by Madalyn Johnson & Jessica McKenzie,Web Editor and Asst. Features Editor
The first Coffee House of spring semester, held on Jan. 30, showcased student talent at Manhattan College. The show featured everything from ukulele versions of Panic! At the Disco hits to an original rap about environmental sustainability, MC students proved once again that their talents are unstoppable.
Coffee House takes place once a month in Hayden 100. Any student is encouraged to perform their talents for thirty or so peers. Acts include musical talents, stand-up comedy or slam poetry.
Senior chemical engineering major Erin McWilliams has been attending and performing at Coffee House events for two years after she was introduced to the event by a friend. The two began participating at Coffee House regularly. She is now one of the hosts of the show, along with Chantal Flores and Joseph Corrao.
“We really wanted to create an environment where people would be open to sharing, where they would want to perform their talents,” McWilliams said.
At first, McWilliams found performing at Coffee House to be especially nerve-wracking. Most people amongst the audience will end up performing by the end of the event, however, so the environment is relaxed.
“Coffee House is like a ‘good vibes only’ kind of place … If someone knows how to play an instrument to the song you want to sing, they can volunteer to come up and play those parts. I think it’s the collaborative community that draws people to Coffee House. That’s why people should come and try it out,” McWilliams said.
The hosts of Coffee House often perform songs on the spot between acts, so that they make students feel comfortable performing. This past show, they performed spontaneous covers of “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley and “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.
Matthew Sweeney, junior civil engineer major, experienced his first Coffee House last Thursday night after he was introduced to the show by McWilliams. A friendly face around MC campus, Sweeney is a big fan of The Grateful Dead, and he performed three songs by the band. Sweeney was accompanied by guitarist Zach DiRenzo, who he had just met.
“I secretly like to sing. I hadn’t performed publicly so this was the perfect transition to public performances,” Sweeney said. “Finding a fan of The Grateful Dead is always awesome. I was able to just get up there without any sort of rehearsals and just jam out.”
Sweeney was not the only new face at Coffee House this month. Freshman communication major Sophie Ryan found a new home on the stage with piano covers of “Brooklyn Baby” by Lana Del Rey and the Little Mermaid classic “Part of Your World.”
Experienced with high school open mics, Ryan has been singing since she was a child. She enjoyed the easygoing atmosphere of Coffee House.
“Everyone is there to support you. Everyone has a great time. If you want to perform or do anything in front of an audience, I totally recommend the experience,” Ryan said.