Shout it out loud: Proud parents watch kids rock with Kiss at the MCG

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It’s not every day that your seven-year-old son dances on stage with rock band Kiss in front of 100,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Cuban Casem, 7, wearing the make-up and costume of the band’s Spaceman character, was cool about it and had a ball, rocking out to Rock and Roll All Nite at the MCG before the AFL grand final on Saturday.

Cuban, Quba, Isaiah and Elias (from left to right) performed with Kiss at the MCG on Saturday.Credit: Getty Images AsiaPac

Cuban’s mum, Carla Casem, said she was the emotional one, looking on from the sidelines.

“It was overwhelming. I was in tears most of the time,” she said.

Cuban, of Fraser Rise in Melbourne’s west, was one of four kids chosen to dance on stage with the famous American band as the crowd roared during the pre-game entertainment.

He said the best part was doing an air-guitar solo while standing “back-to-back” with lead guitarist Tommy Thayer.

Cuban performing air guitar next to Tommy Thayer at the grand final.Credit: Getty Images AsiaPac

Three of Cuban’s classmates from hip-hop dance school Kstar Studios in Ravenhall danced next to singer and bass player Gene Simmons, singer and guitarist Paul Stanley, and drummer Eric Singer.

Meanwhile, below them, 500 other children performed choreographed dance moves to the song.

The dancers, who were recruited from five Melbourne dance schools, rehearsed for weeks but were sworn to secrecy ahead of the game between Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions.

Carla said her son was nervous before the concert, but once he was out there, he was fine.

Elias, 7, Quba, 6, Cuban, 7, and Isaiah, 8, pictured at the Collingwood family day at AIA Vitality Centre on Sunday.Credit: Luis Ascui

Mum wasn’t so fine.

“I couldn’t stop crying, to tell you the truth,” she said. “I was just a mess … but it was a really proud moment.”

Joan Manalo watched at home with about 12 relatives while her son Elias, 7, imitated drummer Eric Singer on stage at the MCG, as dozens of other relatives texted and called.

She said Elias said he’d had “so much fun” and hadn’t wanted to leave the stage.

Elias Manalo pictured with his mum Joan during rehearsals.

“He woke up this morning going, ‘Can I do it all over again’?”

Molly Dunn, 9, who dressed as Paul Stanley’s Starchild character, performed in the 500-strong dance ensemble along with fellow students from the Melbourne Academy of Performing Arts in Spotswood.

Her proud mother, Amanda Dunn, said she was nervous at first when watching from home.

“I didn’t think she’d have any trouble with the routine, but it’s such an overwhelming thing to walk out in front of 100,000 people with a hugely famous rock band playing and to perform when you’re only nine,” Amanda said.

Molly Dunn, 9, preparing to dance with Kiss.

“But they all seemed to take it in their stride.”

“I was thrilled, to be honest. I just think it’s such an incredible experience for them. They’ll never forget this, I reckon.

“It’s the sort of thing that, when you’re an old lady you go, ‘I once danced at the pre-match show at the grand final’.”

“Molly was absolutely over the moon when she got home. She’d had such a great time.”

Tom Macdonald, chief creative officer at MushroomGroup, which produced the pre-game entertainment – including Kiss’ performance of three of their hits – said the four mini-Kiss members became a major feature of the show.

They were interviewed by a range of media outlets on Sunday at the Collingwood Football Club’s family day at AIA Vitality Centre near Olympic Park.

“They’ve been so popular; they’ve been doing more press today than anyone else,” Macdonald said.

He said that engaging the audience was important in a pre-game show, and the children had helped achieved this. “These 500 kids were rocking their hearts out. And they absolutely loved it, and it was beautiful to see,” he said.

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