From the perspective of someone who cannot match a pitch to save her life and who is completely outside of the elusive Georgetown music scene, Georgetown Cabaret was nothing short of a musical revelation.

The name, idea and concept of Cabaret — I’m a junior and had only heard whispers of it before — was put into my head 3,500 miles away from the Hilltop in a tiny flat in Scotland. There, Dan McCusker (COL ’16), a tall boy with ombre glasses who had just bought a ukulele from a corner store, sold me on the rock show he was organizing back at Georgetown. Cabaret, Dan said, was an eclectic rock concert featuring musicians from all corners of Georgetown’s musical world, hadn’t I heard of it before? I shook my head and promised to buy a ticket when we got back to the States. Crossing the checkered floor of the Black Cat in the U Street corridor last Friday night, I’m sure glad I did.

Over the course of a rollicking two-and-a-half hour set, Cabaret revealed the sheer level of talent and diversity of Georgetown’s musicians to a nearly full house of screaming undergraduates. The Black Cat’s atmosphere was exhilarating — it seemed as if the very walls of the venue were pulsating in tune with the band — and the excitement of the sweaty, bouncing audience was palpable. All of the cliches of a crowd gone wild, people screaming and girls throwing their bras on stage applied. Cabaret checked off all of the boxes for performing a successful rock concert without becoming a parody (that would have been much too easy). No, Cabaret succeeded as a rock concert because it embraced spontaneity and the messiness of rock ‘n’ roll. Cabaret succeeded because it was real.

Stepping on stage, the Cabaret performers transformed from the peers we pass in Red Square and bump into at parties into full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll stars. These were not kids playing dress up; these were professional artists, trained but not jaded from endless days of rehearsal. Even though Cabaret is officially independent of the university, its 18 members are a patchwork of individuals from Georgetown’s a cappella groups, jazz and pep bands, and other theatrical and musical outlets, showing a breadth of music on campus of which I for one was entirely unaware.

Open auditions for Cabaret were held this past fall and many of the accepted students were already involved in the Hilltop’s insular music world. Rather than being glued to the mic stand, the vocalists brought various genres, from classic rock to rap to country, to life with their performativity. Yes, you can argue that much of Cabaret is built on the mainstream music scene at Georgetown — the overly visible a cappella groups — but, the beauty of Cabaret was that it shined a light on the fact that Georgetown’s music scene is much more than the a cappella ensembles that sing in Leo’s during NSO. Cabaret was the golden intersection of all parts of Georgetown music; it brought together various pieces of the school’s musical puzzle — musicians, drummers, guitarists, saxophone players — seamlessly into a high-energy rock ‘n’ roll act.

Like the performers, the set list was dynamically diverse within the expansive realm of pop music. The works of Jason Derulo, Janis Joplin and Taylor Swift all echoed through the Black Cat accompanied by the off-key screams of the audience. Some songs, such as Cabaret’s rendition of Joplin’s “Piece of my Heart,” sent chills down my spine while others had me and all of the other kids who managed to push up to the front row reliving our teen angst with throwbacks to Avril Lavigne and Evanescence.

The huge, varied audience crowding into the Black Cat reflected the diversity of Cabaret’s talents and set list. Having performers from all different circles at Georgetown inevitably meant that all of these circles would collide on the dance floor. Seeing students from all different parts of the Hilltop — the boy from my literature class, the girl from Vital Vittles, the kids from the latest campus play — come together made me simultaneously realize how music draws people together and rarely have heard of such grand, all-inclusive Cabaret-esque experiences at Georgetown. The dynamism of the music scene at Georgetown is definitely present, but before Cabaret it was much harder to see. For showing me and restoring my faith that there is truly a beating arts and music scene at Georgetown, I can never thank Cabaret enough. This leaves me with one question: Why, in my three years at Georgetown, have I never heard of this or gone to anything like this before?

Margie Fuchs is  a  junior in the College.  Face the Music appears every other Friday.

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