Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion

an initiative of Working In Concert

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2022 Program

19 SESSIONS on 14 THEMES (details below the schedule)

Conference instructors and leaders, left to right:
Row 1: Patrick Pernet, Lynne Jordan, Claudia Hommel, Dale Calandra, Michèle Barbier.
Row 2: Cynthia Clarey, Carla Gordon, Denise Tomasello, Kyle Hustedt, Spider Saloff
Row 3: Beckie Menzie, Dan Stetzel, Clotilde Rullaud, Elisabeth Howard, Elizabeth Doyle and David Edelfelt
Row 4: Darren Stephens, Alex Rybeck, Isabelle Georges, Margaret Murphy Webb, Jeff Harnar
  • Creating and Promoting the Diva in Each of Us, Q&A moderated by Margaret Murphy Webb with Lynne Jordan, Michèle Barbier and Denise Tomasello
  • How to build your show with Alex Rybeck and Jeff Harnar
  • Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken with Isabelle Georges
  • Bridging Communication and Vocal Technique with David Edelfelt
  • Jazzing Up Your Show with Spider Saloff
  • Vocal Power, master class with Elisabeth Howard
  • Finding and making the song your own with Beckie Menzie
  • Creating Original Material with Darren Stephens, Elizabeth Doyle and Patrick Pernet
  • Patter Matters: communicating with your audience. Carla Gordon and Claudia Hommel
  • Playing with your pianist, musicality and communication. Dan Stetzel, Elizabeth Doyle, and Patrick Pernet
  • Moving to the Music with Kyle Hustedt and Hot Toddy (lessons from the world of burlesque)
  • Comedy: Singing, songs & styles with Dale Calandra
  • Finding the vowels and vocal resonance with Clotilde Rullaud
  • ADDED for Friday afternoon: Healthy techniques for every voice with Clotilde Rullaud and Elisabeth Howard together [Cabaret performance for opera singers with Cynthia Clarey will be planned for a Fall 2022 weekend intensive]

All sessions will be held in the morning and afternoon, Monday to Friday, May 9-13, at Holy Trinity High School, 1443 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642. Free parking in the lot to the East. The nearest CTA station is the Blue Line Division St station two blocks west of the school.

All morning sessions begin at 10 AM. Doors open on Monday at 9:30 AM to complete registration and payments.
Most afternoon sessions begin at 2:30 PM, with a few exceptions to be announced in the printed schedule.


(Starred sessions are repeated; 8, 10 or 12 are optimal number of singers working in each)

Q&A on Creating and Promoting the Diva in Each of Us. Margaret Murphy Webb as moderator will collect your questions for the panelists prior to the conference. What do you want to know from Denise Tomasello, the “Queen of Chicago Cabaret”, that has given her career its longevity? What “Lessons from Josephine Baker” would you like Michèle Barbier to share? How has Lynne Jordan diversified her storytelling to become a favorite from Roger Ebert to the Raue Center artist-in-residence? Keep questions concise, to the point, and of course relevant.

Alex Rybeck and Jeff Harnar* 10How to build your show
While in Cabaret rules are made to be broken, in this session Performer/Director JEFF HARNAR and Music Director ALEX RYBECK offer suggestions and guidelines on how to structure a cabaret act. Topics to be covered include the dramatic arc of the show, the pacing, the build and the use of patter: how best to realize your vision musically, structurally and thematically all in a way that is profoundly and definitively personal … and, we hope, winningly entertaining. Bring a notebook of 20 to 30 songs being considered for your next show.

Isabelle Georges* 10“Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken” The quote is from Oscar Wilde and serves as Isabelle’s motto for her master classes. There is joy to be shared, and healing that comes from the sharing of song. We are excited to have this consummate and generous performer working with us.

Beckie Menzie* 8Finding and making the song your own.
Join renowned musical director and vocal coach Beckie Menzie for a session focused on how to identify and find the right material and then how to make it  your own.  Beckie  will guide you in finding the right key, arrangement, lyric interpretation and presentation style  and remove the obstacles that prevent you from making the leap from ‘good singing’ to delivering a powerful performance.

Kyle Hustedt and Hot Toddy * 12Moving to the Music (thoughtful expression through the body—lessons from burlesque). Making music is at the heart; making sense of it is at the limbs.  Actions of the body are as crucial as learning the notes and rhythm. Finding the “comfort zone” of your body language on stage during a performance will make or break the delivery of the song.  We’ll dive into the theory that translates basic movements as choreography—everything from a simple smirk or gesture to using the landscape of the stage to your advantage.  Tailored to your abilities and needs, each participant will have the opportunity to work one or two of their selections. Mild to wild—you get from the audience what you give them. We give you tools to pop off the page and onto the stage. Todd Michael Kiech (Hot Toddy), from Chicago, is the 2009 Burlesque Hall of Fame’s ‘King of Burlesque’.

Carla Gordon and Claudia Hommel— Patter Matters: communicating with your audience.
While other workshops will explore text and subtext of our lyrics, let’s take a look at what happens in between the songs. What setup or context connects the song to your audience? Whether the song serves as soundtrack to the world we live in or is a time-travel vehicle to another time, its “patter” helps point the way.

Dale Calandra* 10 Comedy: Singing, songs & styles [This workshop is required for the showcase concert!]
The goal is to free up your presentation through your VOICE, BODY, & CHARACTER CREATION. COMEDY is an Art, not a Science. We’ll explore methods of performing a “Comic Song” in many genres. Prepare a Comedy-Style Song from Broadway/Cabaret/Parody/Etc. Bring 2 copies of your sheet music and “Props/Costumes” you might want to use.

Dale serves as our Creative Director and will attend many of the other workshops during the week. In order to sing in the showcase concert, you must attend at least one of Dale’s sessions, 3 others during the week, and the Saturday morning rehearsal. He’ll be compiling the Saturday showcase concert based on the songs you bring. Howie Pfeifer will accompany at the piano for Dale’s sessions and the showcase concert.

Clotilde Rullaud —Finding the vowels and vocal resonance
We continue exploring what it feels likes to “sing with one’s bones”; and for those who prefer, we will apply this to singing in French. Poetry—the music of words and the depth of texts beyond the music itself— is one of the specificities of French song. Making vowels and consonants resound, using diction, resonators, sound colors and textures to release and share the emotion contained in a poetic text. “It’s because I’m resonating that the Other resonates with me.” Refining our ear to listen to the bones and their harmonics.

Clotilde Rullaud and Elisabeth Howard —Healthy technique for every voice
Whether you sing opera, jazz, Broadway or pop, Clotilde and Elisabeth will address vocal techniques to make the healthy and most resonant choices for each.

Dan Stetzel, Elizabeth Doyle, and Patrick Pernet: Playing with your pianist.
Speaking the Language of your Accompanist. Whether meeting for the first time at an open mic or working for years with a pianist partner, there’s an essential vocabulary to share. Tempo, Key, and Song Form. Knowing the song’s right key for your voice, how to set the tempo, knowing the structure of your song (for example, the 32-bar AABA American song), making room for piano solos, and what to do when the sheet music doesn’t give enough information. Patrick will offer his own arrangement of your song. How will you communicate even if you don’t speak French?

David Edelfelt 10Bridging Communication and Vocal Technique. Does your vocal technique get in the way of your communicating a song? Or is it more likely that your attempt to communicate a song gets in the way of your technique? Master voice teacher and vocal coach David Edelfelt will help you assess and then balance your strengths and weaknesses of both the technical aspects of singing and the skills needed for implementing compelling and effective choices in dramatic or comedic song communication to allow for a balancing of your best work in both areas. Please prepare two selections in any genre from which one will be chosen.

Elisabeth Howard 10 —a master class using Elisabeth’s trademarked “Vocal Power technique
Power, range expansion, vibrato control, volume, dynamics, pitch; whether singing Pop, Rock, Country, Blues, R&B or Broadway. Elisabeth will lay her hands on your voice to find new expression.

Darren Stephens, Elizabeth Doyle and Patrick Pernet— Creating original material
In this workshop, participants will be given guidance and inspiration in the process of creating original material. (Original songs will be emphasized, but mashups and parodies will be discussed as well.) Thoughts will be shared on how to improvise words and music, either separately or at the same time. You’ll get ideas on how to take the beginning bones of a song, as developed in this workshop, and move toward a fully-written piece.

Spider Saloff 12Jazzing Up Your Show.  How to spice up any cabaret show with rhythm and style, spacing, phrasing, and improvisational ideas with your musicians.