The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation will feature "Keys to the Future" at the annual Gahanna Gala set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Center of Science and Industry, 333 W. Broad St., Columbus.

Sharon Tomko, the foundation's president, said COSI was selected as the event's site this year because it has a large enough space for about 400 guests and enough room for the 400-plus silent auction items.

"We thought it would be an exciting change to go to downtown Columbus for the gala," she said. "The Gahanna Gala is the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation's one big fundraising event."

Tomko said proceeds help fund grants that support teachers' efforts to inspire and innovate in the classroom.

This year's fund-a-need project will assist Gahanna Lincoln High School's robotics program, she said.

The gala's entertainment will be a dueling pianos duo, Piano Maniacs, with Andrew Paczak, parent of two Blacklick Elementary School students, and Todd Cutshaw of Warren.

Paczak, the main piano player, said he has been called "the Human Jukebox," because of his vast repertoire of music that entertains audiences of all ages.

He attended the All Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Virginia, where he received the distinction of honor graduate.

He then was stationed at Parris Island, South Carolina, where he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps band as the trumpet-section leader. It was during this time that he learned to play guitar and piano.

Paczak said his song list spans from the 1620s to 2020 and includes almost every genre.

Cutshaw, who has a master's degree from the Dana School of Music in piano performance, makes his living playing and singing in a different city almost every week. He performs sing-alongs at local retirement communities, clubs and restaurants.

In keeping with the theme of gala, Tomko said, guests should dress in ebony and ivory, casual attire.

Tricia Twigg, coordinator of community relations for the foundation, said the online auction will open at 5 p.m. Feb. 27. To view items, go to gjef.org.

Tomko said live-auction items would include:

* Celebrate in Style: Three hours of piano music by Paczak, with Barrel & Boar donating food for 30 people.

* Unique Opportunity: Extremely rare bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23.

* Mid-Ohio Race Fans: Tickets to either the IndyCar Series race or International Motor Sports Association race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. A behind-the-scenes tour with Lincoln graduate Michael Shank, race car team owner and former race car driver.

The gala also will include a catered buffet dinner and desserts donated by local restaurants.

Individual tickets costs $75. Corporate sponsorship, group tables and single tickets are still available through gjef.org.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla