Christmas Cabaret With The Irving Sisters @ Davenport's 12/21/17

Christmas Cabaret With The Irving Sisters @ Davenport's 12/21/17

Searching for directions to Davenport’s Piano Bar Cabaret, I noticed it was slated as “Chicago’s #1 cabaret destination.” I assumed it was a piano bar. But that word cabaret, threw me off. What does it really mean?


As a kid I had seen many shows at the Cabaret Metro, here in Chicago, but it was mostly just rock bands.


In the past, the word cabaret carried a dark connotation, loosely being associated with burlesque, even striptease. It does seem to spark dark thoughts…

According to Wikipedia, cabaret is a nightclub with a stage for performances, or theatrical entertainment, featuring music, song, dance, recitation, or drama.”


On this evening, the cabaret we would be watching consisted of Christmas carols, sung in 3-part harmony, by a group of women calling themselves the Irving Sisters.

Flanked in red velvet dresses, and accompanied by an upright bass and drums, we were treated to a handful of holiday classics.


“White Christmas,” originally sung by Bing Crosby, was poignant and hopeful, all at the same time. The women did a great job of adding some flare, while keeping it close to the version we all know and love.

The song “White Christmas” was written by Irving Berlin, the same man which whom the girls are named after. They are huge fans and heavily influenced by his music. Hence the name, The “Irving” Sisters.

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” seems to usher in hope each year around the holiday. On this night, Kathleen ChristElise LaBarge, and Sarah Simmons all took turns doing that.

Wistful at times, “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” had my mind reeling with memories of family, those present and those now gone.

As far as other standards go, how about a great performance of “My Favorite Things.” A showtune from The Sound of Music that almost sings like a Christmas carol. Their performance made me realize how much I like this song, and how well I know it. The lyrics are brilliant and clever, and hard to keep up with.

“Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels/Doorbells and sleigh bells, And schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings/These are a few of my favorite things.”

One could go as far as saying they sound like The Andrew Sisters. So, it’s not a surprise that they did a knockout version “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Also, “Lullaby of Broadway,” was sweet perfection and a play to their strengths. If these women had a brass band, lookout!

The song choices were introspective, leaving us longing for a time when television didn’t exist. Your imagination was all you needed as you hovered around a radio, listening to live music.


“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” was a perfect fit for the cold night, and “Count Your Blessings” was another nod to their hero, Irving Berlin.

There is no better way to bring home the holidays, than to see a performance like this.

Get more info on the women and their whereabouts at their website.

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