The Phoenix Symphony
Barrett-Jackson, Phoenix International Raceway and The Phoenix Symphony Combine to Make The Sound of Speed a Success
PHOENIX – The Sound of Speed’s inaugural event was a resounding success as more than 2,100 people joined to celebrated racing, music and cars. Held at Symphony Hall on November 6, 2014, this fundraising event joined The Phoenix Symphony with Barrett-Jackson Auction Company and Phoenix International Raceway to bring together music and racing fans in a way that has never been attempted before.
The evening began with Barrett-Jackson’s Pit Road Street Festival on Third Street next to Symphony Hall. Barrett-Jackson had nearly 30 collector cars on display from its collection and private collections around the valley, worth a combined total of over $100 million. Notable highlights were a 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra, which was on stage for the concert, a 1949 Talbot-Lago, and a rare 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. Music and local food trucks kept the street crowded well into the night.
Tom Wopat, singer and star of The Dukes of Hazzard, was present as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and was reunited with the original General Lee on Pit Road. Owned by PGA athlete Bubba Watson, this 1969 Charger was the first car used on The Dukes of Hazzard and can be seen during the show’s opening credits in its iconic jump. Wopat signed the dash of the General Lee for Watson.
During Pit Road, VIPs gathered in The Phoenix Convention Center Atrium, where they mingled with professional drivers and a 2008 Bugatti Veyron while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Notable drivers in attendance included Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham, Johnny Rutherford, Ben Kennedy, and Billy and Chad Boat. The evening ended with a live auction where, with the help of Hall-of-Fame NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, VIPs bid on unique opportunities with drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmy Johnson and a Barrett-Jackson “Hammer Sold” Experience, as well as a painting by Bill Patterson, which he painted during the concert.
The night’s festivities culminated with a multimedia concert. Rusty Wallace conducted the National Anthem and a salute to veterans before the world premiere of an original score composed by Larry Blank. The Sound of Speed was highlighted by a tribute to cars in movies, commercials and culture; an emotional tribute to fallen NASCAR drivers; and a celebration of Phoenix International Raceway’s 50th Anniversary Season. Tom Wopat and singer Scarlett Rabe contributed their voices to the concert.
There was one last surprise before the night ended. To the delight of NASCAR fans, Ray Evernham presented The Jeff Gordon 1999 No. 24 Race Car immediately after the concert, just hours after it was unveiled in Las Vegas.
Jim Ward, CEO of The Phoenix Symphony, extended his thanks to everyone who made The Sound of Speed possible. “We are so pleased with how this event came together,” he said, “and it would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our chairmen, Nan and C.A. Howlett, Carolyn and Craig Jackson, and Melani and Rob Walton, or the generous support of Barrett-Jackson and Phoenix International Raceway.”
For more information about The Phoenix Symphony visit phoenixwsymphony.org