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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: 'Dancing with Stars' on Elm Street

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

March 03. 2013 9:58PM

Last week I wrote about trying to dance in my first Zumba class. I think Jeanine Tousignant and her crew at the Manchester Community Music School must have seen my Merengue, because they asked me to be a judge - not a contestant - for their upcoming Dancing With the Stars competition.

Even though I won't be the next Stacey Kiebler, I am still beyond excited for this Share the Music Gala on Thursday, March 21. Other "celebrity" judges are Scott G. Christensen, managing partner at Northwestern Mutual Northern New England Financial Group, and Jill Deleault, of the music school's voice faculty. She is also a former Miss Nebraska and local musical director and choreographer. Deleault is clearly qualified to judge someone's dancing. I, on the other hand, will be giving top scores to anyone who doesn't fall down.

The "stars" we will be judging are Heidi Copeland, publisher of Millyard Communications and Business New Hampshire Magazine; Brady Sadler, vice president of Griffin, York & Krause; Mike L'Ecuyer, president and CEO of Bellwether Community Credit Union; and Deb Titus of Human Capital Solutions, LLC.

Just like the celebrities on the ABC show, these local stars have been training with professional dancers from Royal Palace Dance Studio on South Willow Street and Dimensions in Dance on Myrtle Street.

The fun starts at 5:30 p.m., March 21, at the Music School's 2291 Elm St. building.

In addition to the competition, attendees will enjoy 1940s jazz and swing classics performed by the NH Youth Jazz Ensemble, small plates, and a cash bar at the Griffin, York & Krause Side-Car Bar. Kudos to some of the businesses making this event possible, including Northwestern Mutual Northern New England Financial Group, AutoFair, Northeast Delta Dental, and Bellwether Credit Union.

Tickets are $75 per person or $600 for a table of eight. There will be a silent and live auction and proceeds will benefit the Music School's need-based financial aid program, which awards over $100,000 each year.

You can purchase tickets online by visiting or calling 644-4548.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

Despite the amount of Food Network I watch, I am still a horrible cook.

Simply Delish, a commercial kitchen in the Waumbec Mill is offering two classes this week for wannabe chefs like me. On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., owner Teresa Stauber and someone who goes by the name "Chef Brian" will offer lessons on how to prepare an array of Middle Eastern dishes, including kibbeh, tabouleh, hummus and baba ganoush. Students in a second class offered Saturday at 1:30 p.m. will be instructed on Asian cuisine, including spring rolls, dumplings, and lo mein noodles.

Stauber, a Bedford resident who has a past life as an oncology nurse, opened her kitchen more than two years ago after her Simply Delish business grew too big for space she had been renting. The wholesaler specializes in pasta salads, potato salads, home-style entrees and desserts made with fresh ingredients. The company's food can be found at several retailers around New England, including the Meat House. And Stauber said her pumpkin banana bread will soon be available at Whole Foods in North Andover, Mass.

Stauber said students of her hands-on class will learn how to make meals that are easy enough to prepare after a busy work day, but also healthy and a bit unusual.

"People will get their hands dirty," she promised, adding that everyone will be provided with the necessary tools, including knives, aprons and cutting boards.

At the end of the $50 class, students will get to taste their creations and leave with a goody bag of the dishes they made. If these classes go well, Stauber said she hopes to offer more next month. To reserve your spot, contact Stauber at 566-3189.

To find more information about this and other fun events in our area, visit

Panda update

It felt really strange walking into Gosselin's Superette asking if they had a painting of a panda. It's not what you would normally ask for at the Somerville Street staple known for its amazing meat selection. But longtime employee Mary Lou Enman, who was working at the front counter, kindly pointed me to the wall.

OK, I cheated. I could not figure out where the "Traveling Panda" painting has been visiting for the past couple of weeks, so I made my husband tell me where it was.

When I got to the store, Enman called for the store's owner to come out and talk to me, and I finally realized why the "Traveling Panda" found a home at Gosselin's. Proprietor James Pelletier is the parent of my son's classmate at Child Guidance Early Learning Center, where the painting was hanging previously. And because this is Manchester, the city of many connections, he also happens to be married to one of my high school track coaches, Kristine Haveles-Pelletier.

Pelletier's parents owned Gosselin's for a couple of decades before he took it over somewhere between five and 10 years ago. (He and Enman could not quite agree how long it had been.) In a city where businesses seem to come and go on a weekly basis, it is nice to see steadfast family businesses like Gosselin's.

So far, "Traveling Panda" has made its way from Muse Paint Bar, where he was created, to Double Midnight Comics and Collectibles, then to Child Guidance and finally Gosselin's. I understand her next anonymous owner has already been lined up.

If you see the "Traveling Panda" hanging somewhere, please send an email to or give me a hint on our "Traveling Panda" Facebook page. If your business would like to host the painting in exchange for a donation to the Santa Fund, please contact Chris Proulx at Double Midnight Comics at 669-9636.

See the dinos

Have you been to SEE to see the dinosaurs? I have. Twice. And since I have three boys, I will most likely be visiting them several more times before they stomp off to a new location after June 16.

The life-like robotic dinosaurs are pretty neat, and even a little scary, especially if you are a 6-year-old boy. But the $8 per person cost for ages 3 and up seems a little steep for an exhibit that takes no more than 10 minutes to walk through.

I suggest families make a day of it and pay the special $12 price that lets you enjoy all the other SEE Science Center exhibits. An even better deal, if you plan on living there like my family, is to purchase a SEE family membership for $80. This will get you free admission to SEE for a year and half-price admission to the Dinosaurs. SEE is a great place to visit any day, and its Lego replica of the Millyard impresses me every time I see it.

SEE and the Dinosaur exhibit are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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