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Scene in Manchester: Three mystery musicians revealed

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

March 25. 2012 6:59PM

Turns out that Centrix Bank co-founder and president Joe Reilly is more than just a banker. He's also a quite the musician. Reilly was one of three 'mystery guests' revealed at last week's Share the Music Gala to support the Manchester Community Music School.

Two other surprise guests, Rich Ashooh, a vice president at BAE Systems and former Congressional candidate, and Robin Comstock, chief executive officer for the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, also joined the show.

Ashooh, a pianist, is no stranger to the stage, having played keyboards in a band called 'Without Paris.'

In his younger years, Reilly played the trumpet, following in the footsteps of his older brother, an accomplished trumpet player.

The show revealed that Comstock comes from a very musical family. Her grandfather was the Big Band director for ABC, her father was a musician and cameraman for Hollywood Studios, her mother was a jazz dancer and her brother is an accomplished guitarist.

While Comstock doesn't play an instrument herself, she really rocked the maracas during the trio's on-stage performance at the gala.

The group held super-secret band practices leading up to the event with music school head Jeanine Tousignant, who played clarinet, and board member George Reagan, who played drums. They joined the school's New Hampshire Youth Jazz Ensemble for the performance. (We're hoping there is a YouTube video out there somewhere.)

Hats off to everyone involved for keeping a good secret, and especially to the three mystery guests for sharing their talents for a good cause.

The gala, which was presented as a 1950s-style game show included a 'flash mob,' choreographed by the Dimensions In Dance studio, 1950s trivia, a martini bar and an adopt-a-musician auction. The event raised nearly $60,000 to support need-based scholarships for students.

Manchester Community Music School serves 1,200 students annually, with current students ranging from ages 6 months through 93 years.

Have you been flocked?

If you've ever awakened to a lawn full of plastic flamingoes, you've been flocked. The fund-raising antic, recently organized by the First Congregational Church's youth group, is all in good fun and helped support the group's upcoming trip to a national youth event to learn about hunger programs. We're told that the experience provided a joyful, joke-filled experience for the 'flockers' and the 'flocked.' Youth group members and leaders had code names - like Mother Goose, Bluejay, Red Robin, Henny Penny, Songbird, and The Swan - and met after dark to perform their good-natured caper.

For several months the pink lawn flamingoes appeared on Queen City lawns. Each time, 28 pink lawn flamingoes were delivered under the cover of night for a $15 delivery fee. A brochure explaining the program was affixed to the recipient's front door, and for a $20 'Animal Control Fee,' the birds were removed immediately. For another charge, the recipient could send the flock to visit another address of their choice, and to avoid being 'flocked' all together, one could purchase 'Pest Control Insurance' for $25.

While the church is no longer taking orders for new deliveries, you can still support the group's endeavor. Checks can be made payable to First Congregational Church Youth Group and mailed to the church at 508 Union St.

The flocking is just one of the innovative ways we've noticed the First Congregational Church interacting with its members. The Sunday bulletin also includes a QR Code, which can be scanned to give parishioners more information about church activities or the day's message. The church is also pretty active on Facebook, where the QR Codes are frequently posted on their page. Check them out.

Hickeys: Cool or crude?

We got a few chuckles while reading a recent article about hickeys published in Central High School's Little Green last week. Printed on the New Hampshire Union Leader's presses, we often get a sneak peek at the school's newspaper. Kudos to Little Green editor Aiden Connell for presenting the story in a well-written, entertaining, and, um, tongue-in-cheek way. With references to a 2004 'Seventh Heaven' episode and lines like, 'These red marks have adorned the necks of teenage Romeo and Juliets since, well, the days of Romeo and Juliet,' we will be sure to keep an eye out for future stories by Connell. Event of the Week

The Palace Theatre is showing 'Chicago' for the second weekend. This electrifying tale of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery is playing Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. If you don't catch it this weekend, they have other shows scheduled through April 14.

If you would like your event to appear in the Scene in Manchester column, be sure to add it to our free events calendar at

Scene in Manchester is a weekly column of social tidbits from around the Queen City assembled by Teresa Robinson and Katie McQuaid. If you have an interesting item for Scene in Manchester, email it to

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