The ninth annual Sweetheart Gala big band dinner dance fundraiser for Park City High School bands will be held on Friday, Feb. 8, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1505 White Pine Canyon Road, sponsored by the Park City Education Foundation.

Doors for the event will open at 6 p.m., with dinner service beginning at 6:30 p.m., accompanied by a jazz combo. The gala features the PCHS Varsity Jazz Ensemble playing very danceable music from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. There will be opportunity drawings and a silent auction during the evening.

The gala has become a Park City Valentine's Day tradition while providing support to the incredibly active PCHS band program.

Part of the fun of the Sweetheart Gala is that it is a true community dance, where high school students try to keep up with veterans who have been dancing to the big band sound for decades.

According to Park City High School director of jazz studies Chris Taylor, the music ranges "from swing hits of the early big band era to contemporary big band charts." Varsity Jazz is the top jazz band of three levels in the eighth to twelfth grades. Its members sacrifice a lot of sleep in favor of daily "zero hour" rehearsals beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Every band student, as well as many parents, work on the Sweetheart Gala in some capacity, and all profits from the event benefit the outstanding PCHS Bands, including Treasure Mountain Jr. High.

Money is used to replace broken cases; purchase instruments and uniforms; build the music library; and help defray expenses the bands incur when traveling for national competition, such as the Boston tour planned for April.

A limited number of Sweetheart Gala tickets are still available at $60 per person at premium tables (adjacent to the dance floor) or $50 for all others. To purchase tickets contact Michelle Ascherl at (435) 602-9547.

For further information on the Sweetheart Gala or to make a donation, please contact Lyn Eckels at (435) 655-5457 or Nancy Taylor at (307) 761-4184.