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Belle Vernon, Monessen Rotarians ready for oldies dance to benefit many

| Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 9:03 p.m.
Displaying CDs to call attention to the variety of music that will be presented Jan. 26, 2013, at the benefit dance sponsored by the Belle Vernon Area and Monessen/Rostraver Rotary clubs are, from left, Rotarians Mitch Seydor, Gerry Stasicha and Don Yoder and disc jockey Ralph Trilli, who also is a Rotarian. Ron Paglia/For The Valley Independent

One of the basic tenets of Rotary International is to provide humanitarian services to all people.

That goal will be perpetuated when the Belle Vernon Area and Monessen/Rostraver Rotary clubs present their fifth annual “Oldies Dance” on Jan. 26 at the Rostraver Central Fire Hall.

“Proceeds from the dance are used to benefit a variety of charitable causes, here in our communities and around the world,” says Don Yoder, co-chairman of the dance for the Belle Vernon Area Rotary, along with Gerry Stasicha, co-chairman for the Monessen/Rostraver club.

These include, but are not limited to, Polio Plus, the worldwide Rotary project to eradicate the disease, and clean-water programs in disadvantaged countries.

Locally, the Rotarians provide scholarships for students at Belle Vernon Area, Monessen and Frazier high schools and supporting myriad community programs through the Rotary Foundation.

“We are here to offer assistance and support to victims of fires and similar disasters, emergency-services groups, such as firemen and police, Boy Scouts and people in need,” Mitch Seydor, a longtime Rotarian and former dance chairman, says. “All that we do is in keeping with Rotary International's goals and ideals to provide services to people of all ages.

“We are a community-oriented service club with an emphasis on ‘Service Above Self,' which is the Rotary motto.”

The clubs' oldies dances have provided a major boost to their fundraising efforts, averaging from 350 to 400 people in attendance. The Bill Gates Foundation has matched the amount raised each year at the dances for the Polio Plus project, and the combined achievement has resulted in millions of dollars for Rotary International.

“It is our way of giving back to the community to thank them for their continued support of our programs,” Seydor says.

The Jan. 26 dance is a BYOB affair. The Rotarians will provide beverages, ice and snacks.

Disc jockey Ralph Trilli, co-host of the Cruisin' Sunday Oldies show on radio station WJPA (93.5 FM, 1450 AM) in Washington, will return to provide the music.

“We are very pleased that Ralph will be with us again,” Yoder says. “He does an excellent job with his knowledge and selection of music, and the crowd has really taken to him.”

Trilli succeeded his longtime colleague Jim “JD the DJ” Dudas as host of the Rotary Oldies dance following Dudas' death in 2011.

“Jim was our DJ the first three years and did a great job of making the dances so successful,” Seydor says. “Ralph Trilli is perpetuating that standard of performance in rekindling old memories and creating new ones.”

In addition to Trilli's music of the 1950s and early 1960s, Top 40 and line dances, the dance will feature the popular prize table that will include a high-definition television.

Other prizes include a variety of items donated by area merchants. A half-the-take drawing also will be presented.

Yoder expressed gratitude to Jerry Zahand Jr., president of Highway Appliance and Television of Dunlevy, for his “continuing consideration and cooperation” with the television donation.

“And, we are deeply appreciative of everyone who donates prizes, give-aways and gift cards,” he says.

The Rotarians also acknowledged the Rostraver Central Volunteer Fire Department.

“They have gone out of their way to accommodate us and the people who come to the dances,” Seydor says.

Yoder also emphasized the club's gratitude to the “oldies faithful” who support the dances.

“They are the ones who make it successful,” he says. “They come out to turn back the hands of time with the oldies, and they help many good causes in the process. It's a win-win situation for everyone.”

Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.