Branson stars help raise $26,000 for MBCH
BRANSON – The Night with the Stars lived up to its name as Branson’s most popular performers took the stage at Skyline Southern Baptist Church and raised an estimated $26,000 for the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH).
While the near-capacity crowd cheered and applauded the stars on stage, it was the silent and live auctions in between performances for the ultimate cause of helping the MBCH, that drew in the nearly 600 people and their wallets. Various auctioned items’ prices kept rising as bids flew across the church’s auditorium that once was one of Branson’s most popular theaters, the Gold Rush.
All of the items were donated by area merchants and churches, and ranged from a sleepover (chaperoned, of course) with the Ozark Fire Department (went for $125) to a hand-made oak canoe (went for $600) to tickets to various Branson shows and a quilt stitched together by the women of Sew-and-Sew Club at Macedonia Baptist Church in Springfield (a bargain at $190). In all, more than 250 donated items were auctioned off, with every penny going to the MBCH. This $30-a-plate dinner theater event bested the 2006 Night with the Stars, which brought in just over $24,000. The finally tally from all the auctions is still being figured.
Linda Ragusky coordinated the evening with Skyline and dozens of volunteers from Boulevard Baptist Church, Springfield; Monark Baptist Church, Neosho; First Baptist Church, Mansfield; First Baptist Church, Mountain Grove; and Center Baptist Church, Ash Grove.
“We tried to get a wide variety of entertainment to suit everyone,” she said. “Even if you don’t care for country music, there was a little of everything in there for you to enjoy.”
The show featured a veritable who’s who of the Branson entertainment community including: Dean Church, Steve Harbor and Lauren Haven from the Dean Church Variety Show; Clay Cooper, Jenna Crispin and Matt Gumm from the Clay Cooper Show; Dalena Ditto of the Dalena Ditto Country Variety Show; Dave Hamner from the Hamner Barber Variety Show; Jim Owens of the Duttons Theatre; SIX, from the Hughes Brothers Celebrity Theatre; and Tom Mullica, of the Red Skelton Tribute.
Many of the performers had been part of Night with the Stars for several years, but Church and Crispin felt especially at home; they are members at Skyline.