Scott Hamilton and Friends Gala Review
The Gund Arena - Saturday Sept. 8, 2001
Written by Nancy Hodan
This was the second annual event to help support the Scott Hamilton
C.A.R.E.S (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education & Survivorship)
foundation. Together with the Cleveland Clinic, Scott helped form
this foundation. Scott was treated for Cancer at the clinic in l997.
This years show featured live music from the band "Jack Mack and
the Heart Attack." Their music consists of Rhythm & Blues with some
soul as well. The seven member band performed on a platformed stage
at rinks end. A few local musicians joined the brass section. The
music THUNDERED throughout the arena for this high energy show.
Between skaters they played songs titled "Scotts Overture", "Hurray
for the City", "True Lovin Woman" & "Whiter Shade of Pale."
The band announced Scott and he flew on to the rink in a black
sparkling shirt, skating to "Sliden." Scott looked fantastic
performing lightning fast footwork, huge russian splits and multiple
jumps that were landed with ease. The rapid beat of the music,
spotlights of stars sweeping the ice, made a lively start for this
Scott caught his breath and talked about last years show.
Mentioning Clevelands own pianist Jim Brickman and singer Anne
Cochran. Scott says he found a party band for tonights show. Then he
shouted "It's Party Time!" His plan is to re-invent the show every
year. And plans on "doing these shows forever." Remarking that "this
is a celebration for those that have conquered cancer. This show
tonight is going to be a party."
Scotts first friend to skate was dressed in tight leather pants and
a candy apple red tight t-shirt. His smile sparkled and his skating
dazzled the audience. Steven Cousins "Mustang Sally" number was
SMOKIN!! He exploded with power and had this crowd in the palm of his
hand. He finished with a forward to backward lunge and extended into
the splits. But it wasn't over yet....he made us dizzy with a blur
scratch spin. Steven the "Showman" shined!
Yuka Sato appeared in velvet looking slacks and a long sleeved bare
midriff type top. The red wine color enhanced her beauty. Husband
Jason Dungjen skated out in leather pants and a red wine colored
shirt. They skated to a Wilson Pickett song called "She's Lookin'
Good." Powereful lifts & tremendoous strength and height on the throw
axel. A gorgeous death spiral and they mesmerized the crowd with this
Another performer and friend of Scotts that joined this group was
singer and actress Susan Anton. She sang a song by Otis Redding
called "Can't turn you loose." She mentioned " The ice is gonna melt
before the show is over." Then said a cute remark about "all those
guys backstage in leather pants."
Susan sang a lovely song by Joan Osborne called "My Love is Alive."
Jenny Kirk graced the ice to hi-light her talents. A huge axel, low
and fast sit spin and dainty lay back spin. She wore a sequined red,
white and blue outfit. Her skating and lovely smile were a special
touch to this show.
Jenni Meno wore a flowing pink dress with delicate flowers and was
joined by husband Todd Sand. They skated to Bonnie Raitt's "I can't
make you love me." As usual their skating was beautiful and
emotionally artistic. Their ending pose had Todd kneeling with Jenni
standing above him as they gazed into each others eyes.
Renee Roca & Gorsha Sur were entertaining skating to a song by
Aretha Franklin/B.B. King titled "Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved
You." Between the unusual moves and innovative lifts, their skating
was superb. They played right into the characters that were being
vocalized in the song, which was fun.
Scott mentions he's known the band for 18 yrs. and their music
never fails to make him smile. Last year Todd Eddredge showed up to
watch the show. Scott told him he'd have to skate for his supper this
year. (A gala dinner was held after the show) Scott remarks "Todd's
been working harder then ever at 30 years old to win an Olympic medal.
I'm so proud of him---I love this guy!" Todd covered every inch of
the ice surface while skating to Bon Jovi's "Thank you for Loving Me."
From his tremendous triple axel and triple salchow, to the immense
height he achieved on his russian splits. His spins are incredibly
fast and meticulously centered. It was obvious from his performance
that he has been very dedicated to his training.
Susan Anton sang "Color of Roses" a lovely song for Yuka to perform
to. She appeared in a delicate white flowing dress with tiny yellow
flowers adorning it. Yuka literally floated across the ice with the
angelic grace she' famous for. A double axel was hi-lighted with her
arms above her head in the position of a ballerina. Her layback
position is exquisite.
Scott is joined by Kurt Browning for a chat on the ice. Scott
mentions how dressed up the crowd is tonight. Kurt dressed in his
shiny pants and white shirt mentions he feels under dressed. They joke
for awhile and the crowd is laughing. Then Scott proclaims "Here's
the King of Canada, my friend, my brother from another mother.....KURT
BROWNING." In case you haven't guessed by now....he skated to
"Brickhouse" that funky song by the Commodores. I thought for sure
the ice was gonna melt during Kurt's number. Kurt was the king of
funk tonight and he does have the fastest footwork in the world!!
Kristi Yamaguchi joins Scott on the ice to chat. Scott claims
Kristi is "The finast of the fine and the best of the best. She's the
finast skater in the world." In her sexy red dress Kristi skated to
"Smooth" by Santana. This was performed live tonight by the Jack Mack
band. Kristi was as smooth as silk and an absolute delight to watch.
Susan Anton sings "Highgate Shuffle" a Rod Stewart song. She
strutted around the rinks edge singing and flirting with the audience
Scott, Steven, Kurt, Todd and Gursha came on next skating to a
James Brown Medley. They had black pants with wild, bright flowery
shirts with colored t-shirts underneath. This number was well
choreographed and packed with energy. My favorite part being Todd and
Steven doing fast footwork side by side down center ice. Todd was
laughing all the way and Steve was grinning from ear to ear. Lot's of
fun for the skaters and the audience.
Scott got up on stage with the band and said "I've been waiting 18
years to do this." He felt right at home joking with the group and
pretending to be their leader. The other guys (skaters) were sitting
on the edge of the stage enjoying Scotts moment.
Next up was Yuka, Jenni, Jennifer and Renee skating to a variety of
songs by the group "The Temptations." They each wore a variety of
bright colored outfits. Tank tops and perky little skirts. A fun and
groovy type number for the ladies tonight.
Scott talks to the audience while standing at center ice. Asking
who attended last years show to celebrate survivorship with those that
faced it, beat it, to go on and live happy lives again. Claiming we
still have too much loss. He's very emotional at this point as he
recalls his mothers death to cancer. Then mentioning Jenny Kirk
recently lost her mother to breast cancer. He says we are still
facing the biggest challenge, to find a cure for cancer. With tears
welling in his eyes and voice he dedicates his next skate as a tribute
to his mom. He looks at the audience and says "You empowereed me to
come back to center ice to see the most beautiful site in the world."
Susan Anton sings the Gary Morris song "With one more look at you." I
love this touching number and the song belongs to Scott.
I believe that Scotts words touched the audiences hearts. He has
taught us that life is full of many challenges. He has proven that he
has conquered the toughest mountain and reached the highest peak.
he's such an inspiration and so dedicated in his plight to help
others. Scott skated with such emotion and inner strength. he
received a standing ovation and his smile melted my heart.
Scott jokes after the skate that "I think I left my legs in
Vancouver." He thanks the audience once again. Then introduces the
hostess of the evening Maria Miller. Then Helen McLoraine the woman
that sponsored him earlier in his career. He kisses them and hands
them beautiful floral bouquets that Kurt brought out.
Scott announces each skater by the State that they are from. They
join him in front of the stage. Side by side, arms around each other
and with their feet crossed in front. They are athletes, and
entertainers....but most importantly they are friends.
A gala was held after the show at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown
Cleveland. Cocktails, Dinner, Dancing and a silent auction with autographed
skates were all part of this charity event. I was unable to attend the gala,
but I am sure it was as successful as the skating show.