Seniors take final bows at spring Coffeehouse

Long-time Coffeehouse performers say goodbye to the PAC stage with collaborative performances and heartfelt songs, as their high school careers come to an end.

By Lei Anne Rabeje, Politics Editor

Photo credit: Benjy Renton

The Upper School bade farewell to Senior performers during the spring Coffeehouse, whose artistry and talents have graced the stage for the past four years. From senior Sarah Lucente’s deep, baritone voice to Jackson Corrigan’s technique on the piano and knowledge of music theory, the senior performers leave their mark as a group of talented, dedicated musicians who will surely be missed.

Though he is now known as one of the House Band’s guitarists and for accompanying his peers during solos, senior Jamie Leonard at first remained hesitant to play at Coffeehouse.

“I always thought it would be cool to perform in front of all my friends, but I didn’t think I was talented enough,” said Jamie. “Freshman year, I was in the same math class as Josh Greenzeig and we became friends and started playing music together, and during the second coffeehouse that year, Gabe Pinkus asked me to play with him, Josh, and Mackenzie Price. I only played rhythm guitar and took a solo with my guitar too quiet for anybody to hear, but after that, I had enough confidence to start performing every time.” Since then, Jamie has performed at many Coffeehouses with confidence, earning cheers and applause from many of his peers.

Performing has been great. I have formed amazing relationships with the other performers, and always enjoyed it, even when it’s a bit nerve-wracking. My favorite experience might have to be the final act of this last coffeehouse- it was great to have so many seniors up there.”

— Connor Wilke

Seniors Carolyn Miller and Aurora Straus have been excited about performing in Coffeehouse since middle school. Aurora attended Coffeehouse as an 8th grader with a friend, and was amazed by its supportive and care-free environment.

“The music was amazing, and the kids all seemed very excited to be up there,” recalled Aurora. “It’s also by far the highest-attended musical event at Hackley, and performing in front of your peers in a lower-pressure environment is awesome!”

Carolyn agrees. Since attending Coffeehouse during Middle School, Carolyn had aspired to bring her talents to the stage and perform alongside her friends and, at times, teachers.

“I had been to a couple of Coffeehouses while I was in middle school since my sister was in high school and was a regular performer,” described Carolyn. “When I finally entered 9th grade, I had already been thinking about what I was going to sing for my first Coffeehouse performance. Music and singing had been a huge part of my life for as long as I could remember, so I was really excited to share that side of me with my friends and teachers.”

The sense of community and encouragement is a shared experience for many of the performers. Having played alongside one another for years, the seniors have grown accustomed to one another as an artist and a performer, allowing them to form bonds off and on-stage.

“Performing has been great. I have formed amazing relationships with the other performers, and always enjoyed it, even when it’s a bit nerve-wracking,” described Connor Wilke. “My favorite experience might have to be the final act of this last coffeehouse- it was great to have so many seniors up there.”

The care-free, low-pressure environment that Coffeehouse provides allow the performers to grow as artists. With hours of vocal practice, house band routines, and endless hours practicing their instruments, each performer demonstrates their dedication and patience. Each time improving their tone and voice. Senior Sarah Lucente recounts her growth as a singer through Coffeehouse performances.

“My confidence, both on stage and off, has improved so much thanks to coffeehouse: as a performer, as a singer, and as a person. Last Coffeehouse, I did a song with a lot of head voice, whereas in middle school and most of my coffeehouse career my head voice was weak and I only really belted,” said Sarah. “I also said something before my song for the first time ever, which was strangely nerve-wracking.”

Though nerve-wracking and time-consuming, Coffeehouse has allowed many seniors to grow and flourish. The hours of hard-work and practice culminated in one final night filled with applause, encouragement, and support. The dedication of members of the Class of 2017 to Coffeehouse will surely be remembered.