It was the hip-hop dance by Father Richard Martini that brought the crowd to its feet at the first-ever Dancing With Our Priests event Friday night at the Hyatt Valencia hotel.
The stars were out Friday night as three priests took to the dance floor to raise funds for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Newhall.
Martini, pastor of OLPH, along with Associate Pastor Ray Marquez and Father Norm Supancheck from Bishop Alemany High School, wowed the crowd of 350 people as they partnered with professionals to dance to the Waltz, the East Coast Swing and a surprise performance in an effort to win the OLPH Mirrorball trophy.
Votes were sold for $10 with funds going to the “On The Way” capital campaign. Emcee Ed Masterson praised the priests for the willingness to try something new and their sense of fun. His assistant, Reena Newhall, a professional dancer herself, provided the dance ensembles for the evening.
Marquez and his partner, Kathy Rackness, were the first couple out the gate to dance. For his final number, Marquez donned a matador outfit to dance the paso doble and made an impressive showing with the judges and the crowd. Next, Supancheck, always a parish favorite, and his partner Tony Giammalva took on a 1950s theme to dance the merengue.
But it was Martini and partner Ingrid Blanco who stole the show with their hip-hop number. Dressed head to toe in sparkles and gold, Martini finished the set with a spin on the floor.
Once the votes were tallied, Martini managed to squeak by his competitors and win the Mirrorball trophy. He thanked to all who attended the event and gave special thanks to Margaret Shapiro for chairing the fundraiser.
Shapiro said she wasn’t sure of the final numbers on funds raised, but considered the event to be a success.
“We were successful in building community at the parish,” she said. “I think we would do it or something like this again.”
As the crowd shouted for this to be an annual fundraiser, all three priests agreed they had a great time and left the door open for next year.
For more information about the “On The Way” campaign, call OLPH at 661-259-2276.