On the evening of Friday, Feb. 17, the first performance of “Double ‘A’ Cabaret” opened to a full house in Montgomery Hall 25. The show featured a series of Broadway and popular American songs presented by four St. Mary’s students.
The performance was in honor of Arthur and Alice Fleury Zamanakos–the two people for whom “Double ‘A’ Cabaret” is named. Alice Zamanakos passed away in 2007, and this show was Arthur Zamanakos’s Valentine to her. Arthur Zamanakos has given generously to the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Music Department. In 2010, he established the Alice Fleury Zamanakos and Arthur S. Zamanakos Scholarship in Music to benefit students with financial need who show promise in the study of music. Also in 2010, Zamanakos established a Prize in Music to benefit students in music studies, instrumental performance, or choral performance. There is also the Alice Fleury Zamanakos and Arthur S. Zamanakos Music Fellowship in Alba, Italy to benefit students who are promising performers.
Zamanakos further donated a piano for use in one of the practice rooms in Montgomery Hall. The Music Department expressed their gratitude directly to Zamanakos, who was present at the performance on Friday evening. It was stated that Zamanakos personally selected the songs that were performed during the show, as they had been the favorites of his and his wife throughout her lifetime.
The show was directed by Larry Vote, Professor of Music and Special Assistant to the President. Marc Lilley, who is an accompanist, vocal coach, and music director in the D.C. area, accompanied the performance on the piano. Seniors Jessie Blair and Jonathan Wagner, along with first-year Valerie Holt and junior Ryan Thompson, performed vocally.
Popular Broadway songs such as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from “My Fair Lady” and “Maria” from “West Side Story” were performed by Blair and Thompson, respectively. Blair presented Zamanakos with a rose during her performance of “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” getting some smiles from the audience. Holt impressed the audience by singing “La Vie En Rose” entirely in French, while Thompson charmed the audience with “I’ll Know” from “Guys in Dolls” by singing flirtatiously to Holt and Blair throughout.
The show opened and closed with group ensemble performances, with the rest of the pieces being solos. The singing company opened with the title song from “Cabaret” and closed with “The New World” from “Songs for a New World.”
Before the closing piece, Vote prompted a short performance from the singers and audience of “Happy Birthday” to Zamanakos. Cupcakes and refreshments were provided for the audience and performers after the show in recognition of his birthday.
After the show, the singers were given a standing ovation from the audience and a long applause. At the beginning of the performance, Vote had stated that he hoped this “Double ‘A’ Cabaret” show would become an annual tradition. Because of how well-received and highly attended the show was, there will hopefully be more performances of this type in the future.
“The student singers put on a magical performance,” said senior Carolyn Reiner. “Mr. Zamanakos’s love for his wife is very touching. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
Senior Kenneth Doutt also enjoyed the performance, saying, “‘Double ‘A’ Cabaret’ proved to be a wonderful show with a wide selection of well chosen musical numbers that truly accentuated each vocalist’s talents.”