The Audi is hosting its annual gala Sunday

The Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio performs on the main stage at Rock on Fest at White Park in Concord during Concord City Celebration Week on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015.  (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ
The Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio performs on the main stage at Rock on Fest at White Park in Concord during Concord City Celebration Week on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ

It’s been a long summer of anticipation, but the wait is over: the Concord City Auditorium season is about to begin.

And what better way to celebrate than with a party. But this isn’t just any party – this is the 27th annual opening gala and it’s all happening on Sunday. We’re talking food, art and loads of performances. The best part is that it’s all free.

Typically the gala will cost you a modest fee. But as a way to say thank you to the Concord community for funding the seat restoration project, which transformed all 800-plus seats into comfortable spots for your toosh in about six months, admission is free of charge. You’ll still need a ticket to get in, but now you don’t have to spend any money on it – although we’re sure they would accept a donation if you’re so inclined.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. when Arnie’s Place ice cream will be served up – also free – while you take in the arts fair outside in the Audi parking lot.

At 7 p.m., the festivities move inside as the upcoming season is put on display, albeit in an abbreviated form. Over the course of 90 minutes, you will see bits and pieces from upcoming performances in dance, theater and music. Groups will have up to five minutes to leave the gala audience wanting more, and the only way to get it is to see the entire show.

“It’s a fast-paced variety show,” said gala producer David Murdo.

The Community Players of Concord is entering its 90th season and will have a special presentation, as well as put forth snippets from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Children’s Theatre Project’s rendition of The Wizard of Oz. The Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio will represent the Walker Lecture Series, while Concord Dance Academy previews the Holiday Spectacular and NV Productions showcases the Rhythm of the Night.

“It will look like we’ve been working on this for weeks,” Murdo said.

But that’s not the case. The groups only get a short 20-minute session on stage early Sunday afternoon, but there’s no official dress rehearsal.

A Christmas Carol: The Musical Ghost Story returns to the Audi stage this winter thanks to N.H. Theatre Factory. The Concord Coachmen Barbershop Chorus, members of the Concord Community Concert Association and winners of the Miss Capital Area Scholarship Program will all take part. There’s even more than what we just listed, like a special sing-a-long. You’ll just have to go to find out what else is going down at the season opening gala.

“We’re using it as a celebration of thank you,” Murdo said.

Back by popular demand is the gala raffle with 10 mugs filled with show tickets and gift certificates from Concord restaurants. Tickets are $1 and six for $5.

Tickets to the gala are available at Gibson’s Bookstore, the UPS Store, and if there are any left, at the door.

For more info, contact Murdo at 344-4747 or nhdm40@comcast.net.

Author: Tim Goodwin

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