Students have a latte fun performing: Annual Coffeehouse event funds LitMag publication


Twice a year, the Commons, an area normally characterized by rambunctious conversation and stray banana peels on the floor, transforms into a sanctuary for musical and poetic talent. Students bask on couches and soak up the tranquility of being surrounded by the arts. The school’s literary magazine, Pulp, hosted this semester’s Coffeehouse on Nov. 18 and was met with growing attendance and enthusiastic reception.
The real purpose of Coffeehouse, apart from providing an outlet for creative expression, is to raise money for the literary magazine (colloquially dubbed LitMag) and sell copies of Pulp. Students are allowed to submit pieces of literature to the LitMag for review and potential publication, and purchasing the magazine is a way to support both the writers and the publishers. “Coffeehouse serves as a way to fund the actual creation of the LitMag, but it’s also a way for us to show the talent our community has to offer,” junior LitMag editor Avery Tarwater said.
One of the touchstones of every Coffeehouse is that each of the school’s a capella groups performs, usually in the form of a musical medley with a solo or two. “We started learning songs in a capella class, and we’d rehearse in front of the other groups before we actually performed to get comments and feedback,” senior Chromatics member Matthew Rosenthal said. “It was great — we sang ‘Under the Bridge’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
Students milled around the Commons, picking up brownies from tables covered in food and joyfully reuniting with alumni who came back for the event. Reactions to the musical talents ranged from applause to rollicking laughter, depending on the nature of the performance. Standout performances includes senior AJ Stanislaus and junior Line Bower’s acoustic rendition of “Hey Ya” by OutKast, senior Meghan Wright’s idyllic performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and a band of underclassmen’s soot-covered, energetic jam session to a punk version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.”
Although upperclassmen appreciate Coffeehouse and relish the performances, some feel nostalgic for the days when the event included a more diverse mix of artistic mediums. For instance, a sizeable portion of Coffeehouse used to be composed of slam poetry. “I’d really love if we could treat Coffeehouse like an open mic night so people could bring in literature that they’d written instead of solely music,” senior Daria Kerschenbaum said. “Slam poetry, perhaps?”
The night concluded with a meaningful, harmonica-laden performance of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” from English teachers Zachary Lowe and Nick Hitchens and science teacher David Bitler. From hard rock to classic Americana, the night was, by all measures, a success.


Rachel Altman