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Leavell tickets set for benefit

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY -- While most of Albany is recovering from Thanksgiving overindulgience or participating in Black Friday madness tomorrow, staff at GraceWay Recovery Residence in Albany will be preparing and mailing out personalized invitations asking sponsors, patrons and friends to support the organization's annual fundraiser.

That event being a Feb. 5 showcase by keyboard magician Chuck Leavell, their task shouldn't be overly difficult.

"What we're trying to do is have GraceWay sell all of the orchestra-level seating (at the Albany Municipal Auditorium) for the show," Development Director Liz Dixon said Tuesday. "We're sending out personal invitations to organizations, past friends of GraceWay and to the beautiful business community that donated items for our silent auction over the last four years.

"We wanted to give them a special opportunity to thank them for their prior years of support."

Famed cook and Albany native Paula Deen has been the featured entertainment for recent GraceWay fundraisers, but this year's event will showcase a musician who made his mark as a member of the Allman Brothers Band and as a part of the last several mammoth Rolling Stones tours.

Leavell, a Georgia tree farmer and author who is also noted for his conservation efforts, has also played with such notable artists as George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Train, Montgomery Gentry, Blues Traveler, the Black Crowes and the Indigo Girls.

The keyboard master agreed to do the benefit for the opportunity to help GraceWay and for the chance to play the famous Steinway piano in the Municipal Auditorium.

Fans who don't get orchestra-level seats for the planned two-hour concert will have an opportunity to purchase wing seats and first- and second-balcony seating from Ticketmaster outlets starting Dec. 15. Wing tickets are priced at $100, while first-balcony seats will sell for $75. Second-balcony seats are priced at $40, with student and military discount seats available for $35.

Dixon said SunTrust Bank and pauladeen.com are the presenting sponsors for the fundraiser.

"Mike Marz at SunTrust got on board very quickly, and while Paula was disappointed that she couldn't be in Albany for the fundraiser this year, she wanted to show that she still supports GraceWay," Dixon said. "We are now looking for sponsors, patrons and friends to get involved."

Participants at the $2,500 sponsor level will receive 10 tickets, admission to a pre-concert reception that will be attended by Leavell, and will be listed in pre-concert ads and an accompanying program. Participants at the $1,500 patron level will receive six seats, reception invitations, and will be listed in ads and the program, while $1,000-level friends of GraceWay will receive four seats and invitations to the reception.

In addition to the pre-show meet-and-greet and the concert, Leavell will be available after the show to sign copies of his CDs and his books, which will be available for purchase.

"The beautiful thing about the timing of the show is that by having the tickets on sale now, they can serve as nice Christmas gifts," Dixon said. "They would also make nice end-of-year employee incentives, as well as early Valentine's gifts.

"There's been a lot of interest in the show generated through word-of-mouth, so we're hoping to make a push to start filling up those seats. GraceWay will be command central for all tickets before Dec. 15, so contact us at (229) 446-4550 to get the best seats."