The pop of Barefoot Bubbly corks sounded the overture as the Gallo Center for the Arts opened in Modesto, California, in a five-day extravaganza that was kicked off by Patti LuPone and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and ended Tuesday night with a performance by the Joffrey Ballet.
In between, the curtain went up on Los Tigres del Norte, Tony Bennett, Rosanne Cash, and, for the kids, the Cirque-Works Birdhouse Factory.
For center president Marie Gallo, it was the culmination of 10 years of hard work that began when she was asked by the then-mayor of Modesto to chair a task force to look into the need and feasibility for a local arts center that would have joint public and private funding.
The city later dropped out, but surrounding Stanislaus County contributed $15 million, and another $24 million was raised through private funding, including $10 million from E &J Gallo. Marie Gallo is daughter-in-law of the late Julio Gallo and wife of Bob Gallo. Winemaker Gina Gallo, who has frequently appeared in company commercials, is their daughter.
In addition to Gallo-brand Barefoot, Gallo’s Sonoma Series Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were being poured at event celebrations and dinners.
According to Gallo spokesman John Segale, among the other major contributors are Marie Gallo’s friend, Martha Stewart, who could not make it to the opening, and the many agricultural products companies that do business in this major Central Valley farming center.
For more information on the center and future events at its two major performance theaters, go to www.galloarts.org.