Sixteen vie for title of Westport's Voice


Saturday event to raise money for Snyder Tennis Center

Three years ago, a group of Westport' 'stars' put on their dancing shoes in support of the Dianne B. Snyder Tennis Complex.

Building on that example, 16 brave contestants will gather Saturday evening, each in an attempt to convince coaches and audience that theirs is Westport's true 'Voice.'

Fans of the hit NBC television show 'The Voice' will understand the concept, says Pam Manchester who is among the event's organizers.

"'Dancing With the Westport Stars'" was such a success that a lot of people wanted to do it again," but it was a really challenging event to get together.

Ms. Manchester said the inspiration for Westport's Voice came from the television show.

"It's such a great show, so much fun, that we thought it would be something we could pull off … it seemed like a fun night out."

She worried, though, about attracting enough courageous singers to compete.

"I shouldn't have," she said. Some 30 people showed up at last month's auditions at White's of Westport. From that number, 16 contestants were selected: Cassandra Furtado, Catherine Noversa, Hallie Manchester, Danielle Haskett, Evan Kinnane, Jessica Thibault, Jade Vidinha, Charles Noversa, Julia Whelan, Julie Reitzas, Kelsey DeGouveia, Mia Rapoza, Michelle Oliveri, Sean Raidonait, Steve Medeiros and Jacquelyn Legendre.

"They are wonderful," Ms. Manchester said, and bring lots of variety. Among them are country singers, a few rockers, R&B — "all sorts of music."

They range in age from around 16 to 40s and 50s.

And they come from Westport, Little Compton, Dartmouth, Tiverton, New Bedford, Fall River and other nearby towns.

After each contestant sings an opening 90-second piece, four coaches — Blakeslee Snyder, Kelsey Jacobsen, Freddie Feliciano and Ted Boudria — will each pick four of the 16 contestants to compete on their team.

Blakeslee is the daughter of Westport resident Dianne B. Snyder who was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to be flown into the World Trade Center  on 9/11/2001. She was an avid tennis player and the tennis center was founded in her memory.

After the teams have been chosen,  teammates will sing together in a group "face-off' song.

The coaches will have then have the tough task of selecting one of their four team members to make it to the finals — four singers, one from each team.

After another performance, the winner, who will take home $500, will be chosen by paper ballot vote of audience and judges.

Westport's Voice will be Saturday, Nov. 9, at White's of Westport starting with cocktails then dinner at 6 p.m. and competition at 7:30 p.m. Master of Ceremonies will be Jim Mullins — he also emceed Dancing With The Westport Stars.

Tickets are $50 per person; $500 reserves a table of 10. Funds raised will benefit the tennis center.

For more information, call 508-916-8512 or email


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

2016 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Prudence Island · Riverside · Rumford · Seekonk · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.