On Thursday, February 4, 2010, beginning at 7:30 p.m., the Cherry Hill East music department premiered this year’s Opera Night, themed “A Night of Gershwin.”
George Gershwin was an American composer whose composition Porgy and Bess (1935) is considered an important modern American opera due to its “folk opera” appeal, as Gershwin himself called its style.
The night commenced with the combined ensembles (soloists Namarah McCall (’11), Alex Belfer (’10) and Erica Cavaliere (’10)) singing “I Got Rhythm.” Then, Jazz Standards, Vocal Workshop, Concert Choir and Celebrations, along with Mr. Cohen on the piano, performed “A Foggy Day.” As the night progressed, the audience heard favorites like “Love is Here to Stay” performed by East Singers. East’s smaller vocal groups (Belles, Casual Harmony and Madrigals) performed “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” Then string orchestra and the select Symphonic Band played “It’s All About Love.” An aspect of the Opera Night concert is the middle school involvement, for Beck Choir performed “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”
Then, there was the finale. As with the annual Opera Night, the vocal department invites professional opera singers to perform and work with the students to help them develop in their musical learning and experience. This year’s guests were Cynthia Cook (soprano, singing “Summertime” & “Ah Lawd, I’m on my Way!”) and Norman Garrett (baritone, singing “Ah Lawd, I’m on my Way!”); both performers are from The Academy of Vocal Arts. In between Cook’s and Garrett’s performances, Chansons, Jazz Standards and Symphony Orchestra performed “The Man I Love.”
Opera Night offered a silent auction before and after the show. Proceeds from the auction and ticket sales benefited the Music Boosters to help continue the excellence of East’s music and vocal departments.