A record crowd of more than 650 people gathered for Lakeland College's ninth annual Movers & Shakers Gala on May 14 for a spectacular evening of dancing, multi-course gourmet food, fellowship and philanthropic fundraising.
This year's event, which benefited Lakeland College, marked the return of dancing as eight community leaders and their professional partners were showcased.
The Rev. Matthew Widder, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus and St. Clement parishes, won the Movers & Shakers Gala championship, which goes to the dancer with a combination of the best judges' scores and the most purchased votes. Widder, the last dancer of the night, performed a Texas two-step routine. Widder was sponsored by Friends of Father Matthew Widder.
As a result of Widder's victory, his charity of choice, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Sheboygan, will be the 2017 partner charity and receive $10,000.
The 2017 Movers & Shakers Gala, the 10th anniversary of the event, is set for May 20.
Winning the “Judges' Choice” award was Brooke Van Asten, a territory director at ACUITY, who danced a swing routine. Van Asten was sponsored by ACUITY.
Lakeland's Todd Wehr Center was transformed into a majestic ballroom, which included an elegant dance floor framed by wall-to-wall carpeting, professional lighting and multiple large video screens.
In its previous eight years, Movers & Shakers raised more than $3 million, including a four-year total of $263,500, for more than 30 nonprofit organizations.
All 2016 Gala proceeds will support student scholarships.
Major sponsors of this year's Gala were the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation; Sargento Foods, Inc.; Festival Foods; Studio Gear Technology; Zimmermann Printing; and Canopies Events with Distinction. Additional work was provided by Khrome, Blue Moon Studios and Salon Sasé.
The other 2016 dancers included:
- Sara Brotz, who works in research and development at Plastics Engineering Company, danced a cha-cha and hustle medley routine. Brotz was sponsored by Plastics Engineering Company.
- Dr. Carolyn Baxter, a board-certified psychiatrist for Prevea, danced an East Coast Swing routine. Baxter was sponsored by Prevea.
- Barbara Gannon, vice president of corporate communication at Sargento Foods, Inc. and chairperson of the Lakeland Board of Trustees, danced a rumba/cha-cha medley. Gannon was sponsored by Sargento Foods.
- Lola Roeh, general manager of The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake and a Lakeland graduate, danced a Latin routine. Roeh was sponsored Wisconsin Bank and Trust.
- Anne Schroeder, founder of Aprivé, danced a swing routine. Schroeder was sponsored by the Grover Family Foundation.
- Justin Webb, owner of Sun Graphics and founder of the BevCarts app, danced a hip-hop routine. Webb was sponsored by Sun Graphics and BevCarts.
Complete biographies of each dancer are available on the Movers & Shakers website, http://moversandshakersgala.org.
Each celebrity was paired with a professional dancer, and they spent months of training as they competed to win the support of three judges and the sell-out crowd.
Emcees for the evening were Mike Langan and Ike Dyksterhouse. Judges were Sandi Vasatka, Nellie Schmitt and Jenna Roeske.
Photos from this year's event are the Movers & Shakers Gala Facebook page: http://moversandshakersgala.org/facebook.