BY LISA PERKINS
TRAVERSE CITY — The "Music of Motown" will fill the room when the 28th annual Gladhander welcomes rhythm and blues great Thornetta Davis on stage.
For the first time in the history of the fundraiser that benefits Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools, live music will be part of the evening of entertainment.
"We thought it would be really nice to have musical entertainment, keeping the event fresh, so we made the theme about music," said Carla Nickodemus, a member of the planning committee.
The 28th annual Gladhander Auction, with the "Music of Motown" theme, will be held Saturday, Oct. 30.
"The 'Music of Motown' theme is the perfect conduit for bringing a talent like Ms. Davis to the Gladhander stage. I am confident the crowd will be hopping like never before," said Peter Schmitz, co-chair of the fundraiser that has raised more than $8.3 million to benefit the students of the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools since it began.
Davis, a singer and songwriter, has been a dominant presence on the Motown music scene since 1987, opening for rhythm and blues greats including Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson. Her music has been used in commercials and on television shows like "The Sopranos."
"We are really lucky to get Ms. Davis to perform," said Nickodemus, a longtime fan of the member of the Detroit Music Hall of Fame.
In addition to the song stylings of Ms. Davis, attendees will enjoy a lavishly decorated venue honoring the sound of Motown with music's greatest artists of rhythm and blues, soul, hip-hop and pop.
Volunteers spend countless hours creating the intricate decorations, catering the gourmet meal and soliciting items to auction.
Preview night, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, gives the community a chance to take in the transformation of St. Francis High School and Holy Angels Elementary School into the Motown-themed venue. The preview event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Tickets for the main event are $150 each in advance only. For more information, call the Gladhander office at 941-GLAD.