The proceeds from the fifth annual will be directed to youth organizations, and organizer Michael Buscetto III said the young people of New London had a number of “shining moments” this past year.
Buscetto said the event, held at , requires several months of planning. Through means such as live and silent auctions, donated services, and a collection from the audience, it raises thousands of dollars each year to distribute to local organizations based on need. Buscetto said he first got the idea for the event to go along with his run for City Council in 2007.
“Ever since then, it’s grown every single year. And this year is certainly the largest,” he said.
The evening included singing, dancing, and musical performances from a number of individuals as well as groups such as the choir and band. The band came in first place in a spring competition in Virginia.
The honor was one of several won by youth groups in 2011. The New London Youth Football Cheerleading Squad won a regional competition, while the football league’s micro division . The NLHS boys’ basketball season had a 27-0 record and state title, although they weren’t able to attend the event due to a game on Saturday evening.
Lydell Pemberton, the head coach of the micros team, thanked the parents of the team for their support.
"I just want to say these kids worked extremely hard," he said.
The event also honored students of the month at , NLHS athletic director Jeff Larson, and the late Rockette and New London resident Louise Neistat.
Chris Soto, who worked with Buscetto’s mayoral campaign last year, was attending the event for the first time. Soto said he met Buscetto by telling him about the he was working on for New London Public Schools, and that the program fit the evening’s theme.
“He’s been a big supporter of trying to bring this initiative to New London,” said Soto.
Nancy Gramolini, a member of a parents’ group for NLHS seniors, was selling clothing and other items to raise money for a chemical-free graduation party for the Class of 2012.
“There’s so many people from New London here. They always like things from New London,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll do well.”