Choir Members Entertain and Inspire at Annual “Cabaret” Showcase

On Feb. 26, junior Kendall Grove showed her outstanding vocals, senior Cole Watts revealed his air drumming skills, and senior Bert Zhang exhibited his talent on the piano in Mt. Hebron’s 13th annual Cabaret fundraiser. Unlike traditional school musical performances, the Cabaret allowed choir students to sing compositions of their choice.

Audience members enjoyed not only music, but also the candle-lit atmosphere the Cabaret provided alongside dinner and dessert.

“It’s laid back, but formal. People  come to hear a wide variety of music,” said senior choir member Naomi Abankwah before the show.

Choral director Mr. Chris Hettenbach started this concert as a way to captivate students during the downtime that often persists after the holiday season.  He explained that the Cabaret began as a small catered event and has progressed to become a much larger concert with a potluck dinner.

Sophomore Alyssa Tschirgi described the planning that went into the concert, which involved more than just setting up the cafeteria.

“We started planning two months ahead of time,” Tschirgi explained. “Personally, I have a voice teacher and worked with him on my song. This was the perfect opportunity to perform what I have been practicing.”

Tschirgi sang a rendition of “I’m Not Afraid of Anything,” from the production Songs for a New World, and “I Know It’s Today,” from Shrek, The Musical, alongside fellow choir members sophomore Edima Essien and junior Alyssa Matanin.

This was not the only showcase that moved listeners. Senior Lauren Goodwin performed Sara Barielles’ “Love Song” effortlessly, and senior Naomi Abankwah brought audience members to tears with Miley Cyrus’ “When I Look at You.”

Senior Sarah Seen (front center), junior Lauren Poole (left), junior McKenna Bondura (back center) and senior Lauren Goodwin (right) pose in front of the iconic Cabaret poster.

Senior Sarah Seen (front center), junior Lauren Poole (left), junior McKenna Bondura (back center) and senior Lauren Goodwin (right) pose in front of the iconic Cabaret poster.

There were also groups of musicians that worked together. Sophomores Megan Scarbath, Emma Davis, Kevin Nolan and Sam Bishop, along with junior Tharen Rice, sang a unique a cappella version of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be.”  When asked about his experience, Rice said, “Working with a group was a bunch of fun. We didn’t stress each other out.”

After the thunderous applause for the clear success of countless soloists and group numbers had subsided, the entire concert choir brought the night to an end by singing the composition “Witness.”

Audience members had nothing but positive feedback about both the talent of the musicians and the enjoyable environment the Cabaret provided. One listener, junior McKenna Bondura, said, “It’s fun to see people sing what they really enjoy. In choir they don’t get to choose the songs they perform, and it’s nice to see people express themselves.”

The importance of artistic expression is emphasized at Mt. Hebron, especially with the the annual Cabaret.  The event helps to serve as a reminder of the significance that the arts hold in our lives.

As English teacher and Mt. Hebron parent Ms. Jennifer Goodwin said, “The arts are often overlooked because they are overshadowed by sports. Although I love sports, the arts need to be appreciated more.”

According to Mr. Hettenbach, the event raised sufficient funds to finance the endeavors of the choir program this year, providing support that will help these talented students continue to entertain and inspire the community.

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