Violist Ilona Vukovic-Gay uses the words "bubbly" and "upbeat" to describe Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violas.
On Saturday, she will join six of her Tucson Symphony Orchestra viola colleagues to perform the work. Instead of four violas, they will do it with seven, doubling up on the parts to create what surely will be an emotional yet inspiring tribute to a cancer-stricken colleague.
The performance will come near the end of the 11th annual Music & Memories Concert, an annual event that benefits underinsured artists - musicians, actors and visual artists - battling cancer.
"I think these concerts are wonderful," said Vukovic-Gay. "It's such a community outpouring. They are beautifully run and it gives everyone who might not normally have a chance to express their emotions musically to do it on behalf of a friend."
Music & Memories supports the Academy for Cancer Wellness' Under-Insured Cancer Patients' Endowment Fund and Wellness Grant Funds, created by cancer survivor Alice F. Chang, a licensed clinical psychologist. Chang, who battled breast cancer in 1994, launched the academy in late 1995 to provide a support network for cancer patients labeled as the working poor. They make too much money to be eligible for public assistance and too little money to either have any insurance at all or have enough insurance to cover cancer treatments.
The first Music & Memories Concert benefitted flutist Katherine Kitz-mann, who had no insurance when she was diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed her. Every year since, countless musicians have donated their time for the event.
The Arizona Repertory Singers and classical guitarist Brett Lashley will join a cast of TSO musicians on Saturday for works by Brahms, Vivaldi and Haydn. They are violinists Emma Votapek, and husband and wife David and Wynne Wong Rife; percussionist Dieter Schodde; flutist Deena Reedy; and bassoonists Rebecca Cain and Jessica Campbell.
The TSO violists joining Vukovic-Gay are Ann Weaver, Joseph Pagán, Rebecca McKee, Yvonne Creanga, Gretchen Hall and Sandra Um.
Vukovic-Gay said the group also will play a tango that "will make you want to dance in the aisles."
"It's a very positive musical statement," she said.
If you go
• What: 11th annual Music & Memories Concert.
• Featuring: Tucson Symphony Orchestra musicians and the Arizona Repertory Singers.
• When: 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
• Where: Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.
• Cost: Admission is free, but donations are accepted to benefit the Academy for Cancer Wellness' Under-Insured Cancer Patients' Endowment Fund and Wellness Grant Funds. A silent auction will include sports memorabilia, jewelry, golf accessories and gift certificates.
• Details: cancerhealth.org or call 722-4581.