Grand Rapids colleges collide for a cabaret collaboration


Story by Macayla Jones, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Macayla Jones

Lights! Camera! Action! This year for the first time, Aquinas and GRCC came together in fun, music, and laughter. Josie Gonzalez, a sophomore at Aquinas helped plan and organize the event with Bridgette Slezak and the Encore! EBoard. Gonzalez informed me that besides having a night full of mystical music, one of the main goals was to create friendships.

“The biggest thing I wanted to accomplish with the event besides putting on a fun and entertaining night was to create connections between the students at both schools,” Gonzalez said. “Theatre has a lot to do with networking, and it’s always great to see a familiar face at auditions, especially in Grand Rapids.”

There had been different ideas thrown around for a while for a collaboration between Aquinas and GRCC, and Gonzalez, plus others, used different techniques to recruit for the show.

“I have a few friends at GRCC that I asked to spread the word by putting up posters in their theatre, music buildings, and by talking to students in their classes,” Gonzalez said. “We also have an adjunct theatre professor, Carrie McNulty, who also teaches at GRCC, who asked her students to audition.” Gonzalez said.

Additionally, the full cast put a lot of hard work and preparation into their performance, including specific groupings and song choices based on their voice.

“After having auditions both in person and by video submission, we took a few days to pair up people depending on who we thought would sound good together and songs we thought would work with their voices,” Gonzalez said. “We had 5 full cast rehearsals once a week for 2 hours. We spent the first few rehearsals practicing our group numbers and then spent the rest of the time working on the solos, duets, etc.”

And what a night it was! There were countless breathtaking musical numbers, for funny and sometimes dramatic reasons. There were numbers that blew me away as well. All in all, it was an incredible night, and I am extremely fortunate that I was able to experience all the musical magic.

When asked about her overall experience, Gonzalez recounted the memorable times she’ll never forget with her castmates and her hopes for the future.

“We bonded together as a cast very quickly, and everyone was always cheering on everybody else,” Gonzalez said. “We hope to make this an annual event at the end of every school year and possibly make it every semester if it continues to go as well as it did this year!”


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