A night of tasty food and terrific music is in store for all those attending Chantilly High's upcoming Fall Cabaret, next Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 19-20, at the school. Hosting and performing are members of the Touch of Class Show Choir.
Tickets are $9 for adults and $5 for Chantilly High students and children under 12. They'll be on sale from Touch of Class students and in the school cafeteria, Oct. 17-18, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and also at the door before the shows.
"It's a unique program because it's a program of solo performances," said Choral Director Glenn Cockrell. "Each of the 32 students have prepared solos as a class project."
THE DINNER, catered by Chick-Fil-A, will be served from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria. The music begins at 7 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m., with snacks and beverages served throughout the evening.
"We transform our cafeteria into a professional cabaret," said Cockrell. "We build a stage with stage lighting and sound. And we have video feeds of the kids performing, shown on TVs around the room."
In addition, dozens of local businesses have donated doorprizes which will be given out each evening. And tickets for raffle items will be sold at the event.
Although the Touch of Class contains students from all grade levels, those performing will be mainly upperclassmen. And they've been preparing for this show for a long time.
In the summer, students receive a packet of instructions from Cockrell. Then each student chooses three songs — a ballad, a medium-tempo number and something fast. And the first week of school, they submit to Cockrell a recorded performance of them singing these songs.
"I REVIEW IT and pick the one song per student that I believe they do best, and also which I feel will challenge them and teach them something new," explained Cockrell. "I also pick a mix of types of songs to make the show interesting."
The Touch of Class students then practice their songs, select their own costumes, do the choreography and stage design and gather whatever props they'll need. Two weeks before the show, they perform their songs in class and receive written assessments from Cockrell and their classmates.
"It helps them fine-tune and improve their performances," said Cockrell. "And in a way, it serves as a dress rehearsal for them."
The Fall Cabaret will contain a wide variety of music. Included will be Broadway show tunes, such as "Singin' in the Rain," country hits like "How Do You Like Me Now?" and novelty songs such as "Kung Fu Fighting." There'll even be some original, student compositions.
The show is a fund-raiser for the Choral Department and will help the Touch of Class with its spring expenses for costumes and travel to and from events. And Cockrell said rehearsals have been going well and the show's coming along nicely.
"Because these students are so talented, there's no way for me to put into an ensemble show 32 solos," he said. "So I designed this show to give every kid an opportunity to have a solo experience." The format also lets the performers experience the process of putting together the show as a whole.
"THE KIDS get excited about it, and they work really hard toward this goal," said Cockrell. "And it's fun to see them investing themselves in this project. I also like seeing their creativity. Sometimes, even their parents are surprised by what they can do."
He said the Fall Cabaret has something for everyone to enjoy, in terms of musical style that will please a broad spectrum of tastes. "It's also a good evening of community fun appropriate for the whole family," said Cockrell. "There's a meal, prizes and music, and it's a great representation of the kind of kids we have at Chantilly — kids who work hard and are involved in positive, worthwhile activities like this, on a regular basis."