New house band gears up for Coffeehouse


Credit: Benjy Renton

The Hackley House Band accompanies junior Tyler LaRoche in the 2016 Winter Coffeehouse.

By Natalie Sukhman, Staff Writer

Coffeehouse, one of Hackley’s most popular student events, features both group and individual arts performances. The evening, held three times every school year  additonally, showcases Hackley’s talented student body in singing, music, and other types of performances. In addition to showing off the talents of Hackley’s skilled performing arts students, it creates a safe space for students to express themselves and let go.

Sophomore Mikhaila Archer, currently in the Upper School’s Girls’ Chorus, has yet to perform at a Coffeehouse, but sang at last year’s Frosh Fest. This freshman-only musical event is designed to bring the freshman class together and gives students a chance to showcase their creativity in a comfortable and friendly setting. Mikhaila was inspired and encouraged to perform at this fall’s Coffeehouse by Hackley’s strong sense of community and the supportive environment she observed at past Coffeehouses. “I love Coffeehouse and am very excited to perform for the first time because it has shown me a lot of the talent that I don’t think I would’ve seen otherwise. It gives people an opportunity to see their friends perform, which I don’t think we get to do very often at school. I love the atmosphere of Coffeehouse as well, and I love that so many people come to support the performers,” said Mikhaila.

Coffeehouse is an opportunity to expose the often overlooked talents of the creative and performing arts at Hackley. She further remarked, “The arts are a huge part of my life and while it’s known that sports sometimes receive more attention, I think Coffeehouse is a huge exception. It’s so great that it has such a big turnout for all three seasons.”

The House Band is one of Coffee House’s hidden treasures. This group of talented artists are key to the success of many musical acts, accompanying such performers in the background, but not necessarily getting the recognition they deserve. This year’s House Band consists of sophomores Ben Monroe and Richie Nuzum, and seniors Aurora Straus, Connor Wilke, Jackson Corrigan, and Jamie Leonard. The band members change from year to year, but its impact on the event remains the same. The band creates a base for many singers and other performers to build upon and be supported by, while letting the performers’ individual talents shine. Senior Jackson Corrigan, who plays keyboard and piano in the House Band, loves being a part of Coffeehouse. “There is always responsibility and accountability; that’s what makes it both challenging and fun. You can sometimes rely on the band to back you up, but you always know that the band is relying on you, too. It’s like we are having a musical conversation on stage, except most of the time everyone is just talking at each other at the same time,” said Jackson. He further reflected on his favorite part of the Coffeehouse experience, “I get to perform songs from various genres; that is rarer than it seems.”

Junior Ben Moskow sang with the House Band at one of last year’s Coffeehouse performances. Being a newcomer to the group, he felt the strong bond they had developed working and playing together, as well as their ability to welcome new performers. “I think they are all really close to each other; they’ve been playing with each other for a while, so they really have a feel for each other. They are able to incorporate all types of singers very easily and there’s a strong sense of camaraderie on stage. It’s a really good place.”

This unique event embodies and reflects Hackley’s value of community. Sophomore Isla Parton, who has performed in many Coffeehouses during her high school career so far, reflects on how it has affected her as both a performer and a student: “In any of the arts at Hackley there’s a smaller community that is so supportive of your ideas no matter what you are aiming to do. Particularly at Coffeehouse, anyone is willing to help or encourage you if you are on the fence and may be nervous about performing. I think that that amount of support has shaped me as a student and as a performer to feel more confident and accepted into the Coffeehouse community as well as the high school as a whole. I think Coffeehouse is one of the most attended events at Hackley. It is so important to us [members of the Musical Arts community] and showcases our community values,” Isla said. Coffeehouse is particularly special when compared to other performing arts events at Hackley such as the band and chorus concerts, as performers do not need to be involved with any specific classes. Open to anyone who wants to perform, Coffeehouse is destined to highlight the inclusive nature of Hackley and its community.