By VICKI LI & PACIFIC ENG
The annual Cabaret Night is a student-run concert with both solos and small group performances by members of UHS Choir which took place on February 23-24. The event included the school choirs, such as the Madrigals and the Canta Bella Choir, as well as choirs outside of school like Undertones and Footnotes. The theme for this year’s show was “Love and Heartbreak.”
What sets Cabaret Night apart from other choir concerts is that the tables and chairs are set up onstage where the audience can take a seat and enjoy refreshments. From the moment when audience members walk in, the stage is immediately noticeable. The concert’s setting created a very nice ambiance. Light orange Christmas lights were suspended from the ceiling and red heart-shaped papers decorated the tables. Audience members were seated by waiters and waitresses, who would then offer a complimentary beverage and food of their choice. However, the real charm came from the performances.
The Love segment started off strong with a captivating performance by the Madrigals singing “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” composed by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice. What I enjoyed was the variety of songs, most of which I had not heard before. There were songs as recent as “City of Stars” from La La Land to much older songs like “More Than Words” released in 1990 by Extreme.
My favorite song from the Heartbreak segment was “Million Reasons” sung by Maya Olson (Jr.). Her powerful voice delivered a different mood to the song than the original Lady Gaga version, and I found myself deeply immersed in the lyrics. Other songs included Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” sung by Josie Bachman (Sr.) and Toy Story 2’s “When She Loved Me” sung by the Madrigals.
The most unexpected element of the show was the humor. Before each of the performances, members of Choir Board, including Ben Sui (Sr.), Vani Dewan (Sr.) and Shaden Ahadi (Jr.), would act out a small skit introducing the song and the performer. My favorite performance was “Lower Your Expectations” performed by Ash Sial (So.). The lyrics to the song are funny to begin with and Sial delivered excellently.
A week of auditions was held in the beginning of the January. Many soloists and groups prepared songs for these two nights. Because the theme of “Love and Heartbreak” is so relatable, there were many acts who auditioned to be in the show.
“It was really amazing that we were able to get such a large number of signups but it also made it really difficult to narrow the list down, so this year we also added callbacks,” Choir Board member Kasey Kim (Sr.) said. “It was really nice to see all those auditioning really trying to improve in order to get a spot, and we were impressed by the overwhelming amount of talent we saw in everyone.”
As a result of the volume of performances, some students only performed one of the two nights.
“As much as I love performing, it actually didn’t matter to me that I only performed one night,” said Aniket Mehrotra (So.), who performed “All of Me” by John Legend only on Thursday, February 23. “Experiencing the art of my talented friends from side stage was much more inspiring and enjoyable. For me, it’s the vibe and energy that makes Cabaret Night what it is.”
For the senior performers, it was a bittersweet moment to finish their last Cabaret Night.
“Finishing my last Cabaret Night was truly amazing because I got to experience it as one of the people who not only perform in the show but also put it together,” Kim said. “It was so fun working with all the Choir kids, and I’m glad that the Choir Department is so much like a family because we were able to work together to make it a really special event.”
On Friday, the show sold out and extra chairs were added in the aisle.
“I’ve heard all good things and it’s definitely one of Uni’s best shows,” Choir President Vani Dewan (Sr.) reflects. “I was proud to direct it.”
There truly isn’t any event like Cabaret Night at UHS. We highly recommend everyone to attend next year.