Mogollon Health Fund-Raiser A Black-Tie Affair


The premier black-tie affair for 2007 will be the Black and White Ball on Feb. 17.

The gala event features a five-course meal and the big band music of Sonoran Swing. The Mogollon Health Alliance is presenting the formal affair to raise funds for a dialysis center in Payson.


The repertoire performed by Sonoran Swing consists mainly of "big band" music, but also includes some more contemporary sounds, as well as some older jazz tunes. Sonoran Swing is currently made up of 20 musicians and vocalists, as well as several musicians who act as substitutes when needed.

There are at least 30 people in Payson who must travel to the Valley for treatment.

Fred Leslie is one of them.

"Eliminating three days of going down to Scottsdale for dialysis for my husband would mean we would have free time to picnic or visit friends," said Judy Leslie. She and her husband Fred have spent the past 14 months traveling to the Valley three times a week.

To get things rolling, MHA has pledged $30,000 for five years to offset the salaries of dialysis center employees.

The fun begins at 5:30 p.m., when the doors of the bingo hall at Mazatzal Casino will open on a room transformed.

From a simple lineup of tables and chairs where folk expectantly wait for the bingo caller's next number to a room where a delightful meal can be shared and a smooth floor practically begging for couples to twirl around.

Chef Rick DePhilippis of Cedar Ridge Restaurant is preparing a fine dining experience. The entrée of the five-course meal is filet mignon and swordfish.

A .55-carat diamond ring graciously donated by Payson Jewelers, a major sponsor of the ball, will adorn the hand of the one lucky attendee who buys a raffle ticket and wins.

The chance to win the diamond will be the only time dance and conversations will be interrupted -- if such an exciting raffle can be said to be an interruption.

Tables seating eight are $1,200.

"Anyone who buys a table or tickets will have their names noted on a plaque of thanks for helping to sponsor the dialysis center," Judy Baker, MHA's director said.

The person who buys the table may take the centerpiece home if they wish.

There will be a gift for every man and woman at the table.

Those who wish to buy half tables or couples' tickets may call Baker at (928) 472-2588.

Tickets to the Black and White Ball are tax-deductible.

"Sun smilin' at me, nothin' but blue skies ..."

Sonoran Swing will play from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.

"The repertoire performed by Sonoran Swing consists mainly of "big band" music, but also includes some more contemporary charts, as well as some older jazz tunes," said Sonoran Swing's business manager Stan Albert.

As horns take up the unmistakable da da da da-dada of Glenn Miller's "String of Pearls," gentlemen, how will you be able to stop your toes from tapping or offering your hand to a lady, then lead her out smiling to the dance floor?

The band was initially formed in 1991 and is also known as the Motorola Dance Band.

"Sonoran Swing is a dance band composed of people who enjoy making music," Albert said. "All the members donate their time and talents because of their love of music and the enjoyment they derive from playing for an audience."

The 20-member band includes two vocalists, five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, vibraphone and drums.

"Jump, Jive and Wail," "Kansas City," "Blue Skies," "American Patrol," "As Time Goes By" and "How High the Moon" are typical of the band's repertoire of songs made famous over the last six decades.

The younger set may be familiar with "Jump, Jive and Wail" from the Swing resurgence of the late 90s. The Brian Setzer Orchestra recorded the song in 1998, but it was originally composed and performed by trumpeter and bandleader, Louis Prima in 1939.

The simple and haunting "American Patrol" was written in 1885 by F.W. Meacham and revived during World War II by Glenn Miller.

When "Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba" is at the other end of the scale from composer Herman Hupfeld's ever-popular "As Time Goes By," recorded by Rudy Vallee in the summer of 1931. Dooley Wilson played the song 11 years later to Rick and Ilsa in the film "Casablanca."

Jazz great Ella Fitzgerald recorded "How High the Moon" in 1960. Log on to to hear Sonoran Swing's version.

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