Young Harris College’s Delta Gamma Drama Society Celebrates Valentine’s Day with Cabaret Fundraiser
Young Harris College’s Delta Gamma Drama Society presented the first-ever “Valentine’s Day Cabaret” on Feb. 14 in Glenn Auditorium and raised nearly $500 to benefit students attending the YHC London Theatre Tour, a one-of-a-kind study abroad experience, May 12-19.
“Our first goal in creating the cabaret was to give our students an additional performance opportunity as well as the chance to present original pieces,” said Assistant Professor of Theatre Anne Towns, who will lead the excursion with Professor of Music, Director of Choral and Vocal Activities, and Musical Theatre Program Co-Coordinator Jeff Bauman.
The show’s director and Delta Gamma President Gina Dropp, a junior theatre major from Kennesaw, came up with the cabaret concept. “I participated in an annual cabaret in high school that was romantically themed, so I knew it would be an easy springboard for ideas,” she explained.
Students were invited to bring songs, scenes and monologues related to the themes of love and heartbreak to open auditions. The selected pieces were put together and rehearsed by a team of student writers, directors and stage managers.
“The students truly drove everything,” said Towns, who pointed out that all 20 members of the study abroad class participated in the event alongside volunteers who assisted with every aspect of the show, from marketing the performance to working backstage.
“We had a short window to get the show together so it required a lot of personal practice time,” said sophomore communication studies major Leah Cheshier, of Bremen, who performed “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bon Iver. “I’ve been singing for years, but playing piano is still relatively new for me so it was a good way to start putting myself on stage.”
The wide-ranging set list included classics like “My Funny Valentine” from Babes in Arms to current pop hits like “Clarity” by Zedd. Performers also showed off their acting chops with scenes from contemporary plays like Tomorrow’s Wish by Wade Bradford and Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan.
“It was a new and different challenge to put together this show, especially working on such a tight timeframe,” recalled Dropp. “I loved seeing each group of performers grow week to week. We all wanted to put on the best show possible for our audience.”
Delta Gamma plans to make the “Valentine’s Day Cabaret” an annual fundraiser for the group, furthering one of the organization’s primary goals to promote interest in theatre on campus.
“It will be up to the students how to allocate the funds in the future,” explained Towns, “but it’s my hope that it will continue to fund student travel—either abroad or to domestic conferences.”
Students like Dropp look forward to learning about the many facets of theatre and musical theatre while attending shows on London’s famed West End this May. The trip will also include immersive behind-the-scenes tours of the Globe Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Royal National Theatre complex.
To offset tour costs, a percentage of all 2013-2014 gifts to YHC’s Friends of the Arts (FOTA) fund will be used to reduce expenses for YHC students. To find out more about how to support FOTA, contact Director of Development and Planned Giving Jennifer McAfee at (706) 379-5318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students enjoyed a Valentine's Day-themed photo booth as part of the cabaret.
T'Arica Crawford, a junior musical theatre major from Buford, performed "Down with Love."
Sophomore theatre majors Alana Lambert, of Dallas, Ga., and Justin Hermosilla, of Lawrenceville, presented the one-act Check Please by Jonathan Rand.