"Vintage Las Vegas" is the theme of the Jewish Community Center's annual gala fundraiser scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at the JCC, 1125 College Ave.

"Vintage Las Vegas" is the theme of the Jewish Community Center's annual gala fundraiser scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at the JCC, 1125 College Ave.

According to co-chair Marc Dunn, organizers wanted to step away from the decade-based themes of the past couple of years that included a 1980s theme last year and a 1970s theme the year before.

Dunn said during initial planning, discussions gravitated toward a Rat Pack theme. The Rat Pack was comprised of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, actors and musicians who appeared together on stage and in films in the early 1960s.

Organizers thought it would be fun to have Brian Michael Smith and the John Vermeulen Octet perform at the gala. Smith impersonates Sinatra in monthly performances at the Bexley Monk with his trio, and he performs at other central Ohio establishments with the Octet.

"He is just phenomenal," Dunn said. "We will feed him some material about people and the JCC and he can add some of that to his shtick."

Smith, who grew up on Gould Road, was a student at St. Charles Preparatory School when he started performing in musicals and community theater productions, and singing with local jazz bands. He later moved to New York City, where he came close to performing on Broadway, he said.

After 18 years in New York, he and his wife decided to return home to be closer to family. He began performing with the Octet and his trio at the Bexley Monk.

"I work with some wonderful musicians in town," Smith said. "If you come to my house you will find any Sinatra song ever recorded."

Smith said he does a Sinatra-style show called "Frankly Speaking" that features such hits as "Fly Me to the Moon," "Witchcraft" and "Pennies from Heaven."

Smith said his father was a WBNS-10TV news director and got to take albums home, which fostered his love of music as a boy.

Dunn said with Smith and the Octet performing, JCC gala planners are hoping to bring back members of an older generation who didn't enjoy the decade-based themes.

Smith will play for the first half of the evening followed by the band "Conspiracy" for the younger crowd, Dunn said.

Conspiracy performs songs by Earth, Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone, among others.

This year's gala also will have fewer gambling tables, Dunn said. There also will be a martini bar.

The organizers didn't bring back last year's silent auction. Instead, participants can purchase raffle tickets and win gift cards to Polaris Fashion Place, Best Buy, Target or Kroger. Raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100.

Gold patron tickets for the gala are $500 per person. Silver patron tickets are $250, bronze are $175 and junior (guests ages 39 and under) are $125.

Money raised at the gala supports the JCC and its programs, such as the early childhood program, summer camp, fitness activities and the arts.

The JCC is a vibrant organization because of the support of hundreds of people who care about the organization's mission and have a passion for the work done by the JCC, executive director Carol Folkerth said.

"JCC programs and services often are a safety net for our members and the community," she said.