August 2018 Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Photography \/\/ Courtesy of The Center for the Performing Arts This year\u2019s annual Songbook Celebration Gala will feature performer Chris Isaak at the Palladium September 15 while celebrating the Center for the Performing Art\u2019s affiliation with the Great American Songbook Foundation. Five-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein, founder of the Foundation and artistic director at the Center, will lead tributes to this year\u2019s Songbook Hall of Fame inductees: Academy Award-winning composer Jimmy Van Heusen, singer-actress Rosemary Clooney and musical theater star Marilyn Maye. We sat down with Jeff McDermott to discuss the history of the annual gala and the impact that the fundraiser has on the Center\u2019s outreach and education programs. \u201cThis will be our seventh gala, and two of those previous were once two-night events where we would have the dinner portion at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in downtown Indianapolis, and the following evening, we would have the Hall of Fame induction, performances and after-party at the Palladium,\u201d McDermott recalled. \u201cOnce we got the festival floor donated, we were able to have the dinner portion and the entire program all in one night and all in the Palladium.\u201d The funds generated from the annual gala support the Center\u2019s educational programs, such as Peanut Butter & Jam, KAR Front Seat, Artist Outreach, Dance Discovery Series, Musical Images of Indiana, Science of Sound and several other classes that are available to children and the public. The funds allow the Center\u2019s staff to build upon the existing catalog of programs and to expand upon it. Attending the gala is a fun-filled way to support the Center\u2019s initiatives while enjoying a star-studded, elegant black-tie affair with a few hundred of your closest friends and colleagues. \u201cWhen we put in our festival floor, it creates a unique atmosphere within the Palladium that people who don\u2019t attend the gala rarely see,\u201d McDermott shared. \u201cWe can sit hundreds of people for dinner on the festival floor, which rests above the orchestra seats, turning the entire hall into a dinner theater.\u201d McDermott shared a few \u201cfun facts\u201d about this year\u2019s HOF inductees. \u201cWe\u2019ve got a great lineup of inductees this year in our Great American Songbook Hall of Fame, which has become a traditional part of the gala evening,\u201d he said. \u201cJimmy Van Heusen is a songwriter who many may not recognize, but they have certainly heard his songs. He wrote a vast majority of songs that were performed by Frank Sinatra and many others. Rosemary Clooney, the late great performer, will also be inducted. We\u2019ve got a special sentiment for her for a variety of reasons. Rosemary was like a second mother to Michael Feinstein, and her daughter, Maria Ferrer, is a member of the Great American Songbook Foundation\u2019s board of directors. And Marilyn Maye, who is in her early 90s and who performs hundreds of shows a year, will accept her HOF award and will also perform live.\u201d McDermott shared that Maye is believed to hold the record for the most appearances on \u201cThe Tonight Show\u201d with the late Johnny Carson. \u201cWe\u2019ll have Chris Isaak performing as the headliner this year,\u201d McDermott confirmed. \u201cHe follows Kristin Chenoweth who performed last year. It\u2019s kind of a new format that we\u2019ve instituted in the last couple of years. We had Storm Large perform the year before that, and we are constantly coming up with new ways to make the gala new and different by bringing in new headliners every year who add a different dimension to the gala.\u201d The gala attendees will enjoy a live auction with four or five spectacular excursions or \u201cexperiences\u201d to bid on. Following the induction, dinner and performances, attendees who have purchased tickets to the after-party will enjoy several bands, food and beverages throughout the Palladium into the late night hours. \u201cThere\u2019s a sense of excitement that surrounds the evening because there are so many aspects of things going on,\u201d McDermott concluded. \u201cEvery year, we add new touches and surprises, and I can guarantee some surprises for this year.\u201d Under the theme \u201cSwinging on a Star\u201d \u2013 a tune written by Van Heusen and famously performed by Clooney \u2013 the Songbook Celebration begins with the 5 p.m. First Merchants Bank Cocktail Reception and continues with an elegant dinner in the concert hall, live auction, program and after-party. Tickets for the after-dinner portion of the evening are available at the Palladium Box Office, online at TheCenterPresents.org or by phone at 317-843-3800. Starting at $100, the tickets include gallery or box seating for the 8:30 p.m. Songbook Hall of Fame induction ceremony, followed by Isaak\u2019s headline performance as well as admission to the all-inclusive after-party with dancing and complimentary drinks and desserts in three uniquely themed rooms from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tables seating 4-10 guests for the entire evening are available for purchase by emailing Sheila Morone at SongbookGala@TheCenterPresents.org.