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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Some dance, others judge

February 16. 2014 9:55PM

Some people are born to dance. Others are born to sit in a corner and judge them.

I, fortunately, fall into the latter category and the Manchester Community Music School has asked me back to judge this year's Dancing with the Stars gala on Thursday, March 20.

This year's local celebrity dancers are Cathy Schmidt, executive director and CEO of the McLane Law Firm; Pubali Chakravorty Campbell, owner of Bikram Yoga Manchester; Joe Graham, vice president/general manager of Clear Channel New Hampshire; and Alex Walker, senior vice president for operations & strategic development at Catholic Medical Center.

All are outstanding members of our community. But will they be outstanding on the dance floor? I will be the judge of that, along with Beth Roberts, senior vice president, regional markets, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care; Mike L'Ecuyer, president/CEO Bellwether Community Credit Union and last year's winner, and Jill Deleault, music school voice faculty, former Miss Nebraska, and local musical director and choreographer.

The 2013 Dancing With the Stars Gala was so well-attended they needed a bigger venue for 2014. Jeanine Tousignant, Manchester Community Music School CEO, said the event will be held at Manchester Community College's new student center at 1066 Front St.

The celebrities have already begun training with professional dancers from Royal Palace Dance Studio and Dimensions in Dance. They will dance to Broadway musical tunes performed by the NH Youth Jazz Ensemble.

The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets — $75 or $100 for VIP reception — include the entertainment as well as heavy hors d'oeuvres, cash bar and silent and live auctions. All proceeds go to the school's financial aid program.

Call 644-4548 to purchase tickets or visit

Field trip

While I hate to do it, I sometimes leave the Queen City. Last week, on a mission for my other job as eCommerce director of, I traveled to Keene in search of locally made products to bring our customers.

Keene has an adorable downtown, with a movie theater, and a good mix of eateries and retail shops. If you have a chance to visit, be sure to check out the Hannah Grimes Marketplace. The Main Street store sells a variety of items produced by your neighbors in New Hampshire and nearby states.

Helping Hillside again

Last year, the Hillside Middle School PTO wowed the community by holding an auction that raised more than $32,000 to fund technology at the school. Let's help them do it again.

This year's benefit auction will be held Friday, March 14, at the Puritan Conference and Event Center at 7 p.m. Tickets for this adults-only event are $25. There will be food, music and a silent and live auction.

Auction items and cash donations are still needed. Please contact Maureen Hamel at or Lisa Walsh at to buy tickets or make a donation.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

I bet you didn't know the New Hampshire Roller Derby season starts in April. It seems the non-profit, made up of six teams with clever names, had a pretty successful 2013 season. As a result, the group's Skate Free or Die All-Stars travel team has been invited to compete in roller derby tournaments all over the country and as far away as Germany.

To help with travel expenses, the skating ladies are holding a New Hampshire Roller Derby Disco Fundraiser at Social 24 Sports Lounge at 24 Depot St. on Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. The free event will feature roller derby bouts on the big screen, raffles, and beverage specials to support the team.

I am far too wimpy to compete in roller derby, but would love to see a bout. The group has a nicely designed and very informative website,, which explains the roller derby basics. It also has schedule and ticket information for anyone who wants to check out a home bout at J.F.K. Coliseum beginning April 12.

For more information on this and other alternative events, visit

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