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Gala Countdown: 11 Days

Townsend Opera Players, a 25-year-old Modesto company, breaks in the center's Foster Family Theater today with its season-opening gala concert. The 2 p.m. performance will feature about 45 singers, plus an orchestra. The company will stage scenes from its upcoming shows "Die Fledermaus," "Porgy & Bess" and "Miss Saigon" and will perform favorite songs from a variety of operas and musicals. Tickets are $30 to $35.

The Gallo Center for the Arts, at 10th and I streets in Modesto, will hold its grand opening gala Sept. 27. The center has two theaters: the 1,252-seat Mary Stuart Rogers Theater and the 444-seat Foster Family Theater. www.galloarts.org, 338-2100.

Police looking for a few good citizens

Modesto police will start another session of Citizens Academy on Oct. 18. The academy is free and available for people ages 14 and older. The classes will be held Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Modesto Police Department, 600 10th St.

The eight-week academy is designed to inform the community about how the department deals with issues such as gangs, drugs, crime scene investigation, identity theft, vehicle pursuits and family violence. Participants will have opportunities to see demonstrations from the K-9 unit and the Special Weapons and Tactics team, along with participating in shooting and driving simulations. Only the first 50 applicants will be accepted. Applications can be picked up at department headquarters or online at www.modestopolice.com. For more information, call Jack Smith at the Modesto Police Department at 342-9140.

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