electric experience is a moving tribute to the voice of a generation.
“Summer’s dance-o-licious high-energy hits are AS IRRESISTIABLE AS EVER. The show instantly draws you in for a warm embrace of nostalgia.” –The Daily News
After the performance, attendees will can enjoy the AFTER PARTY ON THE GO! featuring stops at some of our favorite restaurants downtown and an exclusive after party swag bag!
Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 8:00pm at the newly renovated Playhouse on Rodney Square
Only 500 tickets available for sale!
Tickets: $150 per person
The evening will feature an exclusive VIP drive through tour of the light show, Gala Gift Pack,
and a special Live Stream Concert. Live from Copeland Hall, The Wonderband will play the hits
of Gala Artists Past! Enjoy “live” music from your car or the comfort of your home while
supporting the re-opening of The Grand and the continuation of our community engagement
programming during the pandemic. A portion of all ticket sales is tax deductible.
Gala 2020 Ticket Information
link, Gala Book, exclusive sale to future shows or Gala 2021, 1 Gala Gift Pack, and
certificate for dinner for 2 at partner restaurant (take out or dine in), and an overnight
stay in a premium room at The Westin Riverfront with brunch for two.
link, Gala Book, exclusive sale to future shows or Gala 2021, 1 Gala Gift Pack, certificate
for dinner for 2 at partner restaurant (take out or dine in).
concert link, Gala Book, exclusive sale to future shows or Gala 2021, 1 Gala Gift Pack
Gala Book, certificate for a family dinner at partner restaurant (take out or dine in),
overnight stay in a premium room at The Westin Riverfront with brunch for
2adults/2kids, 2 free kids tickets to a future select show at The Grand/baby grand
All Proceeds Benefit The Grand’s Arts Education Programs!
Beautiful, simply does not describe the incomparable force known to the world as Patti LaBelle. As time continues to evolve, the soulful songbird’s name has become synonymous with grace, style, elegance and class. Belting out classic rhythm and blues renditions, pop standards and spiritual sonnets have created the unique platform of versatility that she is known and revered for.
Thank you for joining us at the 42nd Annual Grand Gala, and supporting Arts Education at both The Grand and The Playhouse on Rodney Square.
With a career that encompasses five Grammys and numerous chart successes, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music. He arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, honing his talents as a studio musician before becoming an integral part of Steely Dan. In the mid 70s he was invited to join the Doobie Brothers, serving as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets”. “It Keeps You Runnin”, “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes”. McDonald’s solo career took off with a string of hits including “I Keep Forgettin’”, “Sweet Freedom”, “On My Own”, and the Grammy-winning duet “Yah Mo B There”. He has also performed with a who’s who of critically acclaimed artists including Patti LaBelle, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Joni Mitchell.
Founder and original drummer Bobby Colomby has assembled a world class roster of contemporary musicians to bring the trademark sound of Blood, Sweat & Tears to the stage of Copeland Hall. With pop phenomenon Bo Bice on vocals, and a multitude of solid gold hits, this was a most memorable Grand Gala performance!
We also paid tribute to Skip Pennella for his eleven years of service as Chairman of the Board of Directors, leading The Grand through a time of great change and progress, and a renewed dedication to community service.
The evening concluded with the Ultimate After Party at the Hotel du Pont. With live music, dancing, open bars, and eclectic fare in every ballroom, it was the perfect finale to the social event of the season.
Thank you for joining us at the 40th Annual Grand Gala, and supporting Arts Education at both The Grand and The Playhouse on Rodney Square.
The 2016 Gala featured The Orchestra, starring former members of ELO, accompanied by members of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
We also paid tribute to Jack and Carla Markell for their dedication to artists and arts organizations throughout the State of Delaware.
As always, the evening concluded with the Ultimate After Party at the Hotel DuPont.
“…the passion for Wilmington and the arts was palpable” ~ Elizabeth C. Speers
Thank you for supporting the 39th Annual Grand Gala, and for helping us to share the passion of the Wilmington arts community.
This year’s gala featured an enchanting performance by Celtic Woman, joined by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
The evening also honored Ellen and Michael Kullman for their service and commitment to Delaware.
And featured a pre-show performance by Arts Academy faculty member Harry Spencer with his saxophone students, in a program supported by the Grand Gala.
Finally the Ultimate After Party at the Hotel du Pont, with food, drink, and dancing until late into the evening.
Thank you to everyone who supported The 38th Annual Grand Gala on Saturday, December 6. This year’s Gala, made possible by Bank of America, featured an electrifying performance by The Fab Faux that had the audience – including First Lady Carla Markell – dancing in the aisles. The evening also celebrated the spirit of volunteerism with the following tribute video, produced by Möbius New Media. The Ultimate After Party, made possible by Capital One, at the Hotel du Pont finished off the night with FAB-ulous flair!
Thank you to everyone who supported the 37th Annual Grand Gala starring Matthew Morrison, made possible by Bank of America, and featuring the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, made possible by Capital One. This year we celebrated arts education at The Grand and YOU – the contributors who make programs like the Arts Academy , Stage of Discovery , Summer Children’s Theater and DanceWorks possible. Please enjoy the following tribute video, produced by Mobius New Media.
The 2013 Grand Gala, one of the philanthropic highlights of Wilmington's social calendar, will feature Emmy nominee Matthew Morrison from Fox TV's
Glee as the featured performer. Morrison will be backed by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and music director David Amado when he performs on Saturday, December 7. The annual event, now in its 37th year, raises money for The Grand's acclaimed educational outreach and other engagement programs.
Morrison, who describes himself as "a song and dance man," has won both popular and critical acclaim for his performance as Will Schuester, the teacher and coach of the high school show choir in Fox TV's hit drama.
Glee. He has been nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor Guild awards for his work in the show, which has sparked a renewed interest in pop choral singing.
Morrison frequently sings on Glee, and his choices are often Broadway showtunes, with good reason. Morrison's stage credentials include playing Link Larkin in the original Broadway production of the musical Hairspray, which led to his casting in the Tony Award-winning musical The Light in the Piazza, for which Morrison himself was nominated as Best Featured Actor. He has also performed in Broadway productions of South Pacific, The Rocky Horror Show, and Footloose.
The multi-talented performer recently recorded an album, Where It All Began, for Adam Levine's 222 record label. Morrison recorded a live concert at Connecticut's Bushnell Center that debuted on PBS this past spring.
Morrison's Grand Gala performance will be supported by the Delaware Symphony Orchestra under the baton of DSO Music Director David Amado.
As usual, we will follow this wonderful evening at The Grand with our signature after-party at the elegant and historic Hotel du Pont, featuring live music, dancing, open bars and gourmet fare in six different rooms!
Governor Jack Markell, Gala Co-Chair and Commander in Chief of the Delaware National Guard, expressed his deepest appreciation to the military on behalf of the grateful citizens of Delaware.
Our Gala performers, Pink Martini, took the stage and led everyone in a rendition of “America the Beautiful” to make the tribute complete. They followed with an exciting and dynamic show that featured special guest and NPR correspondent, Ari Shapiro as vocalist, and included international holiday favorites, Bollywood inspired songs, and classics like “Amado Mio”.
The ultimate after party at Hotel DuPont followed the show where guests dined on gourmet fare and fine desserts. Arts Academy teacher Shaun Doughterty with his jazz trio, The Fabulous Greaseband, Karen Rodriguez Latin Jazz Ensemble, and DJ Jerry Beaven, A.W.E., had everyone dancing into the wee hours of the morning.
Proceeds from the Gala directly benefit arts education programs that serve more than 20,000 children throughout Delaware. DanceWorks!, Stage of Discovery, Arts Academy, and Summer Children’s Theater are a few examples of the opportunities for inspiration and creativity that plant the seeds for the next generation of cultural treasures.
The 35th Annual Grand Gala proved to be one of the most exciting, enchanting, and successful in recent history, honoring not only one of Delaware's most enduring civic figures, but also celebrating the influential sounds of the '60s with a dazzling performance by the Midtown Men.
The 2011 Grand Gala paid tribute to the Honorable Michael N. Castle, Delaware's longest-serving U.S. Representative and former Governor. In addition to a stirring video dedication from some of Delaware's most notable political and community figures, The Grand presented Castle with a loft block from the Aldine Theater, a historic Wilmington venue that once occupied the lot where the baby grand now operates. Essentially a pulley tool for theaters that is situated at the top of a stage, a loft block is known for doing all the heavy lifting during any given production, and is considered the hardest-working piece of equipment on stage. The tool served as a fitting metaphor for the kind of civic service Mike Castle has accomplished on behalf of Delaware during his storied career.
“Grand Gala night is a far cry from my earliest involvement with The Grand, when I recall paying a few cents to see a cowboy double feature,” said Castle. “The Grand has been one of Delaware’s iconic landmarks and greatest cultural treasures since its reopening in 1976. I am deeply touched and humbled to be singled out as this year’s Gala Honoree.”
View the video tribute to Mike Castle below:
Following the tribute, and playing to a packed and eager house, the Midtown Men (the four original stars of Broadway's Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys) offered their harmony-driven take on the legendary music of the '60s, including masterful medley tributes to the Beach Boys and Motown. The debonair group also performed the hits of artists such as The Beatles, The Mamas and The Papas, and the Four Seasons.
The party of the year continued at the Hotel DuPont, where guests enjoyed unique buffet options, interesting cocktails (including Cotton Candy martinis), and performances from artists such as the acclaimed, rapidly-rising jazz singer Champian Fulton.
The Gala is the major source of funding for The Grand’s highly-acclaimed Community Engagement, Stage of Discovery, and Arts Academy at The Grand programs, which annually serve tens of thousands of Delaware students. Proceeds from the Grand Gala make it possible for more than 20,000 children to gain rewarding experiences in the arts through music, dance, instrumental lessons, and theater performances. Local corporate and individual support of The Grand Gala is a vital component to the continued success of these programs.
Rarely is an occasion as momentous as the 34th Annual Grand Gala, which celebrated not only the legacy of fine music and local heroes, but also looked forward to the future of one of Delaware’s finest arts organizations. The Grand Opera House – Market Street’s “Grand Old Lady” – played host to both new and familiar faces on Saturday, December 4th. Though the event was long in the making, it proved to be even lengthier in anticipation, as local dignitaries, community leaders, supporters, and friends awaited the unfolding excitement of the well-named “party of the year.”
The night began intimately in the baby grand, where Grand Gala honoree and local community leader James H. Gilliam Sr. was venerated by The Grand and other Delaware leaders, including Governor Jack Markell, Senator Tom Carper, and newly-elected Senator Chris Coons. As the theater filled with patrons and the stage began to glow , a specially-produced video – which featured an appearance by Vice President Joe Biden – paid tribute to Gilliam, who The News Journal hails as a “longtime philanthropist, civil rights crusader, and New Castle County's first housing director.” To all in the audience, Gilliam’s life work for the betterment of Delaware’s community was made resoundingly clear, and the retired army captain was greeted with a lengthy standing ovation at the video’s conclusion.
The stage was then met by the night’s main performers: legendary English symphonic rock band Procol Harum, the OperaDelaware Chorus, and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Once again, the Grand Gala brought a musical legacy to vivid life: On November 18, 1971, Procol Harum created a seminal moment in pop-rock history by performing with The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Da Camera Singers at Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Widely credited as the first band to bridge the gap between modern pop-rock and the classical music world, the recording of that concert went on to sell millions of albums and opened the door for the marriage of pop music to symphony programs all over the world.
The 34th Grand Gala faithfully created that decisive event to the joy of a captivated audience, culminating in the performance of the British band’s famed #1 1967 hit, “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” The song has been recognized by Phonographic Performance Limited as the most-played record of the past 70 years, and was listed at #57 on Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
“Both The Grand and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra have been seeking to present a joint event of this magnitude for the past few years,” said The Grand’s Executive Director, Steve Bailey. “When you have the region’s best and biggest house band, you naturally want to show them off, and there could be no better vehicle than the re-creation of the music from that legendary concert by Procol Harum and The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.”
“The musicians, board and staff of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra are thrilled to be a part of the Grand Gala this year,” added Lucinda Williams, Executive Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. “Through this collaboration with The Grand and guest artist Procol Harum, our exceptional orchestra musicians had the chance to step out of the ‘classical box’ and show they have the stuff to rock it out!”
Both Williams and Bailey stressed the importance of an ongoing collaboration between The Grand and the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. Bailey states that, “Although many people attend both DSO and Grand-sponsored performances during the course of each season, Lucinda and I thought it would be great to find a show that brings them together for a very special night. Celebrating and supporting the arts, no matter what your particular tastes may be, is what this night was all about.”
The night’s entertainment was not finished with the concert, however. Soon, theatergoers filed out onto a festively-decorated Market Street, making their way to the Hotel du Pont for the Gala’s celebrated after party. There an assortment of food, drink, live performance, dancing, and great conversation awaited them. The Hotel’s elegant Gold Ballroom was the ideal place to mingle and make merry, as favorite local jam band Club Phred played well into the night.
Other entertainment included The Champian Fulton Jazz Trio in the DuBarry Room, the Bobby Kyle Band in the Grille, Dylan Babitch in the Lobby Lounge, sleight-of-hand artist Larry Denburg, and a photo booth provided by the Wilmington Photo Booth Company.
Two highlights to this year’s After Party are the addition of the Hotel DuPont’s exclusive Green Room, which featured exquisite desserts and a breathtaking, ceiling-high Christmas Tree, and a surprise performance by Procol Harum lead singer and pianist Gary Brooker, who joined Club Phred on-stage towards the end of the evening for an encore performance of “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”
“I actually sent Gary [Brooker] an e-mail last week, extending an invitation to him," says Club Phred band leader and Grand board member Fred Dawson to The News Journal. "I told him if he's not worn out from playing 'Whiter Shade of Pale' 90,000 times, he can make it 90,001 because we will be playing that song again.”
The Grand Gala is an annual benefit to support Arts Education at The Grand. Proceeds from the Grand Gala make it possible for more than 20,000 children to participate in individual and group instruction in music and dance, attend live theater performances, and experience the arts. Our patrons' support of the annual Grand Gala is a vital component to the continued success of these programs.
In the embrace of graceful surroundings, joyful music, and their friends and loved ones, it became clear to many patrons that the Grand Gala was about more than just a fun night on the town. It was about celebrating the craft of live performance, the enrichment of a budding artistic culture in Wilmington, and most of all, developing a sense of community for those who aspire to learn about, perform, and cultivate the fine arts. Without a doubt, the 34th Grand Gala honored the legacy of the past and the promise of a brighter future.