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                Page 18 NEWFOUNDLAKELIFE.COM August 2021 Sports
“Dancing Under the Stars” Hit It Out of Kelley Park While Raising Money for Voices Against Violence
 By Donna rhoDes
BRISTOL – After a year off due to the Corona virus, Voices Against Violence made a big comeback with their annual Danc- ing with the Community Stars fundraiser on July 15th, which was moved this year to Kelley Park in Bristol and aptly renamed “Dancing Under the Stars,” in an outdoor location where the public could safely enjoy the event.
The stars for the evening were familiar faces from the Plymouth and Newfound Regions.
Emceed by Danee Dalphonse and MaryAnn Barnsley, former Newfound Athletic Director Peter Cofran and his partner from Plymouth’s Synergy Dance Stu- dio, Samantha Brode were the first to take to the stage. Dressed in Red Sox gear, they tossed pea- nuts to the audience then set out on a crowd-pleasing performance to “Sweet Caroline,” the unofficial
theme of the Sox. “So good, so good, so good,” they all shouted throughout portions of the song.
Judges for the event were Steve Furbish of the Uncle Steve Band, Tapply-Thompson Community Center’s Executive Director Les- lie Dion and Bristol Firefighter Jason Rivera. Their light-hearted comments and votes for the cou- ple included “You hit that out of the park,” from Dion, and a vote of “Five Green Monsters” from Rivera.
Number two on the program was Bristol Town Clerk/Tax Col- lector Raymah Simpson. Part- nered with Jeff Brode, Samantha’s husband, they kicked their heels up to Bob Seager’s tune, “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Signs held up by her fans and the roar of the crowd showed audience approval for their dance, too.
“Our tax dollars at work,” Dion, also on the Board of Se- lectmen, declared with a smile.
Furbish said he was so inspired by the performance that he wanted to go pay his taxes, even though he doesn’t live in Bristol.
Next up, residents from the Plymouth area battled back with their dancing skills. Matty Leigh- ton, a member of the Voices Against Violence Board of Direc- tors and recently retired from her position at Plymouth State Univer- sity, was partnered with Plymouth Regional High School Sophomore Sam Barnsley, a 13-year veteran of dance at Synergy Dance Studio. The two dressed in GI uniforms and rallied the crowd with their dance to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” The two aptly received a 21- gun salute from Furbish, a hats off compliment from Dion and five stars from Rivera for their perfor- mance.
Lake Life Realty staff member Ryann Haskell and Tink Copplin, a “Dancing with the Community Stars” veteran and member of Plymouth Professionals, tipped their caps to the audience in a dra- matic dance to a slow version of Michael Jackon’s hit song, “Beat It.” Excited by their performance, Rivera said, “Forget the King of Pop, you are the Queens of Pop,” as he gave them a “platinum album” on his voting board.
Last but not least was Plym- outh Regional High School Band Director Will Gunn and his fian- cée, Gaia Posner, a Plymouth so- cial worker. Dressed as Luigi and Mario, the newly engaged duo did a lively dance to a Persian piece ti- tled “Jooneh Khodet” by the Black Cats. Mushrooms, smiley faces and a Giant Sonic the Hedgehog popped up on the judges’ voting boards following their act.
After a rollicking community dance session while votes were being tallied, the winners were announced. And while everyone agreed all five were deserving of a trophy, the Judges Award this year went to Will and Gaia. Ray- mah and Jeff took home the Peo- ples Award for raising a total of $1,000, and Matty and Sam won the Voices Award for the most votes received from the evening’s audience members.
Total funds raised that evening were $8,000, all of which will help support victims of domestic and
Will Gunn and Gaia Posner thanked judges Steve Furbish, Leslie Dion and Jason Rivera after receiving the Judges award at Voices Against Violence’s “Dancing Under the Stars” fundraiser in Bristol’s Kelley Park on July 15th. PHOTOS BY DONNA RHODES
Raymah Simpson and her partner Jeff Brode were pleased to bring home the Peoples Award for being a crowd favorite at the July 15th “Dancing Under the Stars” fundraising event for Voices Against Violence.
Meg Kennedy Dugan, Executive Director of Voices Against Violence
(far left), congratulated Matty Leighton and Sam Barnsley, this year’s winners of the Voices Award in the “Dancing Under the Stars” fundraiser held July 15th at Bristol’s Kelley Park.
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sexual violence in the more than 20 communities served by Voices Against Violence. Executive Direc- tor Meg Kennedy Dugan thanked everyone for their support and Chair of the Development Com- mittee, Marcie Gowen-Nobley, said they were pleased to bring their annual dance competition to Bristol this year so more could
learn about the services they pro- vide.
“We wanted the Newfound area to know we are here for them,” she told the audience.
To learn more about Voices Against Violence, ways to support them and how to become involved, visit them online at www.voice-
~ A Tradition of Caring Service ~
CYNTHIA M. ROGERS Licensed Funeral Director
115 South Main Street, Bristol, New Hampshire 03222

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