Coffee House: A Gathering of Friends in a Low Place

by Michevi Dufflart, Senior Writer

Several music lovers kicked back in Hayden 100 this past Friday, Feb. 28 at the second Coffee House of the year. Known for its inviting and relaxed atmosphere, Coffee House is an event where students can enjoy and display musical talents in the company of friends.

Coffee House was last seen in action on Feb. 12th when Joe Corrao, Chantal Flores and Erin McWilliams hosted a Beatles themed Jam Session. Tying the Jam Session and Coffee House together, these three hosts decided to kick off the Friday night show with a ukulele and piano rendition of “Let It Be.”

The night was followed by covers of songs such as  “Animals” by Neon Trees, “Two Headed Boy” by Neutral Milk Hotel and “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. Some of the performances even featured original music, including that of former Coffee House host and Manhattan College alumni, Alex Constantine.

The appeal to play music at the event, whether it be a cover or an original stems from the friendly and laid back environment.

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(FROM LEFT TO RIGHT) Joe Corrao, Erin McWilliams, and Chantal Flores, the hosts of Coffee House, performing “Animals” by Neon Trees

Madeline LoBono, a somewhat regular Coffee House performer said, “I actually like performing, but I get nervous and this is a low-key environment. It’s nice to get over my nerves by coming here and practicing.” LoBono performed three songs with two other friends that evening, including throwbacks from Hannah Montana and OneDirection.

Popular instruments of the night included the acoustic guitar, ukulele, piano and electric guitar. Matt Hays, a first time returner to Coffee House was one acoustic guitar performer of the night. Hays first performed at Coffee House over a year and a half ago and returned again on Friday to share four songs with the night’s crowd.

The last of Hays’ songs was a duet with Constantine in which the two treated the crowd to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places,” including the rarely performed third verse. Going forward, Hays will likely continue attending Coffee House and he looks forward to meeting more people and playing guitar for them.

Other acoustic guitar performers of the night included the Oscar Tangos, a duo of two guitarists and a singer. The trio highly encouraged crowd participation for their three songs and received it in song chants, claps and laughs.

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The Oscar Tangos dedicated a song to their very supportive friend, Marc LaRoche.

One of their songs was even dedicated to their friend in the crowd, Marc LaRoche. LaRoche recorded the performance and appeared to be in good spirits throughout the experience. “I’m one of their number one supporters … and I try my best to come to all of their gigs … so to have them dedicate that to me was definitely an honor,” said LaRoche.

Some songs played on the ukulele and piano included “Ripped Pants” by Spongebob Squarepants and “I hate u, I love u” by Gnash.

Electric guitar performers also played a number of songs, some including “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones, and “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash.

Given the easy-going nature of the crowd, minor technical difficulties and mess ups were not problematic. In fact, hosts and members of the crowd were quick to find or offer solutions for technical difficulties. Mess ups were also met with supportive words and cheers encouraging performers to continue.

Lauren Spagnuol, a regular Coffee Houser whoplayed ukulele while LoBono sang, admitted to messing up during her performance. However, she didn’t feel discouraged. “We were definitely able to get back into the swing of things, because [the crowd] was still supportive even if we messed up,” said Spagnuol.

While the event was supposed to run for two hours, the crowd was enjoying themselves so much that the hosts let performances continue for another half an hour. Even after the extra half hour was over, students lingered to converse and joined in on some sing alongs for brief songs on the piano.

Coffee House is looking for two new hosts for the coming year, and will return at the end of March to continue to be a welcoming environment for all performers.