Last Wednesday, the Newport Harbor music department put on their first ever Cabaret Night where students had the opportunity to perform and showcase their talent for friends and family. The new choir instructor, Mr. Ledón thought the evening of entertainment was a perfect way to allow members of ladies ensemble and chorus to sing solos, straying away from their usual group harmonization. The Open Mic Night included students from NH and Ensign Junior High and was hosted by sophomore Samantha Nowak. It gave a diverse array of performances ranging from beautiful ballads to classic rock and even country. Junior Brooke Sorrell who sang a rendition of Florence and the Machine’s piece, “I Wish You Were Here,” felt that the event was a very special moment for everyone to share their voices. “A lot of people can sing but they don’t get to do it and having a place where you are actually able to do it is really nice. We haven’t been able to have solos at the concerts this year and it was really nice to have a night that was specifically for that,” she says.
When Mr. Ledon first organized the event, he decided to have it in the Blackbox theater, thinking that the smaller venue would be more than enough space for audience members. However, on the evening of the show, the crowd was much larger than anticipated and the ushers had to arrange new rows of seats. After Open Mic Night, the NHHS Choir Instagram account posted a picture of Mr. Ledón at the piano with ]many of the people that were a part of evening in the background. The caption of the photo read, “When you run out of chairs in the Blackbox because you were expecting 10 people but you get a full house… it calls for a selfie with Mr. Ledón.” The amount of people who attended enhanced the energy of the showcase and made the theater a room of endless support and fun.
The tiny and quaint Blackbox was bustling with excitement as the audience awaited the performers to take the stage.
Keishaun Takahashi sang a few of his favorite numbers from Hamilton, the Broadway production that’s taken the musical world by storm, adding a theatrical essence to the show. “When I perform, I usually feel nervous before, but once I start singing I feel like I’m a totally different person and I just get a lot of courage,” he explains. Though many of the soloists featured in Cabaret Night felt rather nervous before they went on, they knew it was a moment for their individuality to shine. Junior Jade Mendoza who chose to sing a Sam Smith cover felt that the evening allowed each of the artists freedom in how they wanted to interpret the music. “Performing a solo piece is special because it’s literally just you. No back up, no nothing. Just you and the piano. And even if you mess up the entire first half of the song, you just have to keep going,” she says. Being able to take the mic in front of a room of people can make a person very anxious, but it can also make them feel exuberant as they are overcome with an adrenaline rush of pure happiness. Hopefully, the music department will hold another Cabaret Night sometime in the near future so that even more people will be able to share their musical talent and even more people will come to support them at the show.
By: Jillian Birt – Russell