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Auburn Sentinel

Gala Salutes Vets Day at Aerospace Museum

Oct 26, 2023 09:43AM ● By Staff Correspondent

A retrospective on the music of Harry James will feature Tony Marvelli on trumpet and Susan Skinner on vocals. The show is part of a 1940s-style Salute to Service at the Aerospace Museum of California. Photo courtesy of Susan Maxwell Skinner


SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Music, fine food and one of Sacramento’s biggest fireworks displays are a build up to Veterans Day at the Aerospace Museum of California. The McClellan Park facility will host a USO-style gala on Friday, November 3.

Its “Salute to Service” fundraiser supports the museum with a 1940s theme. Central to décor, flyable WW II aircraft – a P-38 Lighting, a Navy Corsair and a Ryan ST-A – will be eye-popping backdrops for dancing and photo-ops.

A WW II P-38 Lighting is among iconic aircraft adding to a USO-style Salute to Service event at the Aerospace Museum. Photo courtesy Aerospace Museum of California.

Entertainment includes a tribute show celebrating Harry James, a superstar trumpeter whose big band hits contributed to Allied morale during WWII.

American River College Professor and trumpet virtuoso Tony Marvelli will take center stage. Carmichael-based singer Susan Skinner will contribute vocals made famous by beloved 1940s chanteuse, Helen Forrest. Pianist Joe Gilman, bassist Shelley Denny and drummer Tim Metz complete the quintet known as Hey Day.

Hey Day offers a retrospective on James’ larger-than-life career: the one-time circus musician discovered Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich and Doris Day. He married Betty Grable and indulged a legendary Hollywood lifestyle. “With his music, we revisit a special time in American history,” says museum director/curator Tom Jones. “During tumultuous times, Harry James made America dance, sing and believe in love.”

The museum’s massive hangar will house the celebration. Vintage dress is encouraged; Rosie the Riveter lookalikes will serve cocktails.

Following a site tour, guests will dine, dance and be treated to a massive fireworks display. One of the largest pyrotechnic specialists in the world, Pyro Spectaculars company annually provides this blowout to honor veterans and support the museum. Anyone may view this spectacle from Freedom Park, McClellan.

Gala cost is $150 per person; $275 per couple. Table sponsorships are also available. Admission includes dinner, dancing, wine, beer and signature cocktails and fireworks. The Aerospace Museum of California is located at 3200 Freedom Park Drive, McClellan. For information and ticket purchases visit

Sponsors include: Safe Credit Union, McClellan Park, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, SMUD and Lockheed Martin.