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Gallo center box office set to open

The Gallo Center for the Arts will open its box office doors to the public for the first time Monday as subscriptions for the Modesto Symphony Orchestra's next season go on sale.

The state-of-the-art downtown center remains under construction at 10th and I streets, but the box office at Tenth Street Place will begin taking orders at 10 a.m. via walk-ins,telephone calls and at

The orchestra will be the first group to sell its season subscriptions through the Gallo box office. No single-ticket sales for nonsubscribers will be taken. The Modesto Community Concert Association began selling its season subscriptions last month through its own office.

The orchestra subscription sales come in conjunction with the announcement of the group's 2007-2008 season.

The orchestra again will offer its Classics, Friends & Family, Special Concerts and Fat Classics series. New this year is the Pops Series, featuring lighter, more popular fare inspired by the success of the annual Picnic at the Pops! concert.

Paul Jan Zdunek, orchestra president and chief executive officer, said the new season was created for mass appeal. The lineup was selected with input from its candidates for the position of music director.

"I think it's a fantastic season. Everyone at the table had the same idea, to create a party, festive atmosphere and build concerts that when the audience left the concert hall, they just couldn't wait to come back and hear another one," he said. "We wanted popular favorites and powerhouse music. We have one opportunity this year to capture anyone who is just going to wander in to see the new hall."

Highlights of the classical concert series (from October 2007 through May 2008) include violinist and Itzhak Perlman protégé Kristin Lee, Grammy-nominated string quartet Cuarteto Latinoamericano, sensual violin soloist Lara St. John and acclaimed pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher, who was the subject of the 2007 Oscar-nominated short documentary "Two Hands." Classics series subscriptions will run $90-$390.

The new Pops Series will feature three shows: "Holiday Pops!" on Dec. 7, "Three Phantoms" on March 28, 2008, and Mariachi Cobre on June 6, 2008. Pops Series subscriptions run $96 to $210.

Opportunity for groups

John J. Turchon, Gallo center director of customer services, said the orchestra should expect a big bump in subscribers thanks to excitement about the new center. Already, interest and questions about ticket sales have been "overwhelming," he said.

With the opening of the Gallo center, resident companies — the orchestra, the Modesto Community Concert Association, Townsend Opera Players and Central West Ballet — have an opportunity to draw a new audience, Zdunek said.

When the Modesto Community Concert Association season tickets were announced in The Bee on March 6, all its box seats sold out by 8:30 a.m. The subscriptions sold out entirely March 20.

Turchon said the box office will be staffed by six people as well as the box office manager and himself.

"I truly believe that we're going to be swamped on Monday," he said.

The orchestra season tickets begin the Gallo center box office's rollout of subscription sales for its resident companies.

Townsend Opera Players is expected to begin selling season tickets in two weeks. Then, in mid-May, the center's own schedule of events will go on sale and finally, in late May, Central West Ballet's season subscription will take orders.

The $47.75 million Gallo center has two theaters: the 1,250-seat Mary Stuart Rogers Theater and the 444-seat Foster Family Theater. The center will be open to the public for tours Aug. 18 during the Modesto Art and Wine Festival. Grand-opening festivities are scheduled at the end of September.

"We're on a complete high around here," Zdunek said of the orchestra staff. "It is unbelievable after 77 years of existence, to have this giddy newborn feeling where we are starting over in a way. We're starting a new era."

The Gallo Center for the Arts Box Office, 1020 10th Street Place, will begin selling Modesto Symphony Orchestra 2007-2008 season subscriptions at 10 a.m. Monday. Visit or call 338-2100 or toll free 877-488-3380. The box office is directly across from the Brenden Theatres. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

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