The Same but Different: Marking the 21st Year of Fantastic Music

March 30, 2018


by Len Lathrop

As Joe Casper, Cabaret’s long-term announcer mentioned, the ‘Cabaret’ production was now 21 years old and able to drink, but not on school property, and quickly, after some housekeeping, the Steckevicz was alive as it had been so many times before. It was the second show of three that the Alvirne High School Music Department would put on with the help of parents and friends.

There is simply not enough space to speak of every talented student whether with their voice or by playing an instrument. Maybe even more impressive were the smiles and hugs the performers gave each other as their classmates came off the stages.

For those of you who have never been to a Cabaret, think of as many tables of 10 that can fit onto the basketball court, then take way space on the back wall for the choral stage where the B Naturals, the Alvirne Chorus and the Concert Chorus all perform, with special performances by soloists and small groups called Vignette occurring there this year for the first time. Facing the stage to your right are two areas for the symphonic band and the jazz band. The concert band is on the stage from curtain to curtain from front to back with the musicians sitting elbow to elbow. Walls are decorated with memorabilia and two 15-by-15-feet screens hang in the corner of the gym from the ceiling where the action is simultaneously projected.

The difference this year is that Hudson Music Director Gerry Bastien has retired. He was “Mr. Cabaret” for the first 20 years. While Michael Gallagan has worked with Bastien as the vocal director, this was the first year for Rob Scagnelli being in charge of the bands. The two directors came into the event together in grand fashion with matching red tuxedos and top hats. The show was something that Bastien would have been immensely proud of. Both directors let the students shine, with songs that everyone knew from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to “Valerie” and “Fly Me To the Moon,” “That’s The Way It Is” and “Eleanor Rigby,” just to touch on a few.

If you missed this past weekend, the local artists will be back. Mark your calendar now for May 22 for instrumental and May 23 for the choral as the Alvirne students will perform in the Brody Memorial Concert Series.