History of Cabaret
It started in 1993 as a one-time event to raise money for chairs in the Gym. A capital campaign had funded the cost of expanding the Gym but not enough to pay for new chairs. That was unacceptable to Paul Hempe so he approached Anna Vagle about a “fund raising” show that would celebrate the music and musicians of St. Joan of Arc parish while raising funds for the much needed new chairs.
Anna, never lacking enthusiasm, thought a show was an “amazing” idea! Cabaret was born.
A small group of like-minded people got together to build on Paul’s idea and Anna’s enthusiasm. Dennis Heaney joined as Chair; Cathy Meyer agreed to take charge of Food; Lynn Hempe was enlisted to oversee the critical area of finances; George and Harriet Horner coordinated the raffle and volunteers; and Paul Hempe’s creative talents focused on décor including the painting of a stage/backdrop - an image of St. Joan of Arc in her ecstatic moment listening to God's direction for her life.
The first major hurdle was enlisting the pastor’s support. Father George Wertin was supportive and helped overcome the resistance of some who were firm in the belief that SJA did not ask for or talk about money. For them, the idea of a Cabaret fund raiser took some adjustment. However the organizing committee, now a band of “believers”, wasn’t daunted by objections. They kept going and were a little independent in the process.
The first Cabaret was held in September, 1994 - one night only – and the audience loved it so much they wouldn’t go home. In early 1995, seeing the need to raise more money for sound system improvements, the Cabaret committee thought they could do “one more show”. When a committee member proposed they could raise more money by doing two shows. The answer was “No, we’d never be able to sell two shows”. On a Sunday in early September, the tickets for the 1995 show went on sale after the 9 a.m. Gym Mass. The tickets were gone in 15 minutes.
Almost in shock at the sellout, Anna, Dennis, Lynn and Paul quickly met in the music room between the 9 and the 11 am Masses and agreed that a second show should be added. Every year since both Cabaret shows have been sellouts. In the last 21 years Cabaret has raised over $1.5 million dollars for the programs and facilities of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community.
Cabaret is a St. Joan of Arc “original." Each year it serves as an excellent fundraiser for our parish and it also lifts up the joy-filled musical spirit of our parish community. If you would like to experience that musical spirit visit our Gym Masses some Sunday – “We Welcome You Wherever You Are On Your Journey”.