Aurora’s Gay Paris raises over $60,000

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The Aurora Group 12th Anniversary Annual Dinner celebrated GAY PARIS in style on Saturday June 25, 2011, at Sydney Town Hall, raising over $60,000 and was attended by 430 key members and supporters of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community.

Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of NSW, and Sir Nicholas Shehadie, were in attendance and gave a warm and thoughtful welcome to guests, as did Clover Moore MP, Lord Mayor of Sydney. A large number of federal and state MP’s, local government representatives, and other special guests were 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 money 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 (small) grant submissions in the next 2 months in support of a number of important projects that benefit the GLBT community.

The two highlights of the evening were the performances and also Sydney Town Hall itself, and both didn’t disappoint. Guests arrived on the red carpet with rainbow banners flying out the front of the venue, and the scenic focus was lights to celebrate the City of Lights. 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 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.

David Moutou, Chairperson of The Aurora Group said “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.”