Here’s what you can look forward to at the annual Gulf Coast Gala

Published 12:28 am Friday, April 21, 2023

A tribute to the voice of a generation, Neil Diamond, highlights the 19th annual Gulf Coast Gala April 29.

Matt Vee and the Killer Vees celebrate Diamond’s impact on popular music with a show entitled “I am … He said,” referencing his Top 10 hit from 1971 “I am … I said.”

The event begins with a cash bar at 6 p.m. and includes a seated dinner prior to the entertainment. The event takes place at the Carl Parker Center, located at 1800 Procter St. in Port Arthur. This is a black-tie event.

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The annual gala benefits the efforts of the Port Arthur Higher Education Foundation and Museum of the Gulf Coast.

“The Gulf Coast Gala always presents a great night of entertainment each spring but to be able to honor a performer as accomplished as Neil Diamond is a real treat,” Foundation president Dr. Sam Monroe said.

“Those in attendance for this concert are in for a great night of songs they’ll know all the words to.”

The Port Arthur Higher Education Foundation and the Museum of the Gulf Coast serve the entire region and are in need of support now more than ever, Dr. Monroe said.

The programs supported by the Foundation and the Museum enhance career potential, broaden intellectual horizons and enrich quality of life.

Various levels of sponsorships are available to help the efforts of the Foundation and the Museum.

Sponsorships are priced at the Benefactor level for $10,000, Grand Patron $5,000, Patron $2,500 and Friend $1,200. Individual tickets to access the virtual event are available for $150.

Patrons are asked to RSVP by email at For sponsorships, tickets, or information, call 409-999-6281.

“We are saying what HE said,” laughs Matt Vee, referring to the one and only Neil Diamond. Matt, along with cousins Jeff and Tommy Vee, local music scene veterans and sons of the legendary Bobby Vee, join forces with their family and friends as The Killer Vees to celebrate the music from a timeless catalog. With songs like “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “America,” and “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond sold over 100 million records worldwide with music that became the soundtrack to one generation after another with hits spanning five decades.

As a Tin Pan Alley songwriter in the mid-60s, he penned songs recorded by everyone from Elvis Presley to Deep Purple and, of course, the Monkee’s classic, “I’m A Believer.”

Joining the Killer Vees will be Matt’s wife Julie Velline on vocals and Tommy Vee’s son Bennett Vee on lead guitar. Also taking part are veteran Minnesota musicians Mark Levandowski, Dennis Kennedy, and dr. Frank Plachecki. There will be a special surprise feature a local talent for the finale.