GACS’ 10th annual Angelica: Dancing With Our Local Stars Gala & Fundraiser was held on April 9, 2016 at Bobak’s Signature Events (Woodridge). Touted as the must-attend annual fundraiser benefitting all of Guardian Angel’s programs & services – the event included cocktails, dinner, dancing, awards, silent auction, raffles, a dance competition and more. Returning event emcee Wayne Smith took the mic at 6:30pm to introduce guest speaker, Sarah Anderson, who shared her impactful story of surviving domestic violence and her journey to break the cycle of violence with the help of Guardian Angel advocates and counselors.
After Sarah’s empowering story, a full lineup of entertainment ensued. A staple of “Angelica” is a dance competition for which preparation begins months before the actual event. The dance competition is made possible when local “stars” say they would be willing to take on the challenge of raising funds and awareness for the agency by preparing a dance routine with a professional to perform at the event. Six local stars rose above and beyond the challenge and delivered unforgettable dance routines.
The 2016 cast of stars included: Monica Biban (D’Arcy); Greg Chellino (Chellino Crane); Donnie Chestnutt (Providence Bank & Trust); John Horn (Joliet Catholic Academy); Michele Vana (Kurtz Ambulance); and Larry Walsh Jr. (State Representative District 86).
Concluding the performance of each dance routine, a panel of local star judges provided their “expert” commentary and later voted. 2016 judges included Pete Colarelli (CITGO Lemont Refinery), Carol Klotz (Stofan Agazzi Investments), Larry Walsh (Will County Executive) and a fourth judge’s spot that was auctioned off and given to Mitchell Cunningham.
A mirror ball trophy, awarded to the local star who receives the most votes, was presented to Michele Vana and her partner Larry Davy (Fred Astaire Dance Mokena) who danced a “bolero”. Second place runner-up was Greg Chellino who danced a “hustle” with Heather Mcmahon and Cristina Turcan (Fred Astaire-Mokena). Additional participating dance studios who have contributed to the event for many years included Heart & Sole Dance (Tinley Park) and Sterba’s Dancesport (Naperville).
As a special tribute to the 10th “Dancing With Our Local Stars” anniversary, specialty dances were provided while guests dined, beginning with a performance by Dr. Ernie Tan and his wife Connie Tan. The Tan’s have been supporters of Guardian Angel for many years and Connie is a member of the GACS Development Committee. A variety of specialty dances featuring both partner and group routines were also provided by Fred Astaire Dance Studio – Burr Ridge – special thank you to Fred Astaire Burr Ridge owner and dance professional, Michael Micek.
We also honored Donors and Volunteers for the year. 2016 award recipients included: Damco Distribution Services – Corporate Donor of the Year; Audrey & Wayne Smith – Volunteers of the Year; and Jennifer Lynch – Private Donor of the Year.
For more information on the annual Angelica Gala, including 2017 event information, visit our Angelica page: www.gacsprograms.org/angelica