Jerome, featured here with fellow Class of Cabaret star Naomi Crosby.

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival is now in full swing and will be swinging from 5th until 20th of June.

As a diverse and dynamic festival, there is something on offer for everyone of all tastes, and for all generations.

One of the interesting programs in the Festival is Class of Cabaret, where young singers are mentored and coached for six months before performing a show in the Festival.

One such performer participating in the class this year is 16-year-old Jerome Javier, a year eleven student at ASMS (Adelaide Science and Maths School).

The self-taught musician is part of a group of 27 students from across South Australia who successfully auditioned to be in the program.

The difference, however, is Jerome auditioned independently, without the assistance of his school.

Jerome, featured here with fellow Class of Cabaret star Naomi Crosby.
Jerome, featured here with fellow Class of Cabaret star Naomi Crosby.

“I go to ASMS, so it’s a bit different to the other students in Class of Cabaret because my school mainly focuses on science and maths. It’s a specialty school so I don’t get to do music like the others here,” he says.

Because of that, I try and take any opportunity to do music. So to get into Cabaret, I auditioned myself. I recorded myself individually and sent an email through. When I first sent the email through, the Class of Cabaret people thought I was a teacher because I was the only one who did it by themselves!”

Bravely taking a chance on Class of Cabaret, Jerome was thrilled when he won a place in the program.

“This is my debut,” he laughs, nervously. “It’s such an honour. I’ve never been in a performance before. I sing at church sometimes, but apart from that, Class of Cabaret is the only music I have, so I’m really grabbing on to the opportunity.”

As well as being given the opportunity to be guided by such cabaret greats as musical director Matthew Carey, with mentors Michael Griffiths, Kim Spargo, Amelia Ryan and Stacy McCandless, the Class of Cabaret students can undertake the event as a school subject.

“I’m doing Creative Arts, which is a SACE subject through CentreEd who sponsor Class of Cabaret,” Jerome says. “We do this subject corresponding with our cabaret program so we get assessed through the show and use it as a year 12 subject. “

Jerome is a determined young man with a genuine passion for music and performing.

Wearing his heart on his sleeve, he is courageously embracing an unfamiliar world of chaos and cabaret, and dedicating his performance to his late father.

“My dad drove me to become a performer. He has always been my inspiration. He used to play guitar and he taught me. But we moved to Australia when he passed away,” he says.

“I was originally living in Darwin before we moved to Adelaide four years ago, but before that, I lived in The Philippines. I came here my sister, my brother and my mum.”

Having grown up listening to the music of Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson, Jerome has hopes of becoming a professional musician, a doctor, or a musical doctor!

“I always dreamed of being a professional performer and musician. But being at a maths and science school, it’s hard to bridge a pathway into that. My mum is expecting me to become a doctor or an engineer but I’m at a crossroad. Do I become a performer or a doctor? Or both!” he laughs.

After six months of hard work on Class of Cabaret, Jerome is looking forward to getting on the stage and showing Adelaide what he has learned. And what he has learned falls in nicely with the catchphrase of the Festival.

“The slogan of Adelaide Cabaret Festival is ‘There are no rules’, so teaching myself how to sing and play instruments – I have lived up to that. When I taught myself instruments, I would see what it said in the book and what I had to play in the guitar charts, or that I had to sing it a certain way; but I went my own way and learned to be my own artist because there are no rules,” he says, proudly.

You can catch Jerome and the rest of the cast at Class of Cabaret on 14th June, but hurry, tickets are selling fast.

By Libby Parker
Photo supplied

Originally published in BSide Magazine
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