The Aurora Group 12th Anniversary Annual Dinner celebrated Gay Paris in style on Saturday evening at Sydney Town Hall, raising over $60,000.
Guests arrived on the red carpet with rainbow banners flying out the front of the venue, and in the Parisian spirit, several attendees were dressed in classic French styles which looked to be straight out of the Moulin Rouge, while a threesome of mimes acrobaticed around the crowd.
The prestigious event was attended by 430 key members and supporters of the GLBT community, and honoured guests including the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, and her husband Sir Nicholas Shehadie, along with the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore MP.
A large number of federal and state MP’s, local government representatives, and other special guests were also in attendance, including The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and The Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, NSW Minister for Health, representing Premier Barry O’Farrell, who sent his apologies.
The night was hosted by ‘international musical therapist’ Jan Van de Stool, and featured crowd pleasing performances by Paul Capsis, Queenie van de Zandt, burlesque queen Imogen Kelly and France’s ‘first lady of cabaret’ Caroline Nin, whose set included the iconic Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.
The surprise performance of the evening was Australian entertainment legend Debra Byrne, who made a late night appearance following her evening’s performance in Mary Poppins. Debra performed the signature “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Misérables, in which she played the Fantine in the original 1988 production. In the ultimate compliment Debra was chosen to sing the role of Fantine in the symphonic recording of Les Miserables, which featured the top performers from productions worldwide.
Chairperson of The Aurora Group David Moutou says “The Aurora Dinner is our major fundraising event for the year and the Aurora Directors are overjoyed that not only did we showcase French glamour, excellent food, wine and show-stopping entertainment to 430 guests, but raised an exceptional amount of money.”
The cash raised at the Aurora Dinner will go to Aurora’s ongoing support of its major beneficiaries, the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service and Twenty10. The Aurora Group will also be calling for community grant submissions in the next two months in support of a number of important projects that benefit the GLBT community.