Ask A Cabaret Question Wednesday At McElrath Cabaret–Do You Aspire To Passionate Virtuosity In Your Cabaret Singing? Join the Conversation!


Welcome to McElrath Cabaret–We hope you enjoy our cabaret blog!


Hi!  Wednesday is the day of the week when we at McElrath Cabaret post a cabaret question for the consideration of our readers.  The questions have something to do with cabaret, in all its many aspects.


We encourage you to send us any cabaret question that you have that you would like us to pose to the group! You can leave a question in the comments section below, or you can email it to us at kjandathenacabaret [at] Just fill in the [at] with the @ symbol—we need to foil the spam bots, don’cha know.


This week’s question is:  Do you aspire to passionate virtuosity in your cabaret singing?


This is an idea that hails from superb jazz bassist Chuck Israels, who taught college jazz music for many years.  I don’t know that I have this down word perfectly, but the gist of the thought is this:

There are those who say that music performance is like love-making.  Heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal, as does heartless skill.  The ideal to which we should aspire, however, is passionate virtuosity.

I have seen singers who loved to sing but were not very good at it, and I have seen singers who were technically excellent but were really cold and unfeeling when it came to connecting with an audience.  The ideal might be the middle ground between these two, which could be classified as passionate virtuosity.

It is interesting to watch people when they are performing a song, maybe at an open mic or piano bar, and see where they fall on this spectrum of emotion and skill.  Then, harder, take a look at yourself and see where you are.

Singing is a very intimate activity that most people take very personally, and it can be hard to take any kind of criticism about how we sing.  I think this is because our emotions are tied up with singing, and we bring so much of ourselves up on the stage to be viewed and judged by an audience.  Without a lot of self confidence in yourself and in your singing technique that you have honed and perfected over time, as well as confidence in your mentors who help to guide you along the path to becoming a cabaret entertainer, singers sometimes try to protect themselves from the audience by falling into one of those two extremes of performance.   I think to move from performer to entertainer, however, you’ve got to move toward that place of passionate virtuosity.

Here is a singer that I consider sang with passionate virtuosity:  the legendary Billy Eckstine singing “Everything I Have Is Yours”:

Do you agree or disagree with this analysis?  I can’t wait to hear what your responses are to today’s question, so let me know down in the comments here. 


You can also leave a comment on LinkedInGoogle+Facebook or Twitter.  And you can always feel free to drop us a line, either in the comments below or send us a direct email, and let us know a cabaret question that you would like us to ask, and we’ll do our best to include it in an upcoming Wednesday post.


I truly look forward to your joining the conversation with your comments! We value each of our readers very much, and hope to entertain you and give you a place to come and learn more about cabaret.


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We are now also on LinkedIn–which has a Cabaret group you should join (!)–and Google+.  You can connect with us there as well.


We appreciate your support!

Till next time, 

ps–The Cabaret Soiree Link Party is still going strong–you can visit anytime to click on the links and see what others have posted, or you can share your own recent cabaret blog or cabaret website link from now through Thursday.  Link is below.


Weekly Post Lineup At McElrath Cabaret:

Mondays:  Cabaret Soiree Cabaret Blog Link Party

Tuesdays:  Cabaret Tip Tuesday

Wednesdays:  Ask A Cabaret Question

Thursdays: Featured Cabaret Blog, Website, Performer

Fridays:  Cabaret Through Time

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About Athena at McElrath Cabaret

Athena McElrath is an entertainer with a love for theatre and singing. She enjoys delving in the area of historical cabaret, researching the singers and clubs that were in business from before 1920 to the present, in New York and beyond.
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