Photo: Edymar Hurtado
Author: Edymar Hurtado
A Saturday afternoon, food, good music and prizes…a perfect combination for the Cabaret Benefit event held by the Chatham University Choir in Laughlin Music Hall, which raised money for the group.
The program consisted of 17 songs interpreted by the choir, which was divided in four groups: Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I and Alto II.
The event started with the group singing “Seize the Day” from the musical “Newsie.” Five tables around them were full of the choir’s families and friends; all excited and prepared to enjoy the night.
When finished with the first piece, the conductor welcomed everyone and invited them to purchase a plate for a dollar, buy a beverage for 50 cents, or to buy a ticket for the raffle baskets.
The first solo was by sophomore Lindsay Bost, who sang “Maybe This Time” of Joe Masteroff’s “Cabaret.” After 3 songs, the voice of Choir Vice President Justine Barry surprised the audience with “Rise Up” by Andra Day.
Barry, a senior, said that the choir started preparing this event in September and that they have worked hard to learn all the pieces. Also, regarding to her preparation for “Rise Up” she said: “I have four practices a week of one hour-long by myself and with the group.”
After Barry came the first duet as senior Hannah Gregor and sophomore Francesca Fello sang “Let Me Be Your Star” from the short-lived television show “Smash.”
Then the choir surprised everyone with bright colorful collars and lots of enthusiasm while singing “I Got Rhythm” by George and Ira Gershwin.
Everyone was impressed by the voices of the singers. You could hear among the audience comments like, “what an incredible voice!” and “she looks like a Broadway singer!”
After three more songs, it was the time for the only male member of the group, first-year Akira Ormes-Strong, to perform “One Song Glory” from the broadway musical “Rent.”
Akira started singing with lot of power and there was no other sound in the hall besides his voice, until unfortunately he got lost in the lyrics and had to ask the pianist to start again. Everyone took that moment with humor and gave him applause while he began to sing.
He finished with a big smile and after 3 more songs it was time for the last presentation made by the whole choir. They sang “My Shot” from the hit musical “Hamilton,” which featured solos from Akira Ormes-Strong, Francesca Fello, Carina Stopenski, Elizabeth Romano and Hope Sims-Medley.
By then everyone was either singing, clapping or taking pictures. Stacey Brett Conner, Director of Choral Activities and the choir’s conductor, ended the performance by thanking all of the people who came to support them and invited them to wait for the results of the raffle. “This group only meets twice a week, so they have to work really hard to memorize the pieces and we are really lucky to have such devoted musicians in our program,” she said.
In addition, two events are coming up for the Chatham Choir. On December 2 they will perform in Campbell Memorial Chapel for a Christmas event organized by the Office of Students Affairs. They have also been invited for the third time to sing with River City Brass on December 8 at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.