Samantha Savard playing Betty

Cabaret concert explores 60 years of history

Belmont students are gearing up for the final cabaret to ever be performed at the secondary school on Jacklin Road.

Belmont secondary students are gearing up for the final cabaret to ever be performed at the secondary school on Jacklin Road.

The next time a cabaret is performed it will be at one of the new high schools being built at Glen Lake or in Royal Bay.

The theme for the 2014 cabaret is Changing Times: If These Walls Could Talk.

“We are essentially looking at the history of Belmont,” said Mandart Chan, one of the music directors. “It’s music driven but also has dance and drama and with visual arts.”

The cabaret is a collaboration from about 200 music, theatre, dance and art students.

Many of the characters in the cabaret performance have been inspired from photos in the year books.

“What we’ve done is spend a lot of time going through the annuals (yearbooks),” said Melissa Young, Belmont theatre director.

The students and teachers have also spoken to former teachers and administrators and read old newspaper articles on the school.

“People should come to hear the history of Belmont and the history of this whole area,” said Grade 11 student Justin Lavoie. In the production Lavoie is a singer in various groups including Vox and the choir. “There is just a bunch of great history.”

The story starts with a scene of a teacher packing up yearbooks as they are gearing up to move to the new Belmont. The story is then told through historic events of the school including a 1950s Sadie Hawkins Dance, a 1980s pep rally for the senior boys basketball team and the first 10,000 Tonight fundraiser in 2003.

The music in the show will help the audience travel the decades, from 1940s hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys” by the Andrews Sisters to modern songs such as “Firework” by Katy Perry.

The school began in 1947 but it operated out of large tents similar to army barracks. The school’s first yearbook was published in 1950, once the school was build.

“In the ‘50s you couldn’t hold hands with boys in school and no kissing was allowed,” said Grade 12 student Sophie Fowler. “Nowadays people are always making out in the halls.”

The large production of a cabaret hasn’t been tackled by Belmont students since 2011. All of the proceeds go towards scholarships for students taking music or art lessons, camps or post secondary courses.

Last year $2,800 was awarded to 10 students.

The cabaret runs Feb. 27, 28 and March 1 at 7 p.m. with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on March 1. The show is at Belmont secondary school in the spotswood gym, 3067 Jacklin Rd.

Admission is $12 for adults and $10 for seniors, students and children.