By Christian Colon
On Feb. 26, the Sacred Heart Performing Arts department held their yearly fundraiser “Gender Benders” in the Edgerton Center.
“Gender Benders” is a student-run showcase where participants can sing or dance to any song originally by an artist of the opposite gender. The event is mandatory for all students in the Theatre Arts Program (TAP), but is open to all to perform and attend.
“Gender Benders started a few years ago and is one of the traditions now within the program,” said senior Tori Vacca.
The event is planned by Vacca and helps to raise money for the TAP program and gives students an opportunity to perform on stage. Tickets are sold for $3 before the event and $5 at the door, for the TAP program’s fundraising bank. “The money is put towards the various workshops, events and projects throughout the year. It’s the main way we get to do other things outside of shows,” said Vacca.
The event this year consisted of twenty vocal performances and two group dance numbers, and was hosted by seniors Justin Weigel and Andrew Patino. The performances are different every year, with students choosing a serious or comedic song. The songs this year ranged from “Hey Soul Sister” by Train (performed by sophomore Olivia Sheppard), to “Let It Go” from Frozen (performed by freshman Sal Morlino).
Gender Benders gives students the opportunity to perform in front of the whole TAP program without needing to be in a musical or play.
“Rarely are we in the same room besides meetings, so it’s nice to have an event like this where we can all take a break to come together for something we love,” said Vacca.
The planning for this event is different from other shows that the school performs. “To plan it, I have to treat it like a cabaret night. So I have to get performers with their music tracks, then I work with sound and light designers to help me tech through the show! Lastly is adding staff and selling tickets,” said Vacca.
Performers who sign up for the event are given the chance to show off their skills to their peers in a supportive environment.
“I have never felt more comfortable on stage. I love how supportive the performers, the tech crew and the audience are of each other,” said junior Jay Williams. “This is my third year performing at Gender Benders and I mainly do it for fun and that it also gives me an opportunity to perform on a stage in a casual setting.”
While the fundraiser’s main goal is to raise money for the performing arts program, it also gives performers of all grades an opportunity to get involved in performing.
“I am a little sad to see my last Gender Benders, but I am hoping underclassmen who were a little too nervous this year can give it a shot next year,” said senior performer Liam O’Donnell. “Be a star, do whatever you want, wear heels and those crowns, my kings and queens!”
The open mic style of the event gives freshman a chance to perform on the Edgerton stage and grow as performers.
“I loved performing for Gender Benders because it’s a super unique opportunity and I liked watching all the other performances. It was really fun doing it as a freshman because now I have three more years to do it again,” said freshman Marykate Kiley.
“I really enjoyed watching Gender Benders and it was a really enjoyable night. It was also nice to see that I was in a supportive program, so I cannot wait for next year,” said freshman Grace Curley.