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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Sing (even badly) for a truly great cause

May 18. 2014 8:56PM

I like karaoke singers with amazing voices, but I love karaoke singers with horrible voices and a lot of confidence.

One judge of an upcoming city karaoke competition agrees with me.

“Confidence is key,” said Pubali Campbell, owner of Bikram Yoga Manchester. “Talent has a time and place but it’s the willingness to challenge yourself that impresses me the most.”

It sounds like Emilia Belouin may be a shoo–in at the June 6 Sing for a Cause – a Karaoke Experience to End Homelessness. The fundraiser at Milly’s Tavern will to benefit The Way Home.

“Do I have a good voice? Nope,” said Belouin, who has worked as a volunteer and staff member of the non-profit since 1992.

But the 60-year-old said she loves to sing, old country songs in particular, and she makes sure to dress the part in her “finest long skirt and, you know, bling.”

And confidence? She exudes it (at least over the phone) and even teaches a self-esteem class for The Way Home called “Finding the Winner Within.” Who can compete with that?

The Way Home’s competitive karaoke singing competition begins at 9 p.m. that Friday, and includes appetizers, a cash bar and silent auction.

Belouin, who will probably sing something by Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn, said she hopes the event will help raise money for some of The Way Home’s programs she works on, including the pick-up and delivery of donated furniture and apartment inspections.

In addition to Campbell, judges include Executive Councilor Chris Pappas and Todd Griffin with Stark Brewing Co. If you have what it takes to belt it out alongside Belouin, you can sign up ahead of time by contacting Rhonda Kenny at 218-1424 or Registration will also be available at the event. Tickets are $15.

The Way Home is a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income households obtain and sustain safe, affordable housing throughout New Hampshire. Since 1988, the organization has assisted more than 20,000 homeless and high risk families, individuals, veterans and special needs clients with their housing needs.

Fresh fish

The NH Community Seafood group will begin delivering fresh, New Hampshire-caught fish to Manchester every Thursday, beginning June 12.

This is the second year of the organization’s Community Supporter Fishery (CSF) program, which brings members healthy, local protein fish while supporting our state’s fishermen.

Manchester residents who sign up for the program can pick up their fish between 3 and 6 p.m. at Brookside Church on Elm Street. The location will change to Victory Park once the city’s Farmer Market opens for the season.

Another benefit to CSF, which my family participated in last year, is having the opportunity to try species of fish you cannot find in your average grocery store. And it all comes fileted and ready to cook with recipe suggestions.

I guess my family wasn’t the only one that enjoyed the program in its inaugural year. After such a successful 2013, Sarah VanHorn, Josh Wiersma and the rest of the CSF organizers have decided to expand to nine delivery locations across the state.

To see a full list of delivery locations, learn more, and purchase your share of fresh fish, visit

Garden party time

It is hard to miss The Moore Center’s annual Garden Party. This enticing springtime soiree takes place under a huge, white tent on the front lawn of Brady Sullivan tower, right where Elm Street and the Amoskeag Bridge meet.

This year’s event on Thursday, June 19, is raising money specifically for the Moore Center’s autism services. Attendees will also be there to honor Raymond Cote, a long-time Manchester resident, philanthropist and former president of Harvey Construction.

Cote worked for Harvey Construction for 30 years and has been actively involved in the community with numerous organizations, including New Horizons of NH soup kitchen, Easter Seals Veterans Count and the Bishops Annual Fund. Cote was named Citizen of the Year by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce in 1992, and is retired from the New Hampshire National Guard.

I attended my first Garden Party last year, as a guest of Ruth Ansell, who died of brain cancer last month. Ruth was a Bedford trust and estate lawyer who helped me find my footing as an advisor to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. She was known for her philanthropic endeavors, including sponsorship of the Garden Party. I am sure this is one of many annual social events where Ruth’s absence will be felt.

The Garden Party is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 each, and can be purchased by calling 206-2722.

Don’t miss the parade

Next Monday is Memorial Day, and the city’s annual parade will head down Elm Street on Monday, May 26, at 2 p.m.

The parade, featuring various veteran groups and the marching bands of each Manchester senior and junior high school, will culminate with a ceremony at Veteran’s Park at around 3 p.m.

Parade organizer Mike Lopez said all veterans will be honored at this year’s parade, with a specific focus on Vietnam veterans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that war. Bill Whitmore, commander of Sweeney Post and a veteran, is expected to talk about Vietnam.

Dignitaries including Mayor Ted Gatsas, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter will attend, Lopez said.

NH365.ORG event of the week

The New Hampshire Philharmonic has planned a powerful, live performance for Memorial Day weekend. Into the Light, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Palace Theatre, will feature bold and beautiful music to honor our women and men in uniform and those who died in our nation’s service.

Music pieces will include “America the Beautiful,” Handel “Water Music”, the “Armed Services Medley,” and more.

Tickets are $12 to $50. For more information on this, and other Memorial Day events visit

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