Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
Emmaus, Inc. gala “Stepping Out with the Valley Stars” poses a problem for The Heartbeat of Haverhill. We just love this event – on a personal, spiritual, community service level it speaks to us. Who doesn’t love an organization that is at the forefront of finding permanent homes (not just shelter nights) for our most disadvantaged people and finds a way to support it with a show worthy of viewing on its own merits? Emmaus placed families in 27,000 homes over the last 30 years. Thats over 1,000 homes a year in our region. Learn about Emmaus
So what’s the problem you might ask….we really get into the event…they’re doing a 50/50 raffle – get me my beads, gotta get into that, awesome raffle prizes we’re in, silent auction items – sure…. cash bar – sure …ummm wait a minute we want to spend our cash on Emmaus support, we can drink water. No matter how much cash we bring to the event, we gladly go home without.
THOH admits to having watched EVERY SINGLE season of “Dancing with the Stars”, so we have an understanding of what the contestants go through just to perform one dance, but they have weeks to rehearse before their opening number, and from a variety of sources we hear that is definitely not the case with the Merrimack Valley stars. This Heartbeat gets very caught up in the emotions of the whole event. From the contestants really rooting for their opponents to do super well, from the people who support the event…let’s just say right here – Haverhill’s Renaissance events and private golf club ballroom is gorgeous, the instructors work absolute miracles with all levels of abilities, and the contenders – well they put themselves out there with a chance of looking a bit foolish, despite crazy schedules because they believe in Emmaus, too.
And the committee that puts the whole thing together is flawless. I got an email at 9pm the night before the event from Margot Regan, Events/Marketing and Communications Manager, providing assistance in locating two tickets to the show that was sold out a month ago. She banked on the possibility that someone would have a conflict at the last minute and she was right. Phew! But feeling bad that anyone missed the extravaganza. The sponsors, donors, and contributors are in the hundreds. Jeanine T. Murphy Executive Director of Emmaus, Ron Carpenito DJ and Master of Ceremonies.
And then there are the judges – charged with being witty, knowledgeable about dance and holding the hopes of every contestant in their hands. The same contestants that might be coming into their store or office in the next day or two, the same contestants that dropped everything to help out Emmaus. Talk about a balancing act. The judges are awesome.L-R with 10s Erin Kaya Owner Aurora Ballroom, Tim Jordan Last year’s hip hop contestant and principal Jordan Financial Services, Peter Carbone Last year’s contestant and Owner EZ Way Cleaners, Gretchen Arntz Director of Philanthropy Emmaus, Inc.
Before the dancing began there were nerves, camaraderie, hilarity, awesome food, and time to thoroughly review the hundreds of fabulous opportunities to win.
Taking on the nerve wracking first dance of the evening was president of Northern Essex Community College and very smooth, and elegant dancer Lane Glenn. Lane partnered with the stunning Angie Egea while his family sat front and center cheering him on while surely noting his superb arm placement.
Followed by our very favorite State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives whose radiant smile conveyed the absolute enjoyment she reaped from participating. Katie danced the bachata with last year’s winning professional G Rossignol. She brought an elegance to her sultry dance.
Next up, lawyer, banker and whole hearted community advocate, Sue LaGree. Sue demonstrated amazing grace under pressure through a wardrobe malfunction that never interfered with her sassy dance. Sassy and suave are the two words that came to mind watching Sue and her partner Victor Perez take over the dance floor. One thing that Sue’s dancing conveyed was an intense connection to and trust of her partner, Victor.They just looked right together as they danced.
And then the crowds and contestants were treated to something that surprised and amazed them even more than the unexpected winter storm barreling into New England
Hurricane Dianne Connolly the Principal of Pentucket Lake Middle School, charged onto the dance floor pulling bribes from her bustier and shaking like a Polaroid picture while poised atop the most amazing Burju Shoes. Dianne excelled in getting the crowd and the judges all worked up.
Following Dianne could have been tough for the average competitor but for the managing director of the Greater Haverhill Foundation for whom playing to win is the only option, he just upped his game. He and his partner Angie combined exceptional dancing and theatricality and just beamed that good vibe spirit. Plus as evidenced by these photos, his timing was spot on!
When you’re the last to hit the floor, you’ve seen the competition, you know how good all the routines are, but you use that energy to push you onto greater heights as did Andy Vargas, the youngest elected City Councilor in Haverhill. Dancing with Burju Perez (who also was the Elite Sponsor & Creative Director for the event) the two knocked it out of the park, earning the highest judges scores with their hip hop routine. Despite the fact Andy couldn’t see anything through his for-style-only sunglasses.
While the votes of the guests were being tallied the audience was treated to emotionally charged performances by professionals Kayla Waldron and her colleagues Michael Annan-LaMalfa, Daniel Lapierre, and Shelby Binette that The Heartbeat of Haverhill did not capture as there was a camera malfunction. Said camera managed to get its act in gear to watch a repeat performance from last year’s winning team G Rossignol and State Rep Diana DiZoglio. How is it possible that a year without practice has gone by and yet their routine is even better than before? Must be that those towering Burju heels have magic built into them.
Following many well deserved thank yous, auctions and prizes, games and dancing while the ever important ballot ticket counting continued. At last, it was time to reveal the two highest point earners….. Dianne Connolly and Ron Trombley.
And the ultimate winner of Emmaus Inc. Stepping Out with the Valley Stars for 2016 is……imagine drum roll here…… Ron Trombley with partner Angie Egea!
Thanks to all who stepped out of their comfort zones to make such an awesome night of entertainment for a good cause. Now ladies, go put on some sensible flats, your work here is done, at least for this year.