Voices ring out to raise funds for animals

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Talented musicians and performers will converge on the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich on Saturday, Sept. 8 for a benefit concert to raise funds for the East Greenwich Animal Protection League’s animal shelter.

“Tunes for Tails” is headlined by Woonsocket native and NBC talent show The Voice standout Emily Luther, and will include performances from Joe Catanzaro, Megan Mahoney, Kyle Buonfiglio, Myranda Silva, Kevin Martin (currently on the cast of the Broadway tour of “Jersey Boys”), Jessica Rowboat (also seen on The Voice), the Academy Players of Rhode Island and the Providence Ballet Theatre.

Luther, 26, has already led a life in singing showbusiness that has taken her from community theater performances at Woonsocket’s Stadium Theatre, to viral videos with acclaimed musician and fellow Berklee College of Music grad Charlie Puth that got her a couple spots on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, to her recent run on The Voice, where she was enthusiastically chosen by all four professional judges at her audition and then proceeded to the playoffs on Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s team.

“I pretty much grew up on the stage,” Luther said of her beginnings in Woonsocket that led her to Los Angeles during the 8-month period competing in The Voice. Now back home in Rhode Island, Luther is now teaching voice lessons and performing every chance she gets. She will headline Autumn West in Woonsocket, which begins Oct. 7.

She was introduced to the East Greenwich Animal Protection League through a connection she formed with WPRI reporter Kim Kalunian, whose mother, Karen, is a board member and jack-of-all-trades for the shelter. Luther said that she and Kim worked together years ago at Theatre by the Sea in Wakefield. Kim will emcee the event, as well.

Luther, a strong animal advocate and dog-mom to a rescued pooch named “Winnie Cooper” herself, said it was a no-brainer to participate in the benefit for the shelter, especially once she got a tour of the facility and saw how much work went into finding forever homes for dogs.

“They work tirelessly to help these animals,” she said. “The people there are super passionate about the animals and are trying to finish several projects. A lot more goes into it that I was educated on.”

Luther said she grew up on a farm with her family, where her mother became known as the animal lover who would provide shelter to a large array of animals in need.

“We always grew up with animals in the home and they were always the animals that needed help the most,” Luther said. “My family and I are huge animal lovers and it's been a lifelong value that has been instilled in me to help out those who are the most unfortunate and need it the most, and animals don't have a voice to say they need help.”

Tickets for the event cost $30 and are available on the Odeum’s website (greenwichodeum.com) or by calling the box office at 401-885-4000. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the performance starts at 7 p.m. Proceeds from the event will assist the shelter in its day-to-day operations, as well as finish projects within the shelter, such as the cat portion and the surgical suite, according to Karen Kalunian.

“I think it's going to be a great way to raise funds for the animals,” Kalunian said. “I think people will really enjoy themselves.”

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