MANCHESTER, NH – Politicians are known for their competitive nature – it’s all part of the game. That’s why Ward 8 aldermanic candidate Ed Sapienza figured a Candidate Karaoke throw down would be a great way for those on the Manchester municipal ballot to blow off a little steam and set themselves apart from the rest of the pack, while having some fun.
He put out the call via Facebook for all candidates on the ballot. Surprisingly, several took him up on it.
Sapienza, who says he’s a karaoke newbie, took to the stage with confidence at City Sports Grille, adjacent to Spare Time bowling alley, and kicked the night off with a heartfelt rendition of the Lou Rawls classic, “You’ll Never Find.”
He owned it.
Sapienza acknowledges that things on the campaign trail can get a little intense, which is why a night out for singing and socializing is a good way to put politics on the back burner and reinforce the idea that a harmonious community is the best community, no matter who wins or loses on Nov. 3. He organized the event with the help of DJ Dave Martinez, who runs karaoke at City Sports Grille on Friday nights.
Coincidentally, Rand Paul happened to be at SpareTime bowling alley for a Bowling for Liberty Event, which concluded at 8 p.m., just as Sapienza was taking the stage.
He was a no show for karaoke, which turned out to be a missed opportunity for Paul, who no doubt could have boosted his poll numbers with the right song pick.
But Ward 9 NH State Rep. Victoria Sullivan, R-Manchester, didn’t hesitate. She pointed out that she isn’t on the ballot this time around, which perhaps empowered her to sing with reckless abandon and no fear of being judged by the electorate.
She was there for the Paul event, but joined the karaoke crowd afterward, along with her two sons, Buddy, 11, and Seamus, 9 – Sullivan not only got to cheer on her boys as they did a rousing rendition of “Uptown Funk,” but also exercised her vocals for two numbers. Her colleague, State Rep. Eric Eastman, R-Nashua, also joined the karaoke party after kegling with the Liberty caucus.
Other candidates who found their groove included school committee candidates Lisa Freeman from Ward 5, who sang “Black Horse and Cherry Tree;” Rich Girard, who channeled Depeche Mode with his rendition of “People are People;” and Jimmy Lehoux, who sang “Drift Away.” Diane Guimond, who is running for Welfare Commissioner, donned a headscarf to mimic Cher’s long locks during an “I Got You, Babe,” duet with Michael Porter.
Mayoral candidate Joyce Craig stopped in for a nightcap following the mayoral forum at Webster School with her husband, Michael. She declined to sing, suggesting that she was actually doing the crowd a favor, but said she was there in support of her longtime friend, Sapienza.
Seeing Craig enter the bar, Girard decided to text Mayor Ted Gatsas to see if he was able to swing by and pick up where the forum left off with some vocal fisticuffs, but Gatsas was already having a date night with his wife, Cassandra.
Ward 5 Alderman Tony Sapienza – brother of Ed – also showed up. When asked if he’d be singing a duet with his brother, he said, “Absolutely not.”
Also among those spotted not singing: School Committee candidates Joseph LaChance (At-Large) and Larraine Lencki (Ward 6); State Rep. Tammy Simmons, R-Manchester (not on the ballot); Ward 1 candidate for Alderman, Andre Rosa.
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