by Dave Warner

If you happened to be in Canal Place last night, you would have heard a fantastic Cabaret performance by Julia Grippe, Ann Kocuba and Jane Malin. The standing-room-only event at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts had an overflow crowd of people out in the street, listening to the performance.

It was a fun evening of songs from Broadway and Musical Theater, including ‘All the Things You Are’, ‘Anyone Can Whistle’, ‘How Could I Ever Know’, ‘I Ain’t Down Yet’, and others.

The Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts’ Executive Director Jane Malin said, “Julia and Ann cooked this thing up.”

Kocuba said, “I found these beautiful songs that I felt would be perfect for Julia, and I said to Jane ‘we should do a Cabaret and she said alright’.”

“We started with a couple of pieces, and as you can see, it turned into more than that. We’ve had a great time with the rehearsals and in my mind, that’s always the fun part,” said Malin.

The trio had been practicing for the performance since the end of May. “We would get together about once a week and just throw in music and cut music. We had enough to probably do five hours, so we cut it back to where it’s about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes,” she said.

Julia Grippe is a 19-year-old sensation with a beautiful voice that recently graduated from HCCC with an associate’s degree in the Music Industry. She was a student of Kocuba’s while there. She is going on to attend SUNY Corland this fall to get a bachelor’s degree in Communications, with a minor in American Music Theater.

Grippe said “I’m going to minor in American Musical Theater so that I can keep studying my voice because that’s my passion. All I do is sing, morning, noon and night.”

Kocuba lives in Herkimer and is a highly sought-after accompaniest throughout the Mohawk Valley. She is a retired, 30-year vocal teacher from the Ilion School District and a church organist for Emmanual Episcopal Church of Little Falls and St. Francis of Herkimer. She’s also the accompanist for the Mohawk Valley Choral Society, and an NYSSMA adjudicator.

Malin, of Salisbury Center, is a longtime choir director at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church and has sung locally and throughout the US, both solo and with various jazz and choral groups. She frequently donates her talents for numerous non-profit fundraisers but is an engineer by trade.

“This is my fifth year and the first time that I’ve ever done any singing here, so this is kind of fun for me,” said Malin.