The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

September 21, 2013

Winners are all around after 'Dancing' event

Brian Graves, News Editor

Friday, September 20, 2013 — When I left the Stanly County Dancing with the Stars event a few weeks ago, I got in my car and turned on my satellite radio.

I usually keep it tuned to the “Sinatra” station and it was playing when I started the car.

The radio came on and ‘Ol Blue Eyes’ voice began one of my favorite songs.

“Here’s to the winners...” the familiar voice sounded.

“Lift up the glasses,

Here’s to the glory still to be.”

The words seemed to fit the occasion.

Dancing with the Stars, in its second incarnation, was conceived as a benefit for The Butterfly House, the child advocacy center located on the campus of Stanly Regional Medical Center.

Butterfly House provides evaluation and supportive services for possible victims of child mistreatment.

The “Dancing” event held at the Agri-Civic Center was full of “winners” which made the song so significant at that moment.

So, I want to “lift up the glasses” as Frank sang and give a salute to all who made it so special.

Although there were four awards given, everyone who had anything to do with the evening were winners.

Those 12 brave souls who gave up valuable time from busy schedules to practice doing something totally outside their comfort zone and then do it before a live audience deserved every standing ovation they got.

Not only did they do it, each one of them literally brought the house down.

Back to the song:

“Here’s to the battle, whatever it’s for.

To ask the best of ourselves, then give much more.”

Each contestant, aided by their professional counterpart, battled through the sweat and nerves and hit the stage giving it their all.

No one in the audience left saying they were disappointed. There was unanimous applause and ovations for all the performances that starry night.

Not only was the “battle” to dance, but the “battle” to get the show on was also won in a spectacular way.

You must have a place to put a show on and Candice Moffit and her staff at the Agri-Civic Center were able to provide the perfect facility and support needed for such a program.

The community is fortunate to have such a facility and it has to be satisfying to all who work there when it is put to such good use.

There also has to be someone who puts all the pieces together.

In big-time show business, that would be the producer and “Dancing” was lucky to have such a person.

Laura Almond teaches math at Stanly Early College as well as being the school’s dance team instructor.

She helped with last year’s production, but this year it was all on her plate.

Not only did she coordinate and plan the night, she choreographed six of the dances of which the audience was enamored.

Almond took only a reluctant bow that nigtht, but she can’t escape the written word.

She deserves a huge ovation from the community for the incredible job she performed.

Tim Harris, who is no stranger to anyone connected with the arts, gave of his expertise to make sure the cast could be seen and heard.

With help from his wife Ginger, the audience heard every note and saw every step and made the production as good as anything they could broadcast from Hollywood.

And, those students from Stanly Early College who did everything from dance to serve sodas need a big handclap from everyone.

Teenagers tend to have their Saturday nights free to pursue the things of youth.

The dozens who spent that time either rehearsing, preparing or participating are great examples of what the good kids of Stanly County are all about.

I believe they are the majority and not the minority and the ones who helped with the “Dancing” program put the best faces of Stanly County youth out front and impressed everyone who crossed their paths.

There is a second verse to the Sinatra song that also seemed appropriate to the occasion:

“Here’s to the heroes, those who move mountains.

Here’s to the miracles they make us see.”

Those words made me think of the people who work at The Butterfly House.

Over the years, I have seen the work child advocacy centers do and have never left visiting one without totally breaking down in tears.

The children who come through those doors remind us of how horrible and cruel some members of society can be.

However, those who are there to greet those children  with a hand and a hug remind us there are good people in the world.

They do a job that is so emotionally taxing, it is unthinkable how they do it day after day after day.

They really are heroes who move mountains and it’s truly miracles they produce in restoring the hearts and souls of children who have been subjected by the worst of humanity.

Just one more winner: Stanly County.

The citizens and companies of the county came through this year with 50 percent more donations - $64,000 -than last year.

That’s a winning number for a winning program raised by winning people in a winning county.

So, here’s to the winners all of us can be.

If you get the idea I was inspired by all these “winners,” you aren’t wrong.

Maybe it was just the exhilaration of the moment, but I had a conversation with Almond after the show.

Here’s the news flash: The Good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise, your humble correspondent will hit the boards in some capacity at next year’s show.

But, I won’t be doing anything in competition. I want to leave room for the next 12 “winners” to show their stuff.