Last year, 19-year-old Melanie Ebanks put on a solo show, Cocktails & Cabaret, at the Prospect Playhouse to raise funds for a cause that resonated with her: George Town Primary School’s plans for a new performing arts centre.
This year the young actress and singer will present a new version of the cabaret show, with funds going to a cause even closer to her heart: the Zak Quappe Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Zak, who was killed in a car accident in May, was the son of local musicians Chuck and Barrie Quappe, and was Ebanks’s cousin.
The Zak Quappe Memorial Fund
Zak, 21, was passionate about flying and had planned to make a career of it. He first showed an interest at age 12, and for five years attended summer camps at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, taking his first solo flight at age 17.
When he was 18, he told his parents he wanted to make flying a career and enrolled in the ATP Flight School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he obtained his commercial licence.
He then flew in various location in the US, building up his flight time and experience before returning to Grand Cayman, where the Cayman Flying Club assisted in sponsoring him to get his certified flight instructor rating in 2012.
He then went to work at the Cayman Flying Club as an instructor, where he was employed Hup until the accident that claimed his life. Zak trained a number flight students, many of them more than twice his age, and gained almost 400 hours of flight time.
Depending on how quickly an individual performs, it costs roughly $12,000 to obtain the necessary flight hours and training to earn a private pilot’s license.
Zak was also passionate about seeing his friends doing things they loved. Thus, his family felt that the best way to continue what Zak had started, and a fitting memorial to him, would be to set up a fund to provide financial assistance to young Caymanians with an interest in flying.
The fund, set up by his parents and two aunts, is managed by a committee, which is now ready to receive applications from interested parties.
The Cabaret Show
“I wanted to do the show again this year and have been thinking about it for a very long time,” says Ebanks. “After Zak’s accident I immediately knew that I wanted to dedicate the show to him, and when I was told about the Zak Quappe Memorial Scholarship Fund, I knew it was a great charity to donate money to.”
Cocktails & Cabaret takes place at the Prospect Playhouse on 23 and 24 August. The show will consist of a musical theatre repertoire, but this year Ebanks will be joined on stage by three others, all friends and family of her and Zak.
“David Verhoeven is a long-time family friend. He has also been in several CDS shows,” she says. “Rory Mann is no stranger to the stage at CDS. Finally, mine and Zak’s cousin, Lani Bothwell, who is an amazing singer that we convinced to let us drag her up on a stage for the first time.
“The show is going to be a great night of fun and laughter for everyone.”
The performers will once again be accompanied by Glen Inanga on piano.
Happy Hour will begin at 6.30pm on both nights, and the show starts at 7pm.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for those under 12. For information and tickets call 925 9823 or 916 2722.