This show last night was absolutely the most fun I've ever had at a skating event -- until the next one!
This show was organized by Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, and by Merrie Parr, Ben's girlfriend, to raise money in aid of the victims of the tsunami disaster last month. They were able to line up sufficient sponsorship for expenses that 100% of the gross went to the Red Cross Relief Fund. And they got a wonderful response from their circle of friends in the skating world, who came from near and far to perform. The camaraderie among the stars was evident throughout the evening, especially during the warm-ups. Johnny Weir and Orscher and Lucash entertained the crowd with a series of side-by-side-by-side triple jumps.
The event was held at a local minor league hockey rink (capacity about 3000). This gave the feel of an intimate club show, while at the same time featuring some of the best skaters in the country. I counted the house at 1648. (That’s what math teachers do while the Zamboni is preparing the ice. There were eight central sections, almost completely full, each with 12 rows of 18 seats, LOL -- plus a few people on the ends to make up the difference.) My guess was pretty close, because at the end they announced that they had raised $35,000 (tickets were $20 apiece), including the proceeds from food concessions and a silent auction.
Guess who was standing right next to us, where we were sitting? Aaron Parcham! He had been commandeered into working the spotlight. What a friendly and down to earth person. He said that Marcie had had surgery for her knee last Thursday. She was doing OK -- at least they didn’t find anything worse than what they already knew. He was disappointed that they wouldn’t be able to do Four Continents, but they thought it was better to get her the treatment that she needed immediately.
Aaron mentioned that they were fortunate to get the bronze at Nationals. (That was a little awkward moment in our conversation, because in my mind the only thing I could think of to say was, “Yes, you were,” which didn’t sound right. So I mumbled something about, “Well you gutted it out, so that’s the main thing.”)
He also gave all credit to Tanith and Ben. He said he didn’t know how they could possibly have done all this organizational work while dealing with the stress and the physical and emotional exhaustion attendant to doing Nationals. He said he was glad to be a part of the show, even in this small way, because, “We have so much” and it is great to have an opportunity to give something back.
Tanith, BTW, did the majority of the announcing, welcoming the audience, thanking everybody, etc. She was very natural at the microphone. I predict she will be the next Suzie Wynn, commentating on ice dancing, after her performing career is over (20 years from now, LOL).
Tip: Come early, the warm-ups were as entertaining as the performances. Inoue and Baldwin stayed out there a long time and did pretty much a complete walk-though of their program (maybe blocking it on the ice ?). The skaters wore black warm-up suits that showed off their bodies really well. These young athletes are just incredibly fit. I especially noticed Tim Goeble and Fedor Andreev. Slim Tim was definitely in fighting trim. He must have hopped a quick plane from New York, because he had appeared on the Today show that same morning.
Fedor is bigger, very muscular, and looked terrific. I can see why he is so often mentioned as a potential pairs partner for various ladies. Both he and Weir are quite a bit taller than most skaters.