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Coffee House: A New Era

It’s that time of the year again: the weather is getting colder, Christmas songs are on repeat, and one of Packer’s favorite events, Coffee House, is right around the corner.

Coffee House is a time when students can share their musical and artistic talents in front of their fellow classmates and teachers. This event is just one of the many ways Packer tries to spark students’ interest in the arts, creating a space where students can share their work and appreciate the work of others.  It takes place at 6:30 pm in the Pratt theatre. The setup is similar to how a Coffee house would be in a regular cafe: open mic and a band. There are no auditions; anyone who signs up is performing.

The first Coffee House was on May 19, 2014. The Writer’s club leaders that year, Karli Wachtel (’14), Lauren Kingsley (’15), Viviane Eng (’14) and Community Service club leader–Gabrielle Miranda (’14), sponsored and organized Coffee House through numerous bake sales and other fundraisers. Now, the event has been run by Writer’s club ever since and will take place on December 12th this year.

Skye Brodsky (18’), Emily Benson (18’), and Kristin Howell, (17’), the current leaders of writer’s club, have been a part of the club since their freshman years. In the past, these girls have worked hard with leaders to organize Coffee House. Now, it’s their turn to step up and run the event that they have grown to love.

“What was exciting about it was that coming in as freshman, it was this cool new thing, and I would have participated in it, even if I wasn’t in writer’s club,” says Kristin. “I think in freshman year it’s really hard to find what you want to do, what you are interested in, and where to find your base in Packer, and Coffee House was where it was for me.”

In recent years Coffee House has attracted a large crowd of people who wanted to see student performers like PJ McCormick (16’), Ben Bienstock (16’), Zoe Ervolino (16’), and many more who have graduated that were well-known for their gracious signing talents and original song and written-word compositions. As the roster of performers has decreased, some might question whether the quality of the show this year will be as high.

As a result of the majority of Coffee House performers graduating, not enough students signed up to perform for this event to happen on December 12th. Writer’s club leaders decided that it was a better idea to push the event back so students may be more willing to sign up, rather than canceling the event overall.

However, as the number of student performers decreases every year, one may wonder what does this mean for the future of Coffee House. Will this be the last year that the event happens? Can they get enough performers for it to happen this year?

The Writer’s club have no doubt that there is a substantial amount of talented students in the ninth and tenth grades. Nevertheless, they feel that the younger students reluctance to perform, perhaps because of being too scared, is what is preventing Coffee House from happening. They hope that giving these students a little more time to make a decision will boost the roster of performers.

Although the significance of Coffee House has altered over the years, students who have participated in the event hope it will continue to positively affect others, as it did to them.

“Oftentimes we don’t realize how talented our peers are, and a lot of that talent goes unrecognized by students and faculty, so Coffee House is a great way to encourage students to share what their passion is and to foster a creative environment,” says Theo Eagle (‘18), a student performer in Coffee House. “It’s really just a space that students can go to that is free of judgment and a way that they can really connect with their peers that they can’t do in the classroom.”

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