By Natalie Hooker
In February, the BHHS choir hosted their annual Cabaret, conducted by Mr. Piali, in the school auditorium. I am a part of our school choir, and I can say it was quite a performance! 2017’s Cabaret was called “Motown,” named and inspired by Motown Records. Motown Record Company was founded in 1960, and it is a company that produces Contemporary R&B, Disco, Doo Wop, Funk, Motown, Neo-Soul, Quiet Storm, and Soul. This was an especially fitting name for our Cabaret performance because we sang Motown style music such as R&B, funk, and blues. This style of music is special because it has a lot of history and culture behind it.
The Cabaret is a unique concert because the theme and choice of songs are both decided upon by students, and the entire event is primarily student run. Mr. Piali, the choir director, said, “The juniors pick the theme for the following year, which gives the students the opportunity to be involved with planning from the very beginning. The students create the concept, help pick music, and put together small group and solo numbers to perform as well.” As a member of the choir, I am looking forward to getting the chance to create a theme for next year’s Cabaret and collaborate with my peers. When asked about the concept and idea behind Motown, Mr. Piali explained, “The vision behind the theme was to choose a style that builds strength and unity within a community. There is no better style than Motown to do that.”
The show had many numbers. From duets, to solos, and group numbers, it took a lot of rehearsal time to perfect our performance as a whole. Mr. Piali stated, “The show took about five weeks to put together. We rehearsed everyday and used sectional time to learn choreography.” The Cabaret was very fun to perform in because all the songs performed were songs that most people in the audience were familiar with and loved too, so they could sing along with us. Personally, I believe learning the choreography was probably the most difficult part, because we had to be singing the right words, while simultaneously dancing the right steps. According to our choir teacher, “The most difficult part of Cabaret is combining all the technical elements with the music. We have to practice the blocking, lighting cues and sound design of the production, all in one evening rehearsal!”
This year was my first year being a member of our school’s choir, and Motown Cabaret was by far my favorite concert yet! It was vibrant with personality, feeling, culture, and history! Motown is filled with culture and significance. This includes elements of black history and the emotions people felt through their struggles and triumphs, which is why it was so exciting to bring these feelings to life in our Cabaret. The many performances at Motown Cabaret were all excellent. When asked what his favorite piece from the concert was, Mr. Piali explained, “I thought the guys’ performance of “My Girl” nearly stole the show. Also, “ABC/I want you back” and “Dancing in the Streets” were definitely highlights from the evening.” The audience would agree! Those songs were very successful and fun, as our entire choir brought the audience further into our performance.