Chatham Choir hosts annual Cabaret Benefit


Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman

On Sunday, October 25, Chatham students and members of the larger community gathered in Chatham’s Welker Room for an afternoon of music, food, and camaraderie at the Chatham Choir’s annual Cabaret Benefit.

Decorated to fit an autumn theme, the room was filled with round tables covered in red and black tablecloths with pumpkins, gourds, candles, and small pumpkin shaped beads as centerpieces. At each place setting was a program that listed the line-up for the evening’s performances.

In addition there were several long tables against the walls filled with food, drinks, and raffle baskets.

As guests arrived, Chatham Choir members clad in red “Chatham Choir Cabaret” shirts promptly came over to explain the afternoon’s festivities and take drink orders.

“Plates of food are $1.00, and drinks are $0.50,” explained Hannah Gregor, one of the servers, to the guests at the tables in her section. “All proceeds go to the Chatham Choir and music department”

The mocktails served at the event were all designed around a Chatham theme, and included creative concoctions such as the Ivy of Chatham, and The Carson.

After several minutes of eating and socializing, the approximately 50 guests at the event began to take their seats as the Chatham Choir members excused themselves and went into another room in preparation for the beginning of the show.

Shortly thereafter, Stacey Brett Conner, Director of Choral Activities, made her way to the microphone at the front of the room to welcome everyone and thank them for coming.

Conner told people to, “keep browsing and eating during the performances.”

“This is a cabaret,” she said, “It’s a casual setting.  It’s relaxed”

Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman
Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman

She finished by pointing out that with Chatham University going coeducational, the Chatham Choir has, “already started the ball rolling,” by allowing men to join and is actively seeking interest from men on Chatham’s campus.

The Chatham Choir then joined her at the front of the room, where they performed two ensemble pieces: “Come Fly With Me” and “Through the Eyes of Love.”  They were accompanied on the piano by accompanist Amy Kapp and student accompanist Kathryn Polaski.

Afterwards most of the choir members returned to serving the guests. They left the room one and two at a time to change into their performance clothes before going up to the microphone to perform their solo pieces.

There were a wide variety of musical styles through evening. The repertoire included everything from sophomore Camila Centeno-Bonnet’s rendition of “In The Cold, Cold Night” by The White Stripes–accompanied by guitarist Dane Hager, who wore a black suit and wolf mask–to audience favorite, junior Sarah Weinschenker’s performance of “Youkali” by Kurt Weill.

Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman
Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman

Weinschenker, who received an enthusiastic round of applause, was immediately followed by first-year Bethany Bookout, who joked with the audience saying, “How could you follow that up? Well I’m gonna try, so lets have a little fun!”

Later in the show Weinschenker returned to the microphone with graduate student Nicholas Bender to performe a duet of “A Little Priest” from the musical “Sweeney Todd.”  The two, rather than just singing the piece, performed it in a theatrical manner, much to the audience’s amusement.

As the show drew to a close, the Chatham Choir returned in full to perform its last piece. But first, they drew the winners of the raffle baskets, which one audience member joked was “rigged” because one woman won three different baskets.

The choir closed the show with a rendition of “With One Look” from the musical “Sunset Boulevard,” after which they dispersed to mingle with the audience and talk to their friends and family members in attendance.

Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman
Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman

The Chatham Choir’s next performance is Chatham’s Candlelight tradition on December 5 at 8 p.m. in the Campbell Memorial Chapel.