Cabaret Night Set for March 25: A Night to Celebrate the Arts

Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The buzz surrounding NDA’s annual Cabaret Night has started up again. The event, which celebrates the fine arts skills of many talented NDA students, will be held on Saturday, March 25.

“Cabaret Night is the night where we feature the fine arts–anything and everything from music to dance to forensics to film,” said English teacher and Cabaret Night coordinator Mrs. Brown.

Mrs. Salerno, choir director and Cabaret Night coordinator, described the event as a “night of music, art, video, dancing, and other talents displayed by our students. It’s an important tradition because it offers students who do not ordinarily have the opportunity to perform a place to ‘show their stuff.’”

“It is important, especially here at NDA, because this is a school that celebrates and honors those who excel–or even participate–in the fine arts,” added Brown. “NDA is the fourth school in my teaching career, and it’s the first of the four where a kid in fine arts, such as a musician, is appreciated like an athlete.”

At its birth, Cabaret Night showcased “musical, literary, dramatic and artistic talent from throughout the area and beyond,” recalled NDA art teacher and Cabaret Night coordinator Mrs. Brandtner.

The event featured a cafe/cabaret atmosphere and charged an entrance fee. “We attracted talent from other schools (swing choirs), ethnic groups (Hmong dancing, etc.), and more,” explained Brandtner. The turnout was tremendous.

Today, Cabaret Night has evolved into a free showcase of NDA’s own talented students. There is, however, a donation jar which, according to Brown, brought in enough funds to purchase a new drum set a few years ago.

Performers span from NDA musicians, singers, and dancers to artists, writers, and the occasional stand-up comedian.

Many NDA Choir students “will sing in their separate choirs and will also sing as a large group,” said Salerno. “Concert choir and year-long Academy members are required to perform at Cabaret Night or Solo & Ensemble in a small group or as a soloist.”

NDA students in Jazz Band and those who performed at solo & ensemble this past weekend will also be a part of the night.

This year, there will be two performance areas in the Commons where Mr. Steve Havlichek has been “a lifesaver,” for running the sound, said Brown.

Additionally, there are typically several classrooms as well as the library that serve as performing spaces for “piano solos, solos and duets, poetry readings, guitar performances and anything else artsy,” stated Brown.

“This used to be more of a cozy small group setting,” remembered Brown, “but it’s grown so that we’ll have a hundred people in the library listening and applauding.”

The auditorium houses the bigger acts, including bands and dancers. Additionally, seniors receive preference for performing in the auditorium. Brown called it “their swan act before graduating.”

The last hour of the night the smaller venues close, and everyone gathers in the auditorium for the “big acts of the evening,” typically bands and performances from teachers. Father Brad and Ms. Ulemen are rumored to be singing a duet for the show.

“Let’s just say,” said Brown, “that the teachers and staff have been very enthusiastic about performing. We’re going to have a lot of surprises.”

This year, Brown hinted that there will also be a “Film Festival, a room set aside for movies/films by students,” organized by NDA Productions, the school’s filmmaking club.

NDA’s literary magazine The Muse is also being put together by Writers’ Union for the event.

Another major facet of Cabaret Night is the student art displayed and organized by Brandtner.

Brandtner recognizes that Cabaret Night is a unique event as “for many students, this is the first time they will perform or display their art work for others to see.”

“The art show will be set up in the library and possibly spilling out in the hallway between the atrium and priory,” explained Brandtner. “We will display about 100 art pieces from students taking art classes this school year.”

Special emphasis will be placed on the three IB art seniors Elena Martins, Tae Kyu Kim and Marisa Jacques, whose two-year portfolio of artwork will be showcased.

“The art show also will have prizes for Best of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and Pottery. A professional artist is chosen to judge the artwork,” said Brandtner, who selects a new judge each year.

Cabaret Night is an event which requires a tremendous amount of work to put together.

Brown, while often at the forefront of Cabaret Night discussion, says much of the credit is due to her fellow coordinators.

“I do a lot of the talking about Cabaret Night, but the heart and soul of the night are Bill Hill (band director), Chris Salerno (choir director) and Barb Brandtner (art teacher). Their talent and the talents of our students are what make this night so special,” remarked Brown.

“The Arts are not simply the creative actions of the participating artist, musician, writer, performer and poet,” said Brandtner, “but more importantly a communication of beauty, knowledge, ideas and emotions to those in attendance.”