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  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich
    Grabbing seats as they train for the Musical Chairs World Championships are from left, Shawn Currier, Charlie Britt, and Jerry Brown on Saturday at Best Fitness in Nashua. The championships are scheduled to held in June in Amesbury, Ma.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich
    Making a mad dash to get a seat are from left to right, Charlie Britt, Shawn Currier, Jerry Brown, and Jettie Borresen as they train at Best Fitness in Nashua for the upcoming Musical Chairs World Championships to be held in Amesbury, Ma in June.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich
    Charlie Britt, front center, and Jettie Borresen, right, scramble to get a seat at Best Fitness in Nashua on Saturday as they train for the Musical Chairs World Championships to be held in June. ALso trying to get seats are Jerry Brown, left, and Shawn Currier, rear.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich
    The logo for the Musical Chairs World Championship's adorns a t-shirt.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich
    Jettie Borresen, front, and Charlie Britt, rear, train at Best Fitness in Nashua for the upcoming Musical Chairs World Championships to be held in June at the Amesbury Sports Park in Amesbury, Ma.
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nashua’s Best Fitness prepares trainees for first-ever Musical Chairs World Championships on June 16

NASHUA – Don’t tell Fred Smith that musical chairs is just a game.

For Smith, musical chairs has become so much more: a chance to grow his small business, break a world record and raise money for local charities.

Smith, a Lowell, Mass., native and the executive director of SmithFest Events – known for organizing the world’s largest scavenger hunt – has spent the past 18 months organizing a new attraction: the Musical Chairs World Championships, to be held June 16.

The championships will aim to break the world record for the most people playing musical chairs. The winner of the competition will receive $10,000 and an additional $5,000 to give to a charity of their choice.

While the event will be held in Amesbury, Mass., Smith is involving as many people from the region as possible.

He named Best Fitness, including its Gate City location, the official training center of the first-ever competition.

On Saturday, Smith was at Best Fitness, where trainers and interested “sitters” – as musical chair competitors are called – participated in the first week of training for the musical chairs championships.

The gym will hold a free session every Saturday this month and will offer the classes to anyone in the community, whether they are a Best Fitness member or not.

Fitness professional Nicole LoPresti lead the first training session Saturday and said trainers at the local Best Fitness worked hard to create a workout that would get people in shape to run, jump and, of course, sit.

LoPresti said she was shocked when she first heard about a musical chairs competition and couldn’t help but laugh Saturday as she described how local fitness professionals had designed a workout for musical chair competitors.

“It was a surprise to me,” she said of hearing about the world championships. “But I’m really into plyometrics training, and that’s what this is, a lot of explosive leg movements.”

LoPresti said the musical chairs training consists of about eight to 10 different exercises, most of which strengthen participants’ lower body and improve agility. Each exercise is performed for one minute, with short breaks in between.

“An ideal candidate would be someone with a good fitness foundation already, so we can get into the more intense circuit training,” she said. “But it’s open for anyone, as long as they have a strong drive and motivation.”

Jettie Borresen, 20, of Nashua, was one of several people who took part in Saturday’s training, and said she heard about the world championships a few weeks ago on Facebook.

“I thought it was really funny,” she said. “And $10,000 could pay off a lot of student loans.”

While Borresen said she does have some history with the game, having played at school functions as a child, she had no idea what to expect of the training session. She said she assumed correctly that there would be jumping involved.

Borresen bounced around the Best Fitness training area with several other participants for a half-hour, racing and leaping to sit in one of three chairs before her competitors.

And while those training at Best Fitness seemed to enjoy their workout, laughing and joking throughout, Smith said the competition will be serious.

He hopes to have more than 8,238 competitors in the Musical Chairs World Championships next month in order to break the world record, and said the competition will break competitors up into four rounds of about 2,600 players and two semifinal rounds of 1,600 sitters. The final round will involve 1,000 competitors.

Smith said the competition will be governed by a long list of rules that can be summarized as follows: no pushing, no shoving, no elbowing, just sitting.

There will be one referee for every 40 players, he said, so the rules will be strongly enforced.

“People shouldn’t feel uncomfortable to come play,” he said.

Smith has long been coming up with ideas for interesting fundraisers and said he thinks he hit on a particularly great one when he thought of the Musical Chairs World Championships last year.

He first came up with the idea as a way to help a Massachusetts family raise money, but soon realized that no other similar event existed. After doing some research and a lot of planning, Smith decided to make the event as huge as possible.

“If there can be a world championship in air guitar, there should definitely be a world championship in musical chairs,” he said Saturday.

In addition to the actual competition, the event will feature plenty of fun for attendees and competitors who get cut from the game early in the day – including live music, food vendors and other activities.

“It’s basically an all-day celebration of music with musical chairs,” he said.

Smith said he hopes the event is a success and that it can one day grow into a national event, with qualifying competitions around the country, all leading to the finals in Massachusetts.

“It’s awfully ambitious, but we like to go big,” he said.

Danielle Curtis can be reached at 594-6557 or dcurtis@nashuatelegraph.com.