Each year, the University Musical Society’s Education and Community Engagement Program offers thousands of kids the opportunity to attend free and low-cost performances and activities during UMS’s season.

On the Road with UMS

Tonight at 6 p.m.
Hill Auditorium
From $100

“If you’ve never had an opportunity to see these kids at these concerts, they are literally bouncing,” said Audrey Schwimmer, one of the volunteers for UMS. “People say you are using that in a flippant way, but they are literally bouncing. There is nothing like it. You’re smiling from ear to ear, and they are so excited.”

Schwimmer volunteered this year to be the Event Chair of the University Musical Society’s yearly benefit dinner and auction, which takes place tonight at Hill Auditorium in conjunction with the celebration of Hill’s 100th Anniversary.

In 2011 the event raised nearly $100,000 through ticket sales and a live auction. The funds were enough to give almost 20,000 students the chance to attend UMS performances.

The event, called “On the Road with UMS,” is more than simply writing a check for charity. Taking place at a variety of locations over the years (hence “On the Road”), the event provides its donors a range of artistic serenades and exotic cuisine.

“It’s fun to be able to go out and have a great evening and do this as well,” Schwimmer said.

This year, ‘U’ a cappella group The Friars will be welcoming the guests with song. During a strolling supper, guests can mingle with costumed actors from Shakespeare in the Arb. Prizes offered in the live auction, include a trip to Costa Rica, a dinner for ten provided by Pacific Rim’s Chef Duc and even the opportunity to be a Top Gun fighter pilot for a day.

In addition to the festivities, the celebration of Hill’s centennial anniversary adds another flavor to the events. Guests can enter a video booth and reminisce on their favorite shows and moments they have had at Hill. Another special opportunity lets patrons see the auditorium’s pipe organ rise from below the stage as Steven Warner plays an instrument rarely heard due to the difficulty of its maintenance.

For the end of the night, Schwimmer and the committee members of “On the Road” have concocted a singular experience at Hill.

“After the live auction, we’re going to be having a piano bar up on stage,” Schwimmer said. “People will be invited to sing with their friends whatever song is their favorite and be able to sing from that special view. You’re standing on stage, looking out to the auditorium, and we thought that that was the perfect way to end the evening.”

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