The Movers & Shakers Gala at Lakeland College is back, but it's like nothing you have seen before.
The eighth annual Movers & Shakers Gala, set for Saturday, May 16, at Lakeland College, introduces an entirely new format, and will help create new scholarships to help nine local high school students pay for their postsecondary education.
In previous years, Sheboygan County "celebrities" showed off their best dance moves to raise money for local charities and nonprofit organizations. This year, nine acts—from live music to speed painting to literature reading—will show off some of the talent in Sheboygan County.
"We can't wait to unveil what we have planned for this year," said Deborah Wente, a member of the Lakeland Board of Trustees and the chair of the Movers & Shakers organizing committee. "Our planning committee has created a night that offers a new experience that's sure to surprise our returning supporters and impress any new guests.
"The community support and volunteer interest for Movers & Shakers continues to be strong. We have a large group of local companies and guests who give financially to make this evening successful."
New this year, each act sponsor has partnered with Lakeland College to create a $5,000 college scholarship for nine local high school seniors. Students can attend any accredited college or university with the award, but if they attend Lakeland, the scholarship will increase to $10,000. Scholarship winners will be announced the night of the event.
Guests this year will see Lakeland's Todd Wehr Center transformed into a performance venue with three stages, a dance floor, a massive lighting setup and huge video screens to spotlight the evening's entertainment.
In its previous seven years, Movers & Shakers has raised more than $1.6 million.
Major sponsors of this year's Gala are the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation (dinner sponsor), Sargento Foods Inc. (reception sponsor), Prevea Health and Studio Gear Technology (technology sponsors). Additional event sponsors include Zimmermann Printing and Canopies Events with Distinction.
The 2015 lineup includes:
- A Shadow Dance will be choreographed and performed by the nationally acclaimed Dollhouse Dance Factory. This act features illuminated dancers casting artistic, rhythmic shadows from behind a screen. This act is sponsored by the Grover Family Foundation and a scholarship will go to a Sheboygan South High School student.
- Members of the Van Horn Automotive Group will perform a group glow dance in the dark, wearing special, colorful battery-operated costumes that will light up the room. This dazzling routine features creative choreography and eye-catching effects. This act is sponsored by The Van Horn Automotive Group and a scholarship will go to a Sheboygan County Christian High School student.
- Liesl Testwuide, publisher of the globally popular website "Hairpin Turns Ahead," will read one of her favorite pieces from her collection of stories that navigate life's twist, turns and inevitable changes. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, the U.K.'s Daily Mail, The Huffington Post and Germany's Bild. She is sponsored by Festival Foods and a scholarship will go to a Sheboygan North High School student.
- Playing popular music to groove to, Freewheel is a local band made up of brothers who play a wide selection of tunes from the 1990s to current hits. Comprised of Andrew, Daniel, Benjamin and Patrick Feldmann, Freewheel won a company-wide talent contest at Sargento Foods for the opportunity to perform at this year's Gala. The group is sponsored by Sargento Foods Inc. and a scholarship will go to a Plymouth High School student.
- Dynamic, award-winning artist Jason Prigge offers a high-energy demonstration on how to create a work of art at a masterfully fast pace in a style called speed painting. Prigge, who owns a studio in Manitowoc, will paint a colorful, intricate portrait (the subject will remain a surprise until the show) on a large canvas in less than the time it takes for the song he'll play to finish. He is sponsored by Legend Larry's and a scholarship will go to a Sheboygan North High School student.
- Lakeland College student Leo Liu joins forces with established local blues musicians to form The Hot Shots, a fresh and funky fusion of old-school and new-school blues. Liu, who studies electric guitar at Lakeland with Water Street Hot Shots' Michael Lee Ammons, hails from China, but has always loved American blues and jazz music. Joining Liu and Ammons are bassist Alan Mock and drummer Steve Irby. They are sponsored by the Zieve Family Foundation and a scholarship will go to an Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School student.
- Dr. Toby Watson, a self-taught pianist, will get the evening off to a rousing start by delivering a performance created especially for the Gala. He is sponsored by Ansay & Associates and a scholarship will go to a Living Word Lutheran High School student.
- Sheboygan North High School's renowned student drumline has been wowing fans for years at local basketball games. The drumline has created a routine exclusively for the Movers & Shakers Gala, an unconventional performance sure to surprise even their biggest fans. The group is sponsored by Wells Fargo and a scholarship will go to a Sheboygan North High School student.
- Well-known funny couple Andi and Ben Igowsky are pulling out all the stops in an original musical comedy performance. Andi is a pediatric dentist with a stellar voice and Ben is in sales. Their combined personalities bring a one-two punch of true talent and natural wit. They are sponsored by Snap-On Tools and a scholarship will go to a Howards Grove High School student.
Biographies of each act are available on the Movers & Shakers website, http://moversandshakersgala.org.
A limited number of tickets are available and can be purchased online at the Movers & Shakers website or by contacting Kym Leibham, Lakeland's alumni & community engagement officer, at or 920-565-1023, ext. 2155.
You don't have to attend the event to help support the scholarships. Anyone can purchase votes, at $20 each, for their favorite act prior to the event at the Movers & Shakers website. The high school supported by the evening's winning act will receive 50 percent of the proceeds raised from the votes they receive, so vote early and often.
Judges for the evening include Sebastian Schmidt, Wally Waldhart, Amee Salzwedel and Sandi Vasatka.
A pre-event reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6:45 by seating for dinner, which features a mouthwatering menu prepared by Lakeland's Dining Services staff.
Following the competition, the dance floor will be open to all guests and The Pink Flamingos will provide music for the remainder of the evening.
You can also be part of the pre-event buzz by joining our entertainers, committee members, guests and volunteers on Facebook at http://moversandshakersgala.org/facebook. "Like" the event page for regular updates.
If you want to get behind the scenes and help make this evening possible, a number of volunteer opportunities are open to the community. More information is available at http://moversandshakersgala.org/volunteer.