The Mercer County, West Virginia representatives for season eight of the United Way Dancing with the Stars are Marie Blackwell and Bluefield University’s very own, Matt Hamilton, director of traditional admissions. The 2019 lineup for season eight was announced at a reveal party at the Tamarack in Beckley, West Virginia on April 6, 2019.
Hamilton was born and raised in Wenonah, New Jersey. He has been living in Southern West Virginia since 2015 after his introduction to the area by attending Concord University. While in school, he was a member of the men’s soccer team, Collegiate Singers and Conchords vocal ensembles, the CU Opera Studio, and served as a resident assistant. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation and tourism management and plans to pursue his MBA at Bluefield University in the fall. Not only does Matt currently serve as the director of traditional admissions at Bluefield University in Bluefield, Virginia, he is also a classically trained tenor, a member of the University’s Masterworks Chorale and studies voice under Dr. John Moir. Hamilton, his wife Heather, and their puppy Milo currently reside in Athens, West Virginia.
“I am blessed to be serving for such a great cause,” said Hamilton. “It is going to be such an awesome experience,” he added.
Marie Blackwell, who is originally from the Washington, D.C./Maryland metro area, is the ambassador/grant writer for the City of Bluefield, West Virginia which she now considers home. Upon receiving many awards, Marie was named as one of West Virginia’s 50 Wonder Women in 2016 for her work with veterans. She currently resides in Bluefield, West Virginia.
“I am honored and proud to be representing Mercer County in the 2019 Dancing with the Stars, benefitting the United Way of Southern West Virginia,” Blackwell said.
Six groups including twelve dancers and their choreographers will compete on September 20, 2019, at the Beckley Raleigh County Convention Center to raise funds for more than 45 nonprofits, supported by the United Way fundraiser, in Fayette, McDowell, Mercer, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming counties. These nonprofits provide care for babies who need clean diapers, support for women and children who need help escaping domestic violence, food to underprivileged families in the community, shoes for children, and food delivery for the elderly.
The six groups of dancers competing in late September are: Luke Lively and Lindsay Oliver from Fayette County with their choreographer Brittney Fitzgerald; Jane Price and Bob Canter choreographed by Jill West (Jane Price’s daughter); Marie Blackwell and Matt Hamilton choreographed by Katie Tiller; Kelly Sweeney and Mingo Winters choreographed by Sharnice Taylor; Stephanie Allard and Dr. Andrew Dickens choreographed by Alyssa Young; Dewanna Waters and Dr. EJ Salon choreographed by Donald Laney.
Upcoming fundraisers for Team Matt and Marie include a Sabika Fundraiser happening on Saturday, August 24 from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. at the Bluefield Area Arts Center. Doors will be opening at 4 p.m. Tickets are $30 or $35 at the door. For more information on this event call 304-888-7986 or 276-245-2173.
Other fundraisers for this team include a Gospel Roundup, Dallas Dinner Show at the Bluefield Area Arts Center being held on September 12-14. Reservations are required. Dinner starts at 6:15 p.m. and curtain will be at 7:30 p.m. all nights. Tickets are $35 a person. For reservations for this event call 304-589-0339.