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From wacky to wonderful, Winnisquam does have talent



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Aly D'Abraccio, Sam Magoon, Audriana Mekula and Michaela Bryant tied for first with their lip sync to N’Sync's song “Bye, Bye, Bye.” Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
March 17, 2010
TILTON — Eerily resembling another famous rock band, a group calling itself KOPSS made an appearance at Winnisquam's Got Talent on Saturday night to help raise money for the Winnisquam Regional High School's Class of 2010 Chem Free graduation party.

The group, rumored to actually be members of the Tilton police department beneath all that make-up, were the closing act of a successful evening, which raised nearly $1,100 toward the senior trip to Lake George, N.Y.

This year another group of police officers got involved in New Hampshire's longest running and most successful Chem Free program, as the Laconia Police Department kicked the night off. Tom Swett, School Resource officer Stephen Orton, Adam Marsh and Donald Kimtis, who called themselves Bustin', a play on the '70's band Boston, rocked the crowd as they lip-synced and played air guitar with brooms while decked out in bright orange Belknap County Corrections detainee uniforms.

WRHS staff were not to be outdone as they, too, got into the act. "Staff Infection" was made up of teachers who put down their textbooks and pulled out their instruments to perform "If You Could Only See" by Tonic.

English and Drama teacher Neal Byles, science teacher Eric Anderson, Guidance Councilor Mark Dotter, and Josh Blanchard of the Social Studies department, along with Brendan Finnegan from Pembroke who joined them on drums, wowed the crowd with their musical talents. Byles returned later in a solo act where he electronically added chords from a ukulele, bass and electric guitar to enhance the performance.

"This is something I never did before and it could be really cool or a complete train wreck. Either way it'll be entertaining," Byles told the crowd while readying his instruments and multiple foot pedals. After a few minor technical difficulties, the feat proved to be "really cool," as he played an original song titled "Beginnings of You."

Students from WRHS participating in the show were all vying for first and second place prize money. Solos by Mariah Crooker, singing "Last Night" by the band Skillet, and Mary Beck who sang "Summertime" to the piano accompaniment of fellow student Robert Laraway, proved that Winnisquam does indeed have talent. The student band Clockwork, which took second place in last year's competition, had everyone cheering and a new entry this year, 10 Seconds Too Late, showed their musicality with an original song titled Mirror Monster. Tyler Proulx, decked out in a black top hat, jammed on his guitar to the drumming of classmate Zach Long. In two quieter moments Greta DeVolder impressed all with her piano solo and J.J. Call took the spotlight to read his poem Lonelynesses. A lip sync and dance was performed by Aly D'Abbraccio, Sam Magoon, Audriana Mekula and Michaela Bryant, who pulled out all the stops with the N'Sync song "Bye, Bye, Bye," a big crowd pleaser as the evening wound down.

Master of Ceremonies Daren Robinson came onstage to announce the long awaited surprise performance of the night by the "band" KOPSS, comprised of Tilton Police Chief Bob Cormier, Corporal Merek Weisensee, School Resource Officer Luke Pinault and Sgt. Dickie Paulhus.

Robinson introduced them by saying, "It's going to be hard to beat last year's Village People but I think they may pull it off!"

As he stepped aside, the curtain opened to lights, smoke and the four policemen as they have never been seen before. From their platform boots to their wild wigs and full face make-up, they strutted the stage and lip-synced in their finest KISS imitation to the hit song "Rock and Roll All Night." Weisensee, masquerading as lead singer Gene Simmons, had the fans on their feet cheering as he taunted them, stuck out his tongue in KISS tradition and danced and leapt across the stage with the others as they "played" guitar and drums, singing "You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy!" As they performed, a donation bowl was set on the edge of the stage and fans of the group were encouraged to come forward and donate more money towards the Chem Free organization.

Judges Fred Caruso and Amy Bates from Mix 94.1FM and Elizabeth Wirtz from the WRHS guidance department had a tough time making their decision as to who would claim first and second place this year. Caruso confessed they had a tie and split the prize money between the ladies from the dance/lip sync act and Robert Laraway and Mary Beck for their performance of "Summertime." The students in turn donated their winnings to the night's tally. Laconia Police also presented the organization with a check for $100.

Chem Free advisor Sonia Shaw said the evening was a big success, exceeding last year's totals for donations.

"I thought it was a great night. Tilton and Laconia PD went above and beyond and did a wonderful job for us. It was really a lot of fun, and I can't thank them enough," she said.

Sponsors for the event were Quantum Construction Consultants, Robert's Boiler and Furnace Service, Shalimar Resort, Tilt'n Diner, Lakes Region Bottling, Mix 94.1 FM, Mary Kay, Melt Away Creamery and Sandwichery, CoRe, Dun/Rite Home Maintenance, Dipsy Doodle Dairy Bar, Lil' Red Baron of Newport, N.H. and the Laconia and Tilton police departments.

Tax-deductible contributions to the program are gratefully accepted at any time. Check should be made payable to WRHS Chem Free and mailed to the high school at 435 West Main Street in Tilton.

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