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April 03. 2014 10:45PM

Alvirne strikes gold with annual cabaret show


Music coordinator Gerry Bastien led a group of student performers in harmony during last weekend's Cabaret at Alvirne High School. On March 29 and 30, students performed three shows before sold-out crowds. (Photo Courtesy of Danny Rosenberg)

HUDSON — After 17 years of producing an annual cabaret show, the staff and students in the Alvirne High School music programs continue to rise to the challenge of engaging their local audiences.

Last weekend’s show, “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Meets the Grand Ole Opry,” was no exception.

Members of the school’s band and chorus groups performed three sold-out shows on March 29 and 30.

Approximately 250 students performed in the shows, according to Alvirne Friends of Music spokesman David Walker.

Choral director Elizabeth Beaton and district music coordinator Gerry Bastien organized the performances, with community member Joe Kasper serving as the caberet’s master of ceremonies.

“There is no other place in New England that puts on a show like this,”said Kasper, who has participated in the annual program for the past 16 years. “Every year it gets better and better.”

Walker said the show has proven so popular that program officials had no trouble filling each performance’s 500 seats.

“A total of 1,150 tickets were sold in the first 45 minutes the day these tickets went on sale,” Walker said.

Energized crowds enjoyed a treat as the Alvirne Singers, B Naturals, Concert Band, Jazz Band Treble Choir, and Wind Symphonic Band, as well as soloists and duos, performed the music they’d carefully rehearsed over the long winter months.

The Alvirne Singers choral group got the show off to a proper start, performing “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas, which set the tone for rest of the show’s festivities. They also performed a collection of Motown’s greatest hits that got everyone in a soulful groove.

The Concert Band started the musical portion of the program off with Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag” followed by a medley of Rolling Stone songs and hits by Journey.

Joining in the fun was the AHS Jazz Band, which covered songs by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Sly and the Family Stone.

The Wind Symphonic Band kept up the energy with a rocking rendition of Led Zeppelin tunes and a classic Beatles medley culminating in “Hey Jude,” with band members waving light sticks and Bastien leading the audience to sing along in unison.

Other highlights of this year’s show included a spirited rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” performed by the B Naturals and a rousing version of the Charlie Daniels rocker “Devil Went Down to Georgia” by the Wind Symphonic Band that spotlighted Ben Pollack as narrator and Matt Skinner on fantastic violin solos that brought the house down.

Walker credited his fellow Friends of Music volunteers with transforming the school gymnasium into a proper concert hall.

“Planning and work for the show began right after last year’s show ended,” he said. “The variety of music demonstrated again why cabaret is such a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Alvirne student musicians and singers are now preparing for their next big performance.During April vacation, the marching band, along with the B Naturals and Treble Choir singing groups, will travel to Orlando for performances at Walt Disney World.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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