Photo by: Nick Conley
Oklahoma Christian University has a tradition of putting on a romantic spectacle of a night around Valentine’s Day. The night begins with dinner and ends with a show.
Starting Feb. 14 and going through Feb. 16 the music department at Oklahoma Christian is having their annual Valentine’s Day Cabaret.
Each night dinner will be served at 6 p.m. in the conservatory, preceding the show that begins at 7 p.m. To attend the dinner and the show, tickets cost $20. For those who only want to see the show, the tickets are $7.
Accompanist for music Eric Grigg is the music director for the show.
“I’ve been a part of the cabaret ever since I started working back in 2000,” Grigg said. “Before I even got here, the former Chorale director Dr. Ken Adams was part of the group that spearheaded it originally. Back in his day, they would perform condensed versions of shows. They also did reviews where they would just put together shows.”
The name of this year’s show is “Hooray for Love: Highlights from the Great American Songbook.”
“By the ‘Great American Songbook’, I mean that period of time from the 1920s to the 1960s,” Grigg said. “It was a time where Broadway shows and Hollywood musicals were producing this rich trove of songs that Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole would draw on heavily for their own repertoires.”
According to Grigg, this is a concept he’s wanted to do for a while, but it was a matter of waiting for the year with people who had the voices to pull it off.
“We have a huge cast of 16 people, which is the most people we’ve had in a cast since I’ve been here,” Grigg said. “All 16 of these people are so talented, and we wanted to be able to showcase as many people as possible.”
Not only is Grigg the music director for the show, he will also be fulfilling a role in between performances that’s more interactive with the crowd.
“Something new that we’re trying this year is that I’m actually going to emcee the show from the piano,” Grigg said. “In between the various shows I’ll be giving fun facts and anecdotes about the artists to set the scene for what everyone is about to hear.”
Grigg said that this music isn’t just for the young-at-heart but also for those who are physically young. According to Grigg, this is music that even the college-aged people will enjoy.
“If anybody listens to 105.3 The Martini, they will know these songs,” Grigg said. “What I would love to accomplish with this show is for people to be reconnected with songs of this style that they love but then also expose people to songs like this that they don’t know.”
Senior Reece Kingcade has been a part of the Cabaret for the past two years, and will also be a part of this year’s show. According to Kingcade, all three years have been enjoyable experiences.
“I’m looking forward to opening night,” Kingcade said. “I’ve had a lot of fun working on the show, but it’s going to be nice to go forth and not have to worry about rehearsing anymore and to perform what you’ve been working on.”
Kingcade said the cast members have been working hard, so the show should be really great.
“I think that our music director Eric Grigg and our stage director Chad Anderson have also done some great work,” Kingcade said. “I’m really proud to be working with this group of people.”
For participants like seniors Brian Wilcox and Moriah Willing, the nerves are a thing of the past, and now they just have fun.
“I’ve been a part of Cabaret since I was a freshman, and it’s been a lot of fun,” Wilcox said. “You get to perform in a musical, but it’s no pressure.”
Rather than having several group numbers, this year’s cabaret will be composed of solos and duets.
“I will be singing ‘I Wish I Was in Love Again’ with Hannah Foster,” Willing said. “This is my senior year, and I’ve done it for the past two years.”
According to Willing, she is excited about the bass accompaniment, but she’s even more excited about opening night.
“I think freshman year I was really nervous because I was a freshman,” Willing said. “But now, it’s just fun. I’m looking forward to that first moment when the lights come on and the audience is sitting there waiting to see the show.”
After auditioning for the show several times in the past, senior Kalee Floyd will be a part of the cabaret for the first time.
“A lot of times my schedule was really busy, and there were also never a lot of new people coming in,” Floyd said. “They usually choose five girls and five guys but this year there will be eight girls and eight guys. I was one of the new people chosen to come in.”
According to Floyd, there are a lot of people in the community who are looking forward to seeing the show.
“It’s a cool experience,” Floyd said. “I think because of the style of music that we’re doing, it will draw an older crowd in that will like this style of music.”
The Valentine’s Day Cabaret will be in the Ken and Lindy Adams Recital Hall.