They danced; a few sang. All practiced for weeks, keeping their eyes on the ultimate goal. And Sunday night in Newberry Hall, all those that participated with Dancing with the Aiken Stars found their efforts were certainly not in vain.
While the night served as a mini-reunion for the dancers and event helpers, the highlight was finding out how much the show actually raised overall for the Child Advocacy Center and Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County.
To everyone's delight, a grand total of $120,000 was announced by Betty Ryberg, who was the organizer for the performance, and Chad Matthews, who was part of the People's Choice winner's Footloose on Fire group and was assisting Ryberg in the evening's announcements. That amount, more than the estimated $100,000 raised last year, will be split between the two organizations.
Both directors, Gayle Lofgren from CAC and Mallory Holley from the clinic, were amazed.
“It allows both of us to keep our doors open,” Lofgren said.
As the actual check sits at Security Federal Bank, Lofgren let Holley keep the big check.
“I'll get it next year,” she said.
Ryberg and Matthews recognized everyone who had a part in the Dancing with the Aiken Stars, such as choreographer Corey Burns, decorators Toni Stilp, Paula Kane and Elizabeth Paterniti and Jason Seigelr, who dealt with filming and production.
The dance groups present were winners Aileen Hord Daly and John Tiffany from Tango of the Sexes; Beth Barranco and Buzz Rich with No Parking on the Dance Floor; Ahmed Samaha from Do You Love Me?; Lydia Sudick-Bibeau and Cody Anderson with Everybody Talks; Judge's Choice Lyddie Hansen with Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets; Rick McLeod, Julie Adams and Susie Player from In the Jailhouse Now/I Got You; Anne Thomasson and Wesley Hightower with Proud Mary; and others from Footloose on Fire - Hillary Redd, Carl Hensen, Heather Pack and Jim Anderson.
As the Footloose on Fire dancers enjoyed the refreshments before the presentation, Pack picked on fellow group member Holley a bit.
“She put her money where her mouth is, and she danced, so she has to feel doubly good,” she said.
Holley said that the money will go into patient care for the clinic that serves people ages 19 to 64 and also helps fund items like medication.
For Daly, it's taking a bit to unwind from the excitement.
“I was excited, because, when I decided to do this, I went full out,” she said. “My goal was to win. By winning, that meant you raised a lot of money.”
Stardom has hit her a bit, though, she said.
One evening, people who recognized her at a grocery store turned what was expected to be a quick trip into a 40-minute conversation.
Dancing with the Aiken Stars took place on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in USCA Convocation Center.
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner From left, Chad Matthews, Betty Ryberg, Mallory Holley, Gayle Lofgren and Sandy Besley stand with the check presented to the CAC and clinic at the Dancing with the Aiken Stars event on Sunday. A total of $120,000 was raised for the two organizations.×