• What: Richard Burleigh Memorial Scholarship Dance.

• When: Saturday, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)

• Where: Sonora Opera Hall, 250 S. Washington St., downtown Sonora.

• Tickets: $30 advance, $35 at the door.

• Info: tuolumnecountyarts.org

A fundraiser to honor Richard Burleigh — and raise money for a new arts scholarship for local children — will be held Saturday night at the Sonora Opera Hall.

Burleigh, who was one of the Mother Lode’s best-known organizers of music and arts events, passed away last year.

Burleigh’s family and the Tuolumne County Arts Alliance have worked together to create the Richard Burleigh Memorial Scholarship to support local youth arts.

“From the day he moved to Tuolumne County, Richard went to work to help create our local arts council,” said TCAA’s executive director Connie O’Connor. “He was a founding member of our arts advocacy work. With such a deep friendship, everyone at TCAA knew that we needed to help build a lasting tribute to this brilliant producer and artist.”

On Saturday, TCAA and the Burleigh-Grandstaffs will host the first fundraiser for the new scholarship program.

“Richard wanted kids to have every chance to get involved in the arts,” said his wife Corinne Grandstaff. “So, we’re going to help make that dream real.”

The inaugural RBM Dance takes place at the Sonora Opera Hall beginning at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m.

“Our concert celebration will feature two very popular bands,” said Kailee Burleigh. “My dad enjoyed introducing Tuolumne County to great new music and musicians, so we’re bringing out some of the best.”

The featured band for the evening is Painted Mandolin, a northern California group who explores the acoustic side of the Grateful Dead’s legendary Jerry Garcia.

The anchor for this up-and-coming band is freestyle multi-instrumentalist, music educator and sound-poet Joe Craven, a former member of the David Grisman Quintet and Mumbo Gumbo.

“Joe is a flowing river of creativity, community and magical charm,” said longtime arts advocate BZ Smith. “During Strawberry Music Festival you can expect to see Joe invited on stage to add his musical textures to any number of acts. But most important now is this: Richard Burleigh and Joe were dear friends for more than 30 years. It’s no wonder that Joe is an integral part of this Tuolumne County celebration of Burleigh, our very own Rainbow Tie-Dye Hippie Man.”

Rounding out Painted Mandolin will be a host of outstanding musicians, who are mostly based in the Santa Cruz Mountains: guitarist and vocalist Larry Graff, founding member of the Banana Slug String Band; China Cats’ Matt Hartle on banjotar, mandolin, fiddle, bass and percussion; and Roger Sideman, also of China Cats, on bass.

Opening for Painted Mandolin is local band Risky Biscuits, who opened the Fall 2016 Strawberry Music Festival. The eclectic group is renowned for its tight bluegrass, juxtaposed with its own style of break-out jazz.

The six-member group describes their songs as “mountain music from the heart and the trees, creating a state of mind that grows like a virus, infecting the brain of the musically inclined.”

Members of the band include fiddler Austin Broder, Emery Nelson on percussion, Travis Schlafman on banjo, keyboardist Nathan Semprebon, songwriter and guitarman Kiel Williams and bassist Andy Merrill. The latter two are both graduates of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“We all need to remember Burleigh for his work that laid groundwork for our local arts community,” O’Connor said. “He was the driving force behind the Sonora Christmas Craft Fair and Music Festival the Summer Arts and Wine Fest in Twain Harte, as well as the producer of the Blues and Brews Fest, which lasted for 16 years. He produced many festivals and concerts in other northern California communities, and knew every influential contemporary musician on the West Coast.”

Burleigh was born Aug. 20, 1948, in Santa Monica. In his 20s, he worked in banking, stained glass and glass restoration in the Los Angeles area before making his way north. He arrived in the Mother Lode in 1975, and soon after opened Fire on the Mountain Stained Glass Studio in Twain Harte. A few years later that entity morphed into Fire on the Mountain Productions.

Advance tickets to Saturday’s dance are now on sale for $30 at Mountain Bookshop at The Junction, Tradewinds in downtown Sonora or online at tuolumnecountyarts.org. If available, tickets will sell at the door for $35.

During the evening, guests can purchase pizza from Old Skool Pie, and there will be a no-host beer and wine bar.

“We’re grateful to the arts council and Richard’s many friends for helping us,” Grandstaff said. “We share Richard’s vision of strengthening children’s lives through the arts.”

Once the fund is established, Grandstaff and her children hope to help provide access to the arts through scholarships, grants, arts lessons, instrument rental or purchase, and possibly helping to bring guest artists and musicians to the area.

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