Coffee House: A Sanctuary for the Arts
by Ella Spungen and Jessica Gross
The darkened Pratt Theater echoed with excited chatter Thursday, Dec. 05, around 6:30 p.m. as students, teachers, and parents filed in, grabbing doughnuts and preparing for the long-awaited Coffee House. A hush fell over the theater as Skye Brodsky (‘18) and Emily Benson (‘18), Writer’s Club leaders and Coffee House organizers, approached the microphone to make their opening remarks, signifying the start of the annual show.
Originally, Coffee House was scheduled for before Winter Break, but a lack of initial performer interest caused the show to be postponed to a further date while the leaders encouraged more students to participate. Fortunately, they managed to muster a total of 15 performances, and the show went above and beyond in showcasing the talents of many creative and skilled students from all grades.
“My favorite part about organizing Coffee House is feeling like I’m giving people a platform to express themselves. As Packer’s curriculum is very demanding and students get stressed around this time of the year, I love working to give students a space to release all of that anxiety and just have fun,” said Kristin Howell (‘17), the third organizer of Coffee House. “Someone pushed me to do Coffee House when I was a freshman and it has truly shaped my Packer experience. I want to be able to pass on that blessing.”
The performances kicked off with a resonating rendition of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse sung by Maya Goodwin (‘19), featuring Theo Eagle (‘18) on the box drum. This was followed by an array of performances including original poetry, monologues, and the many song covers that are an integral part of any show at Packer.
“The performances covered a wide subject area and it really made me appreciate how much talent kids at Packer have. There were a lot of people who performed that I didn’t know had such talent,” said Emma Eaton (‘19), who attended the show for the first time this year.
The upperclassmen came out in full force for Coffee House, occupying the majority of the roster and giving a variety of high-caliber performances. A few practiced performers even appeared on stage multiple times. Among them was Delilah Draper (‘18), with two impressive original scenes performed by herself and Iva Fehr (‘17). Theo and George Rukan (‘18) appeared in various singing and musical performances, one of which included Ben Crane (‘18). The well-known trio delivered a humble rendition of “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens, led by George’s powerful vocals and accompanied by masterful guitar and trombone by Ben and Theo respectively.
“The arts are so powerful and sometimes I feel that they get pushed aside, but seeing students of all ages get up on that stage moved me. I could see how much it meant to them and we need that in the world. We need to encourage and provide spaces for young artists to foster their craft because it can do so much,” said Delilah who has performed at Coffee House every year since she was a freshman.
The performances given by freshmen and sophomores adhered strictly to music, showcasing solo performances along with singing duets such as a rendition of Passenger’s “Let Her Go” by Kaitlin Flores (‘19) and Sofia Saldanha (‘19) as well as a cover of “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, done by Zachary Redhead (‘20) and Talia Hartman Siegel (‘20). All of these performances were accompanied by either piano playing or guitar, promising appearances from talented student musicians for years to come.“I think that the show was amazing. There was so much talent on stage that brought so many different emotions. Everyone worked really hard on their performance, and it showed. I definitely want to perform at Coffee House again,” said Zachary.