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"Viva la Musica!," a running festival and "Wig Out!" mark NWA calendar

event preview by Brittany Ransom
bransom@thecitywire.com

April is off to a busy start in Northwest Arkansas, as the region is set to host "Viva la Musica!," the Bentonville Running Festival, the Washington Regional Gala, "Wig Out!," and the annual Sunshine Gala in the coming weeks.

• "Viva la Musica!"
The Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra will close out its 2014 season with the presentation of "Viva la Musica!," a celebration of the Americas, on April 5.

The concert will feature the music of North, South and Central America and include a performance by renowned violinist Natasha Korsakova. Korsakova will play "Estaciones Porteñas," also known as "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires,"  a set of four tango compositions written by Argentine composer Ástor Piazzolla.

The concert will be held at the Arend Art Center in Bentonville beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $5 to $25 and can be purchased online. Special discounts are available for students.

• Bentonville Running Festival
The city of Bentonville will welcome runners of all ages and skills levels as it hosts the 4th annual Bentonville Running Festival on April 5. Events will include a Half Marathon, 5K, and Fun Run, as well as a Runner's Expo, Pasta Party and Post Race Celebrations.

Festivities will get underway on Friday (April 4) with the Runners Expo and Pasta Party. The expo and packet pick-up station will open at 10 a.m. at Bentonville High School's Athletic Complex Multi-Purpose Facility. Vendors featuring running gear, equipment, and information will be stationed throughout the complex.

The Pasta Party will begin at 6 p.m. and will feature guest speaker, Joan Benoit Samuelson. Samuelson was the first woman ever to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the marathon distance, which she did at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She also won the Boston Marathon twice and set an American record time in the 1985 Chicago Marathon.

Saturday morning will kick off in the Bentonville Square with the Half marathon and 5k at 7 a.m., followed by the fun-run at 7:15 a.m. Finisher medals and commemorative tech tees will be awarded to all half marathon participants, while all 5K and fun run participants will receive festival t-shirts.

Post Race Festivities will include food, games, inflatable bounce arounds, live music and much more on the Bentonville Square. Awards will be presented on the Main Stage starting at 11:30 a.m.

Registration for the various events ranges from $15 to $60. Participants can sign-up online. Proceeds from the festival will support local charities, including the Mercy Health Foundation of Northwest Arkansas, the Bentonville Rotary Club, and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County.

• Washington Regional Gala and Eagle Awards
Washington Regional Medical Center will host “An Evening of Arkansas Country Music” as it celebrates its 21st annual Gala and Eagle Awards on April 8 at the Walton Arts Center.

Headlining the evening will be Rogers native and country music star, Joe Nichols. With more than a dozen Top 40 hits to his credit, Nichols is among Nashville's most popular artists today.  Special guest Backroad Anthem will also perform.

Two Eagle Award recipients will be formally recognized during the awards ceremony, including Kathy Grisham of Community Clinic and Faith in Action NWA. Established in 1994, the Eagle Award for Outstanding Health Leadership is given to individuals or organizations that make outstanding contributions to the improvement of healthcare in Northwest Arkansas.

Tickets and event sponsorship opportunities are available. Proceeds from the gala will benefit an innovative endovascular neurosurgical hybrid operating suite at Washington Regional Medical Center. For more information, call 479-444-9888.

• Wig Out to Defeat Ovarian Cancer
The second annual "Wig Out" to Defeat Ovarian Cancer will be held April 12. Wig Out was founded by Jo Ann Johnson, in honor of her daughter Kristen J. Madsen, who lost her battle to ovarian cancer in 2009.

The benefit, which will include heavy hors d'oeuvres and live music, will be held at the Highlands Oncology Group, located at 808 S. 52nd St. in Rogers, starting at 6 p.m. A number of items will also be up for bid in the live and silent auctions.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online. Proceeds from the event will be used to support ovarian cancer research and patient support services at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. For more information, call 479-409-5394.

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• NWA Sunshine School Gala
The Northwest Arkansas Sunshine School will host its annual Sunshine Gala on April 12. The evening will include dinner, auctions, live music and casino style gaming.

The gala will be held at Horton Farms, located at 15799 Bethlehem Road in Gravette, beginning at 6 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided by Jamie Wolfe and the Wranglers.

Tickets are $100, with tables starting at $1,000. Sponsorships opportunities are also available. All proceeds support the Sunshine School and Development Center which serves individuals with special needs.

For more information, call 479-636-3190, ext. 117.

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