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A record crowd of more than 530 guests enjoyed a spectacular night of celebrity dancing in an evening of fun and fundraising at the fifth annual Movers & Shakers Gala, a benefit for Lakeland College and the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, held May 19 at Lakeland.
This star-studded night featured nine well-known local celebrities in a glamorous setting complete with red-carpet glitz and gourmet cuisine. Lakeland's Todd Wehr Center was once again transformed into a beautiful ballroom, including a dance floor framed by wall-to-wall carpeting, a massive lighting setup and huge video screens that put a who's who of Sheboygan County in the spotlight.
The celebrities were each paired with a professional dancer, and after months of training they competed to win the support of four judges and the guests, who were busy buying votes both in the ballroom that evening and online for months leading up to the event.
Each dancer also selected a local charity or nonprofit organization that benefitted from their efforts. Half the proceeds from the votes sold for each dancer are distributed to these special organizations.
Sheri Murphy won top honors for the night as her memorable version of the swing earned her the 2012 Movers & Shakers Gala Champion Trophy. Votes for Murphy, vice president of services and administration at ACUITY, also benefitted the Mead Public Library Foundation and Safe Harbor of Sheboygan.
Barb Quasius' perfect performance of the cha-cha wowed the room and earned her the Judges' Choice Award. This award was presented to the dancer who exhibited the most outstanding technical performance. Quasius' efforts also benefitted the Boys and Girls Club of Sheboygan County and Great Marriages of Sheboygan County. She is chief financial officer of Windway Capital.
The evening was filled with a wide array of performances that brought the audience to its feet several times. Other local celebrities in the Movers & Shakers lineup included:
Mary Amundsen, an Etcetera consultant, representing a clothing line designed out of New York City, performed the swing. Votes for Amundsen also benefitted Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Sheboygan County.
Lisa Brotz, who is employed by Plastics Engineering Co., and also operates LB Photography and works as the creative director and webmaster for Richie Morris Racing, performed a tap routine. Votes for Brotz also benefitted NOURISH.
Joshua Gentine, a business strategist and MBA student, performed the tango. Votes for Gentine also benefitted the Sheboygan and Plymouth Area United Way.
Susan Musgrave, a former piano teacher and director of children's choirs, performed the cha-cha. Votes for Musgrave also benefitted the Vince Lombardi Cancer Center.
Beth Olsen, an active community leader, performed the cha-cha. Votes for Olsen also benefitted St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Plymouth.
Michelle Quasius, an active community volunteer, performed the hustle. Votes for Quasius also benefitted Bookworm Gardens.
John Reitz, owner of Better Life Chiropractic and Wellness of Sheboygan and a wellness doctor with Anytime Fitness, performed the cha-cha. Votes for Reitz also benefitted the Wisconsin Naval Ship Association.
The audience got a preview of the 2013 Movers & Shakers Gala, which will be an All-Star Year featuring a lineup of past Movers & Shakers dancers. The group will include Paula Gentine, Suzie Herold, Kazuko Hirota, Wally Waldhart and Deborah Wente, with more names to come.
The sixth annual Movers & Shakers Gala is set for May 18, 2013.
Saturday evening alternated between celebrity dancing, a multi-course gourmet meal and a number of unique live auction items. Randy Schwoerer, vice president of business development of Locate Staffing, served as host for the evening.
Deborah Wente, chair of the Movers & Shakers organizing committee and a member of the Lakeland College Board of Trustees, said the Gala delivered yet another night of un-paralleled entertainment and community support.
"Our dancers turned in amazing performances and everyone thoroughly enjoyed another memorable evening," Wente said. "We added a couple of new twists this year thanks to our dancers and planning committee members, who always help identify ways to make this a special evening.
"A total of 13 charities and organizations benefitted from the generosity of our dancers and guests. We're proud to have such a positive impact on our community."
The meal was prepared by Lakeland's food service and served by over 100 enthusiastic, hard-working volunteers from Lakeland, the SSO and the community. Guests sat in beautifully-decorated tables surrounding the dance floor.
Major sponsors of the 2012 Gala were the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation and Sargento Foods Inc. Prevea Health and Festival Foods were also sponsors for this year's event.