For the past three years, right before St. George’s closes for Thanksgiving break, the high school students come to school to find their dining hall covered in string lights and beanbags. Then, while holding mugs of hot chocolate and coffee, they watch as their peers perform at the annual Coffee House. Performances range from singing and playing instruments to students showcasing their original poetry.
Coffee House was started in the 2015-2016 school year by the Poetry Slam Club as a way to provide students an outlet to showcase their artistic talents.
Originally, Coffee House was a relatively small event, but as it grew, many students stepped out of their comfort zones and decided to perform. For junior Hanna Gilmore, performing at Coffee house last year was one of her first times performing in front of a large audience.
“Last year I was really nervous to perform,” Gilmore said, “because the last time I sang in front of a crowd was in fifth grade. But after doing it, I realized I enjoyed it, and it felt really empowering. I ended up joining the Modern Music Ensemble because of it, and it made me want to come back and perform this year as well.”
Gilmore sang Billie Eilish’s famous song “idontwannabeyouanymore” while playing the piano and brought the house down with applause.
Performing in front of a crowd might seem daunting to some, but other students have no problem with putting themselves on a stage.
One of these students is sophomore Velton Baggett, who used turntables and self-written raps at Coffee House. Before he performed, Baggett was calm and collected.
“I’m not nervous at all because I’ve done this before,” Baggett said.
Most of the performers were not nervous about being on stage. Most of them had already performed at Coffee House or had experience performing in front of an audience. “I’m used to performing, so it’s not too scary,” senior and Modern Music Ensemble veteran Elianna Hills said.
There were some performers who did not have any previous experience, however, such as freshman Iris Delahoussaye.
“I’m most nervous about messing up, especially because it’s in front of all the students,” Delahoussaye said. “That’s what I’m most nervous about.”
Delahoussaye conquered her fears and put on a great show. Coffee House has proven to be a safe space for student performances since the audience is made up of students themselves.
Coffee House has become an outlet for students to showcase their skills that might be overlooked in a different environment. Students that perform are putting themselves out in the open and showing the community how much talent might be hidden under the surface. Gilmore said that Coffee House helped her discover her love of performing.
“I didn’t really expect Coffee House to be something that I would enjoy when I performed last year, since I had never done it before. But after, I realized that being on-stage was something that I really enjoy, so I’m really glad I got out of my comfort zone.”
What started out as just an idea by a club has grown into a beloved tradition at St. George’s school year.
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