Cabaret Welcomes its 25,000 Guest

April 8, 2016


by Len Lathrop

As the 19th annual Cabaret weekend was titled “Then and Now” this salute to Hollywood was set to begin its third show of the weekend, and, once again, the Steckevicz gym had a person in every chair that could be fit onto the court.  Perennial announcer Joe Casper asked for everyone’s attention and Captain Jack Sparrow (aka Gerry Bastien, Hudson District Music Director) and Indiana Jones (aka Mike Gallagan, Choral Director) were in front of the audience with Dave Dugrias from Athol, Mass., who was the 25,000th guest to the extravaganza.  He received a lifetime ticket to all future Cabarets.

But on with the show.  It was the Alvirne Concert Band’s salute to Hollywood milestones in which the listener was challenged to figure out the theme songs that the students, under the direction of the captain, played and, for those still guessing, the answers were given by the announcer.   As the Alvirne Singers prepared for “Footloose,” the singers would return through the show with “C’mon Everyone” with soloist Justin Paradise and, in the second half, they would light up the house with “I’m a Believer.”

While listeners were ready for the jazz band, little did they know the Blues Brothers would be directing the band as their soundtrack music was revisited.  While the jazz band has the fewest instrumentalists of the three bands, they did make the cabaret goers jump and swing.  Before intermission the jazz band featured “In the Mood” by Garland and in the second half a “Grease Medley” saw the trombones swinging under and over each other.  Lucky no one lost an eye.  Then as the show came to a close, the jazz band did “Sing, Sing, Sing” as only the Alvirne Jazz Band could with solos on the trumpet from Mike Perry, and at the trap set was senior Nick Rossetti, outfitted as Superman, with a light show that moved as the different drums in the trap set were struck.

The treble choir brought tears from folks with “Moon River” courtesy of soloists Rebecca Labrie and Kelsey Pease.  And something that the Cabaret goers had not seen before, the choir used cups to make the beat as they presented a song called “Cups” by Carter, Gerstein, and Tunstal-Behrens.  With umbrellas twirling, the treble choir performed “Singing in the Rain” and closed their numbers with “Say a Little Prayer” by Bacharach.

The B-Naturals opened their offering with “Skyfall” by Adkins and then stopped the show when soloist Brianna Thompson, Owen Worth and Andrew Hotham performed “Happy.”  “Someone To Love” showcased the talents of the group as multiple soloists took charge of the mic without a note being dropped.

Let’s not forget the symphonic band whose arrangement of the “Wizard of Oz” provided sounds that caused you to look around for the yellow brick road.  And then they played “Star Wars (the Marches)” and you had to ask where are the storm troopers?  With only 170 instrumentalists and 100 vocalists in all the groups and bands, the symphonic band’s sounds filled the place, rich and harmonies, each of the three instrumental group demonstrated their unique style and abilities.  While his performance was with the symphonic band, it should have been listed as a very special feature when Matt Skinner used his violin with the band to present the theme from “Schindler’s List.”  The house came to its feet with a standing ovation as the piece ended.  “Pirates of the Caribbean” ended the work this day of the symphonic band with Captain Jack Bastien pointing to the percussionist in the back row as the rafters rang.

Now if that wasn’t enough for the price of your ticket, in between the major groups were soloists called special features from Briana Thompson with “Summertime,” then two ladies in white dresses gave us “Hallelujah.”  They were Kylie Marcotte and Jillian Houle.  Meghan Sullivan quieted the crowd as the little sparrow singing “La Vie En Rose” in French.  And the last special feature was Matt Skinner with four backup singers and the jazz band with “Save the Last Dance.”

As a school board member told the board on Monday night, Cabaret is a better show than you would find in Boston for five times the amount that you paid for the ticket at Alvirne, and every year he is more amazed by the show.  He wants to see you there next year.