South FLorida Cabaret Singers’ Inaugural Event Is a Hit!

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South FLorida Cabaret Singers’ Open Mic

Café Centro, West Palm Beach, FL, January 30, 2023

All photos by Stephen Sorokoff (except where noted)

It’s all Sally Mayes’ fault! In 2015, David Meulemans invited Meri Ziev to participate in a cabaret master class taught by the scintillating Mayes. Despite having attended many concerts in the past, Ziev had no idea what the art form was about. She fell in love with Mayes and with the art of cabaret performance!

Meri Ziev
David Meulemans
Photo: Phillip Tawanchaya
Bobby Peaco

Meulemans has organized cabaret master classes in south Florida since 2012, bringing in cabaret superstar teachers such as Marilyn Maye, Jeff Harnar, Faith Prince, and Sharon McNight, among others.  For the past eight years, Meulemans and Ziev have brainstormed about starting a cabaret community of singers in Florida, but they kept stalling until a few months ago. Ziev said, “What are we waiting for? Everyone just wants a chance to sing together and schmooze for a while. I will arrange an open-mic night.” And so, it began!

Deb Berman
Susan Winter
Jamila Smith

On January 30, 2023, 40 music lovers gathered to hear 15 local vocalists sing, accompanied by award-winning music director Bobby Peaco, at the first event of the South FLorida Cabaret Singers. The open mic was hosted by Ziev, who co-produced the event with Meulemans.  A good time was had by all who gathered around the baby grand at Café Centro in West Palm Beach.

Scott Segall
Rachel Matz Hunter
Rob Russell

For the friends, fans, and “fam” of the performers, Ziev attempted a simplified description, with musical punctuation by the clever Peaco on piano, of what cabaret IS and IS NOT:

Cabaret IS:
· Storytelling through music
· Lyric interpretation from one’s own personal point of view, which, ironically, makes the songs relatable to others
· Unique every time, incorporating individualized arrangements of the music
· Typically presented in an intimate setting
· Engaging and including the audience, or in theatrical terms, “breaks the fourth wall.”

Cabaret IS NOT:
· Karaoke
· A cover or replication of someone else’s version of a song
· Like theater with an invisible fourth wall separating the singer and the audience

Richard Forbes
Jessica Lane Rucker
Meri Ziev & Eli Jacobson
John LaRiviere

Ziev asked if there were members of the American Songbook Association in attendance (there were three) and exhibited a hard copy of Cabaret Scenes Magazine. She pointed out that in both the print and the online versions, there are listingsof shows, venues, and radio stations, beginning, of course, with NYC, followed by the listings by state in alphabetical order: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana…wait, WHAT? Something’s missing! Hmmm, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C.  Oh, and for good measure, England. “Friends, we need to get Florida on the Cabaret Scenes map!” The participants agreed wholeheartedly!

JayCee Driesen
Randy Zinkus
Melissa Boher
Terry Ross

South FLorida Cabaret Singers can expect to have more “meandering open mic nights” in different regions of the state as well as online, with a variety of talented music directors, a calendar of events and shows for the purpose of supporting one another, master classes, networking opportunities, sharing of resources, and more. The next SoFLoCab Singers event will be a class taught by Ari Axelrod on February 28 in Boca Raton.

For more information or to be added to one of the mailing lists as either a singer, accompanist, or as Friends-Fans-&-Fam, contact Meri Ziev at

For information about the upcoming master class contact David Meulemans at