Local hoofers in spotlight for hospital benefit

Rehearsing for the big event are Dale Downing and Valerie Pistole, choreographer Gene Russo, and dancing pair Patrick Jude and Marcia Nelson.

This year, The Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation’s Fall Frolic involves some mighty fancy footwork.

The October 10 event, “Dancing with Our Stars,” is the hometown version of the popular TV show. The local edition will pair Sonoma celebs with professional dancers in a competition to raise funds as guests purchase points for their favorite dancers.

The dancing glitterati includes Julie Atwood, Steve Barbose, Dale Downing, John Gurney, Rob Lyon, Marcia Nelson, Vanessa Robledo and Dr. Brian Sebastian. They will be matched with dance pros Ed Dufault, Rhonda Guaraglia, Phyllis Gurney, Patrick Jude, Manuel Merjil, Ginnie Nichols, Elaina O’Malley,and Valerie Pistole.

The couples have been working on their dance moves, some as long as eight months, for this much anticipated performance. Choreographer Gene Russo has brought his talents to the production, coaching the dancers through their practice performances.

The competition will include Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Texas Two-Step, Waltz, Salsa, Swing, and more. Judging the dancers’ moves will be Suzanne Brangham, Valerie Brown and Squire Fridell. The night’s announcers will include Bob Smith and Carolyn Stone.

The event will include a catered buffet dinner by Bea Beasley & Company, local wine, and dancing to the Richard Olsen Orchestra. Bob Briner brings his talents to the production as stage manager.

A silent auction will raise funds for mammography services for uninsured women, while the dance voting will go towards replacing antiquated hospital beds.

“Fall Frolic – Dancing With Our Stars” kicks off at 5 p.m., Sunday, October 10, at the Sonoma Veterans Hall, 126 First Street West. Admission is $150 per person. For reservations contact SVH Foundation at 935.5070.


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