By Amber Wolf
Cabaret Night took on a Mother’s Day theme this year as the event, usually an October occurrence, was rescheduled to give the performers preparation time and coincide with the annual holiday on Sunday, May 11.
Attended by roughly 60 spectators, the show ran for two hours and showcased students and faculty singing pieces chosen from a variety of musical theater and film scores, including Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s Grease, Andrew Lippa’s The Addams Family, and Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s Frozen.
To accommodate those who wished to celebrate Mother’s Day with brunch or dinner, Chorale Director Joseph Horning said, the show opened at 4pm—earlier than most years’ and resulting in what Upper School Counselor and piano accompanist Doug Neuman called “a great afternoon.” Many performers sang about love, romance, and marriage. Mr. Horning read Billy Collins’ poem “The Lanyard,” which the author tributes to his own mother, and the event concluded with each student giving his or her mother a rose.
This year’s event was also remarkable for featuring two first-time faculty performers in addition to regulars Mr. Horning, Mr. Neuman, and Voice Teachers Rob Woodin and Adriana Repetto. Russian Teacher Joshua Walker performed “The Man and a Cat,” a Russian folk song, while History Teacher Susan Glazer sang two pieces by George Gershwin, “Summertime” and “I Got Rhythm,” from Porgy and Bess and Girl Crazy, respectively.
French Teacher Mireille Ciani, a four-time Cabaret Night attendee, praised the event as one of her favorite Arts Department offerings and said the combination of faculty and student acts was especially engaging.
“What I particularly liked about this show was that mixing students and faculty performances put [them] on an equal footing,” she said. “It provided an opportunity to discover hidden talents among faculty members, and it showcased the talent of students who may not have had an opportunity to star in other settings.”
Mr. Neuman added that “it was really nice to hear Ms. Glazer sing” and that “she has a phenomenal voice.”
For her part, Ms. Glazer said she enjoyed the chance to perform.
“It has been a while since I’ve been able to sing solo pieces for an audience,” she said, “and the audience was really receptive and supportive of my singing.”
She added that she enjoyed hearing students showcase talents not apparent in the classroom.
Ms. Glazer began taking singing lessons at age 14 and sang in choruses and theater productions through graduate school. She was given the chance to perform at this year’s chamber music concert on May 20, singing Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock” with HJ Hwang ’15. Mr. Walker also sang through graduate school, during which time he participated in an a cappella and many chorus groups.
Talia Curhan ’16, who sang “Adelaide’s Lament” from Frank Loesser’s musical Guys & Dolls, said she was both pleased and impressed by the event.
“The night turned out so well, and the performances were incredible,” she said. “[There were] so many unexpected yet wonderful talents.”
Mr. Horning said he particularly enjoyed a duet performance of “For Good” from Stephen Schwartz’s musical Wicked, sung by Michaela Kane and Sarah Clavijo (both ’14).
“It was one of my favorite moments,” he added. “As Michaela noted before the two started to sing, the piece is about the significance of what each has learned from the other in their friendship.”
Though this year’s event did not include any alumni performances, past Cabaret Night audiences have heard numbers from alumni such as Talene Monahon ’09, Ben Madsen ’09, and Brett Lovins ’93, some of whom—like Talene—went on to pursue acting or singing in college and beyond. In the future, Mr. Neuman said he hopes to see an increase in alumni participation.
“I love playing and listening to music, [so] it was nice to see students showcasing their talents,” he said, “but I would love to see more people involved.”