'Biennial' Just Lips fun-raiser features Supreme Court Justice McCormack

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LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

by Cynthia Price
Legal News

“Biennial” was emcee Judge Sara Smolenski’s word of the evening last Thursday when the Just Lips celebrity lip sync returned for 2018.

Judge Smolenski, who has emceed every Just Lips event, made the point, over and over for comic effect, that the opportunity to see judges and attorneys move their lips to hits from a variety of eras only comes once every two years.

As she put it, “You’re paying good money to hear us not sing.”

This year, a famous guest joined the locals: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack did a great Stevie Nicks impression, swirling and swinging her shawl around.

All of the great fun and impressive dance talent went to a good cause, raising funds for The Justice Foundation of West Michigan. Such projects as the Legal Aid of Western Michigan/Cherry Health Medical Legal Partnership, CASA of Kent County, the Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament, Newspapers in Education, Law Day Youth Conferences, Michigan Migrant Legal Assistance Project, and the Legal Assistance Center have benefited from the Justice Foundation’s support, among many other projects since its inception in 1978.

In addition to the performances pictured, Randall Velzen, Elizabeth Bransdorfer, Brad Fowler, Michael Huff, and Benjamin Zainea performed  “Margaritaville,” displaying the words on a screen so the audience could join in; many members of Gruel Mills Nims & Pylman, including Scott Melton, William Azkoul, and Tom Behm lip-synched as WHAM for “Wake Me Up;” and Laura Kane of Acrisure LLC led a group including colleague Alexis Kruse, Mark M. Caldwell of Caldwell Law, and Richard Gaffin from Koernke Crampton (his first turn on drums for the evening) in  “Pinball Wizard.”

As Judge Smolenski would no doubt remind us, Just Lips will be back again in two years.