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Requiem for The Geist Cabaret

As patrons of Pranzo Italian Grill and The Geist Cabaret for many years, we were extremely disheartened to hear about them closing.

David Geist created a musical venue from nothing, which he developed over time for people and artists to gather and share their talents. How fortunate Santa Fe has been to have a musician who played piano on Broadway for the productions of “Cats,” “Lion King,” “Les Miserables” and “Wicked” for 20 years. David has also conducted orchestras on and off Broadway, as well as working with composers like Stephen Sondheim and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, and performing with Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford.

As long-time residents of Santa Fe, we were appalled that a beautiful space such as the Geist Cabaret will be destroyed. There is no other small, intimate dinner club in Santa Fe.

David Geist

David Geist knew everyone’s name and welcomed them as they walked in. Such a rarity these days!

It was Santa Fe’s version of Cheers. Every night, David invited singers and musicians to share their talents. The magic encompassed all ages and abilities. There isn’t another establishment in Santa Fe where this was a regular occurrence. Friends looked forward to friends cheering them on as they took the stage.

Professional singer and native Julie Trujillo was a regular performer at this wonderful cabaret. Her exuberance, lovely voice and chemistry with David made these evenings a joy!

Although we firmly believe in children’s education in the arts, the Santa Fe School for the Arts and Pranzo could have formed a synergy that would work for both.

The young adults at the school who are studying piano or voice could have done recitals in the cabaret. In addition, Mr. Geist could have provided life and artistic lessons. To have this invaluable opportunity, as well as to have a chance to perform in public while studying in school, could have been of enormous benefit.

Due to the actions of narrow people who couldn’t figure out how to share this wonderful space, not only are 37 people out of work, but also a beautiful cabaret that was so loved will be gone. An elderly gentleman named Dr. Foulke went to every one of David’s performances for 12 years. It was like a second home to him.

My husband and I were at the last two performances, and the love and sadness in the room was palpable.

It’s a shame that greed took so many people’s livelihoods away. The Geist Cabaret was part of the heart and soul of Santa Fe’s vibrant music scene. Now, sadly, The Geist Cabaret is gone.

Nancy and David Brown live in Santa Fe.