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Competition sparks BCC auditorium revision
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Members of Dancing with the Barton Stars are, from left: Lynda Jamison, Melanie Calcara, Dan Heath, Rachel Mawhirter, Steve Webster, Dr. Carl Heilman, Jan Westfall, Jo Harrington and Allene Owen. Not pictured is dance participant Mark Mingenback. Dancing with the Barton Stars sets the wheels in motion for a fundraiser to renovate the Colleges 40-year-old Fine Arts Auditorium. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO


Barton Community College is using star power to help raise money for a renovation project to upgrade its 40-year-old Fine Arts Auditorium. Barton’s stars are 10 community members who will compete in a dance competition this spring that will initiate a fund drive and create awareness for the renovation project.

The auditorium needs new lights, sound equipment and carpeting, said Darnell Holopirek, executive director of Institutional Advancement at Barton. The renovation plan also calls for reconfiguring the seats for better access to isles, and re-carpeting the area. The total estimate for the renovation to the auditorium is $400,000.

"Dancing with the Barton Stars" will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 19 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. The cost to attend the event is $5 per person, with the proceeds going to the renovation project.

Although the event’s name is a play on the nationally televised "Dancing with the Stars," the Barton version doesn’t require a critique of dancers in order to decide its winning couple. Simply, the dancing team that raises the most money wins the contest.

Starting now through April 19, people can support their favorite teams by donating a dollar per vote with no limit for the amount of votes cast. The five dance teams are currently soliciting donations from the community to bolster their chances of winning.

Three Great Bend dance studios are training the five teams during the next two months. Barb’s School of Dance, Dance by Design, and Just Dance are donating dance instruction to train the dancers. Choreography, music and outfits for each team will remain closely guarded by the respective teams and their instructors until the evening of their performances.

The event is being hosted by two emcees, Eagle Radio’s Scott Donovan and Jemelle Holopirek from KAKE TV’s "Good Morning Kansas." The co-hosts will interview the dancers and the instructors during their training, and a video will be produced showing a behind-the-scenes look into the friendly competition. The video will be shown to the audience the night of the event. The audience also will be treated to a ballet performance by Miss Kansas, Lauren Werhan. Her special appearance is sponsored by Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, Chtd.

A limited number of tickets are also available for a VIP dinner that will take place at 6 p.m. prior to the dancing event.

Contact Barton’s Liberal Arts and Sciences office, 620-792-9391 to order tickets for either fund-raising event. Tickets to "Dancing with the Barton Stars" also will be sold at the door the evening of the dance performances.