Diabetes fundraiser was packed with entertainment
What happens when a group of top-notch professional acts, who are volunteering their time and talent, share the stage at Harrah’s with dancers from the Marcia Sarosik Dance Studio for a great cause? The result was a sold-out, standing-room-only event to raise money for Barton Foundation’s Diabetes Fund.
“Everyone who attended knew they were part of a very special and extraordinary moment. Caring and support for this wonderful cause filled the room,” said Loreen Norberg, whose son, Rand, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of 10.
The smooth, soulful singing of professional musician Randy Harwick welcomed everyone and created the perfect setting for the silent auction, as magician John Vietti strolled through the crowd performing sleight of hand card tricks. Eli Kerr served as master of ceremonies for the production which began with a powerful opening number to “I Will Survive,” danced by Lake Tahoe’s Shining Stars and sung by Angie Gooch, who also choreographed the routine. Gooch was diagnosed at age 10 with Type I diabetes. Professional entertainer Chipper Lowell of the “Chipper Lowell Experience” at the Horizon was next. His high- energy comedy and magic had the audience laughing and mesmerized at the same time. Liz Niven and Bob Grant, who have starred in and directed numerous productions, charmed the crowd with the song “Suddenly Seymour” from the musical “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Cy and Cheetah Platt from Lucky Rabbit Productions, kept the audience smiling and gasping with their routine that combined dance, acrobatic stunts and comedy. The younger dancers from the Marcia Sarosik Studio performed a variety of tap and jazz numbers from their recent recitals. Professional ballerina Shannon Roberts of the San Francisco Ballet, who grew up on the South Shore, filled the stage with beauty and grace as she danced to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Professional drummer, Nikki G (Nicole Grant) drummed with trash cans and buckets in a high energy hip-hop number with Lake Tahoe’s Shining Stars.
The song “Strong Enough” brought home the purpose of the evening. A slide show of local children who have diabetes played in the background as Angie Gooch one again sang and Nicole Mora danced. Mora, whose 2-year-old son Kasey was diagnosed with the disease in March and who now requires two insulin shots per day, also has a brother with diabetes and lost her mother to complications from the illness in 2004. Liz Broscoe of Java Djembe and Raw Nature treated the crowd to fast complex rhythms on her African drum. Magician Eli Kerr, who usually performs on a big stage with great illusions, fascinated the audience with his magic tailored for this event. Tappers Bubba Romagnolo and Evan Sarosik, who starred in the high school’s production “Singin’ in the Rain” performed their award-winning “Moses Supposes”.
A hush came over the crowd as dancer Jayme Lowe came out with a special dedication to the Mora family and families of children with diabetes. Jayme danced as her voice was heard in a letter to 2-year-old Kasey. In the letter Lowe talks about the first time she witnessed the young boy receiving an insulin injection. She described the anguish she saw on Kasey’s mom’s face as Nicole dealt with the difficult task of having to inflict the pain of an injection to keep her son well. Lowe talked about Kasey holding her hand tight and asked him always to be strong. As Jayme’s powerful words and dancing moved the audience, a video of Kasey played. Cascade Lueder, a fellow dancer who is also very close to Kasey, produced the video.
The evening concluded with a special appearance by the “Blues Brothers,” Lake Tahoe’s Shining Stars’ dancing dads. This entertaining group of fathers also took up a collection and made a special donation to the diabetes fund.
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe generously hosted the event. Local businesses donated a variety of silent auction items and local service clubs including the Optimists, Rotary, Kiwanis, the Chambers of Commerce and Soroptimists gave their support by donating and participating in the event.
The proceeds of the event will be used to send children with diabetes to special camps where they learn how to deal with their illness and to other diabetes related support.
“This was an outstanding evening. Watching the professionals and the local dancers give their heart and soul to this cause was truly something special and speaks volumes about the character of all who performed and participated,” said Mary Burns, school nurse for Lake Tahoe Unified School District, who works with students with diabetes.