Sing Books with Emily and the DC Cabaret Network (and What the DC Cabaret Network Means to Me)
Posted July 6, 2012on:
I feel so deeply, so passionately about my program Sing Books with Emily. In many ways my entire life experience has come together in it. Everything from babysitting, substitute teaching, working at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis to being a parent and performing in plays, musicals and cabaret have helped facilitate the effort. And, importantly, being an active member of the DC Cabaret Network (DCCN) and serving on its Board of Directors was (and continues to be) essential to the creation of the Sing Books project. I am incredibly grateful to DCCN for the opportunities it has given me to learn and perform. DCCN has also given me the chance to meet, work with and learn from a fabulous group of talented people. And, thanks to the DC Cabaret Network’s offerings, my ideas for Sing Books with Emily were able to germinate and grow.
I was on the board of the DC Cabaret Network for nearly 7 years and will, of course, continue as an active member. Thinking back over the years that I have studied the Art of Cabaret (and will continue to study and will always consider myself a student), reminds me of what an incredibly important role the DC Cabaret Network has played in my life as a performer and the indispensable role DC Cabaret Network played in helping me create Sing Books with Emily, which has miraculously turned into something special for my community. I believe in my heart that the program is not just entertaining and enriching for the children, but that it is also important for conveying and enlivening musical heritage.
Without the DC Cabaret Network, Sing Books simply would not be. The Sing Books “experience” involves me sitting, Singable Picture Book in hand, before a group of children and performing songs LIVE, singing directly to the children (or any person of any age who happens to be there), from a personal point-of-view, sharing the words and music and everything I know and understand about the songs. Factual information and my own life experience combine to give me something to say in introducing the songs and, of course, inform the performances themselves. In other words, in my mind at least, Sing Books is in many ways a “cabaret” experience but which also just happens to employ Singable Picture Books and is most often performed in classrooms.
Most of what I learned about cabaret and the personal style of reaching out to others with song (conveying personal experience while simultaneously participating in the history of our musical heritage) came to me in one way or another though the funnel of the DC Cabaret Network. DC Cabaret Network provides many benefits to its members, including performance opportunities at Open Mics, a newsletter with information about cabaret performances and classes, salons, workshops, and the chance to establish relationships with other performers, directors, musicians, and teachers.
The DC Cabaret Network is facilitated by a group of 5-7 volunteers who are steeped in the world of professional musical performance and who bring to the table their passion, time, energy, experience and considerable skills and talents, talents which are not exclusively musical. Other skills frequently employed include the ability to cooperate as an ensemble and establish consensus, the ability to be forward thinking, resourceful and creative in solving problems, as well as skills like perseverance, organization, communication, writing, and technology.
It is important to note that the DC Cabaret Network is FACILITATED by the Board of Directors, but the organization itself is not just the Board of Directors. The DC Cabaret Network is a NETWORK of people who all have similar interests, and in the sharing of those interests they find ways to grow, experience, explore and learn about their craft TOGETHER. People in the network don’t just wait for things to be provided, they work and play together inside and outside the structure of the network and its membership to make new things happen.
Like so many things in life (including the artistic adventure of the art of cabaret itself), the DC Cabaret Network is exactly what each person makes of it for him or herself. It is exciting to see what so many of its members have done using experience and relationships gained through DCCN as a launch pad to create new projects. Many shows, workshops and performances would not have happened unless DC Cabaret Network had been there. The Sing Books with Emily project (the blog, performance program and the cabaret) is just one example.
I stepped down from the board a few months ago in order to devote more time to my Sing Books with Emily projects, but my heart will always be IN the Network. I give the DC Cabaret Network (the organization and all its members) my deepest gratitude and I look forward to participating more and more in the many opportunities to stand up and perform and learn and associate with so many like-minded, cabaret-loving friends.
Web Page for DC Cabaret Network:
SONGSPEAK, the blog of the DC Cabaret Network, here: