When Brookfield Chamber of Commerce Secretary/Treasurer Amy Weinert asked back in May whether Landmark editor Bob Uphues would like to be a judge for a new “Dancing with the Stars”-type fundraiser, there was no way he would pass up such an opportunity.
Four months later, the chamber had sold about 500 tickets at $20 a pop to the event, which went off without a hitch on Oct. 1 on the stage of the auditorium at Riverside-Brookfield High School.
For those of you who might get a little jittery about getting up and talking in front of a bunch of strangers, imagine being asked to don a gold-sequined tuxedo and top hat, step into the spotlight and do a dance that featured a two-person kick line in front of 500 people.
That was what Charles Hitzeman was asked to do – and be the first on stage to do it. To say Chuck was game is an understatement. In truth, we wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t taken off the costume yet.
His performance was just the first of 10 just like it, choreographed by Teresa Swanson and taught be three of her pros — Aynsley Parker, Alejandro Cruz and Sophia Papadopoulos.
We can’t say enough about the enthusiasm of the participants, who also included Jason Baumann, Mike Doerr, Doug Fiala, Hector Freytas, Annette Pardun, Aaron Pesek, Abby Snow and Mary Vasquez.
At 16 years old, Pesek was the youngest participant – taking on a challenge that was quite different than his job working in the kitchen at Beach Ave. BBQ — but he cut quite a figure during his tango/toreador routine.
The event turned out to be inspirational as well. Chris Borzym, the former owner of Christopher Mark Flowers, competed for Betty’s Flowers and Gifts in a psychedelic disco jumpsuit to the tune “Celebration.”
The routine and energy of the music belied just how exhausted Borzym actually was. He was the last to step into his costume backstage, clearly reeling from his first round of chemotherapy two days earlier. There was some fear he wouldn’t be up to it.
Chris shattered those fears. He wouldn’t have missed his chance to shine for anything, telling the audience after he was handed the disco ball trophy (made by Weinert herself) that his participation in the dance event fulfilled a dream.
In truth, all of the dancers were wonderful and gave their all, but for the judges Borzym was a true champ, who showed true grit. In the coming weeks his battle continues, and we all wish him the very best.
He also plans on taking his trophy to Betty’s Flowers, where it’ll be proudly displayed. Thanks to the Brookfield Chamber (and Weinert in particular) for such a joy-filled evening.
And from the Landmark’s editor, thank you as well for the generous $1,000 donation to the Robert & Virginia Uphues Memorial Scholarship at Nazareth Academy – each judge had $1,000 donated to a favorite charity – that was the icing on the cake.