Abbot Cabaret Features Talented Student Groups

Abbot Cabaret, an annual student talent show sponsored by Abbot Cluster, came to life last Friday night as student performers and an entertaining pair of MCs showcased various student talents.

The proceeds of this year’s Abbot Cabaret ticket sales will go towards a student-run, non-profit organization called We are the World Kids (WAWK) which was founded by Justine Wang ’15 and her sister in 2010.

“WAWK’s mission is to help underprivileged children around the world to achieve their goals by supporting education, especially in rural areas,” said Wang. “We jump-started our endeavors by raising over $15,000 to build a library in the Kauk Rovieng village in Cambodia, and this year we are expanding our library-building efforts to Tanzania.”

This year’s Abbot Cabaret raised over $1,000 that will go toward a reading corner within a primary school in the Mtwara region of Tanzania, Wang said.

The cabaret started off with several humorous skits that were acted out by MCs Brendan O’Connell ’13 and Pearson Goodman ’13, in which they played two Andover teachers from the 1970s discussing the potential Abbot merger. Goodman portrayed a pretentious classical literature teacher and O’Connell portrayed a pompous stoichiometry professor.

Azure, Andover’s all-female acapella group, opened the night with a rendition of Cher Lloyd’s “Want U Back.” Featuring soloists Esther Cohen ’14 and Vienna Kuhn ’16, Azure’s peppy, energetic version of the song was a hit with the crowd and prefaced a night full of high energy and talent.

“The soloists did an excellent job of portraying all the sass within the song, and the tenors made everyone laugh by doing the song’s signature ‘UGH!’” said Nya Hughes ’15, a member of Azure.

Bringing a mellow, tender rendition of David Guetta’s “Titanium” to the stage, Taylor Crutison ’16 and Sam Hawley ’16, who was on the guitar, melded their voices together to create a delicate, sweet effect that earned them enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Jay Reader ’13 gave a spoken-word poetry performance. His piece dealt with the prominence of social media and perceived the downfall of face-to-face communication.

“The thing that made his poetry so special was all of the puns and wordy jokes he made. He incorporated rhythm and speed to discreetly slide them into his verse, and it worked extremely well. Every time he finished reciting a line, I had to think about what he just said which made his performance even more entertaining,” said Alex Westfall ’15.

The stage was then transformed into a cinema and “The First Parietal,” a short film by Gaelyn Golde ’13, Quinn Daly ’13 and Patrick Naughter ’13, was screened. Set in 1973 shortly after the Abbot merger, the film comically portrayed students’ amazed reactions to the first parietal.

Guitarist Alec D’Alelio ’14, who has been playing the guitar for seven years, performed one of his favorite acoustic songs, Andy Mckee’s “Rylynn.”

“I’ve always loved performing, so any opportunity to perform either on my own or with a group is a good one in my mind,” said D’Alelio.

Keeping up with the pop-like atmosphere, Ravn Jenkins ’15 and Nick Kochakian ’15 performed Mumford and Sons’ “Lover of the Light.” They practiced every day for an hour leading up to the performance. The audience applauded loudly Kochakian and Jenkin’s soulful and emotional rendition of the song.

Keynotes, Andover’s co-ed student acapella group, took the stage in matching blue outfits.

The group performed an energetic, lively version of The Wanted’s “Glad You Came.”

Led by Unwana Abasi ’13, the hip-hop dance group Hynotiq then performed a complex modern dance to a medley of “Freakalater” by Soundmaster T, “Yeah, I Know” by Ciara and “Party Monsters” by Kottonmouth Kings. Jenny Zeng ’13 and Thomi Pamplin ’14 choreographed the act.

“We were excited to perform, this was our first performance after Grasshopper Night. And personally, as a choreographer, it was really freeing to choreograph and perform something without a specific theme in mind. We had a blast! Sometimes when we perform we feed off the energy of the crowd, and the energy Saturday night was great,” said Thomi Pamplin ’14, a member of Hypnotiq.

Giovanna Pickering ’13, who has been playing guitar and singing since the summer before her Junior year, sang an original mash-up of Jessie J’s “Big White Room,” Katy Perry’s “Mannequin” and “The One That Got Away,” Pink’s “Who Knew” and Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

“I wanted to try something different and challenge myself,” said Pickering. “I started off mixing two songs, and as I worked with it, it grew into four. I chose songs with similar chord progressions so that the songs would transition smoothly. I also chose those songs because those four artists are four of my favorite in contemporary music.”

As the lights in Kemper dimmed, George Avecillas ’13 and Alex Esakof ’12 performed the highlight show of the evening, a light show comprised of multi-colored glow sticks. Esakof returned to campus to perform in the light show, and the audience received the performance with loud hoots and encouragements as Avecillas and Esakof performed with rapid body movements and the neon colors of the glow sticks.

A new student musical group, Finder’s Keepers, performed both the opening and the final acts, putting on an innovative musical performance for the audience. The band consists of singer and banjoist Aaron Finder ’13, drummer Henry Kennelly ’13, bassist Amo Manuel ’14, fiddler Josh Henderson ’15, guitarist D’Alelio and keyboardist Seho Young ’15.

“The range of student talent on stage, behind the scenes and during preparation was awesome! I was so impressed by the stage management and sound crew,” wrote Jennifer Elliott, Cluster Dean of the Abbot cluster, in an e-mail to The Phillipian. “The selection committee was conscientious and intentional—they selected the acts that they felt were most appropriate and best prepared. The performances knocked my socks off! We are also thrilled to provide young students with access to books and a special place for students far, far away from our campus.”