Excitement is mounting among organizers, contestants and residents for the sixth annual Dancing with the Norwood Stars event, scheduled to take place on April 11th at the Four Points by Sheraton, in Norwood.
The event is the biggest of the year for the Norwood Circle of Hope, a foundation that helps raise money for residents who are in financial need, and has sold out yet again this year.
“We have filled 500 seats,” said Kathy St. Cyr, a member of the Norwood Circle of Hope board of directors. “We try to improve on the event each year, and this year I think we have perfected it.”
The dancers are well-known individuals in the town who are interested in raising money for the cause.
This year’s contestants are Brian McDonough, Mindy Keyes, Susan Bunker, Frederick Wobrock, Christopher Eysie and Valerie Bishop.
Each of the contestants is expected to complete dance lessons provided by the Norwood Circle of Hope at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Dedham. For some contestants, the lessons have been both enjoyable and beneficial in terms of gearing up for the event.
“The dance lessons are coming along a lot,” said contestant Valerie Bishop. “I’ve danced socially in the past, but have never done anything quite like this.”
Contestant Susan Bunker echoes Bishop’s statement, saying the lessons have been quite a learning experience, though very gratifying.
“My partner and I have been having a great time,” Bishop said. “We literally laugh through every lesson.”
Bishop says she was excited about the dancing, though lacking experience, joking that her résumé consists only of “spinning a mean baton in elementary school”. The fundraising, however, is where she has been feeling the pressure. All contestants are expected to organize and host fundraisers leading up to the event, and the winner of the competition is the participant who is able to raise the most money for the foundation. Each dollar earned is a point toward their overall total.
“I was excited about the dancing part,” Bishop, who has held a number of fundraisers leading up to the event, said. “The fundraising portion was giving me anxiety. But, I just give 100 percent until I wear myself out.”
Residents who were unable to purchase tickets beforehand are also able to get involved in voting during the event. The NPA-TV will broadcast the event live on local access stations, and residents can attend one of the special viewing venues at the following restaurants in town: the Colonial House Restaurant, Lewis’ Bar & Grill and the Olde Colonial Café. Volunteers will be collecting ballots at each location, and will submit a tally of votes to be factored into each contestant’s total.
A Judge’s Choice trophy will also be awarded to the dancer who scores the highest number of points from the judges at the event based on the quality of their moves. Prizes aside, however, contestants say they’re just excited to raise money for a worthy cause.
“I’m just looking forward to being part of such a high-energy event,” Bishop said. “And to finish the night by rewarding myself with a big glass of chardonnay!”