The Magic of Spring Coffeehouse Lingers on the Hilltop

On April 19th, Managing Assistant for Performing Arts and Director of Music Institute, Dylan Chalfy, opened the 2024 Spring Coffeehouse in Zetkov Athletic Center. Mr. Chalfy thanked everyone who helped make coffeehouse possible before a night full of talent began.
On April 19th, Managing Assistant for Performing Arts and Director of Music Institute, Dylan Chalfy, opened the 2024 Spring Coffeehouse in Zetkov Athletic Center. Mr. Chalfy thanked everyone who helped make coffeehouse possible before a night full of talent began.
Credit: Alessia Sorvilloo

Amidst the clapping hands, cheers, colorful stage lights, and laughs, some of Hackley’s most talented performers sang their hearts out as students, faculty, and families joined together in the Zetkov Athletic Center on Friday, April 19th to enjoy an unforgettable Spring 2024 Coffeehouse. 

Coffeehouse, often praised for being one of Hackley’s most iconic and exciting events because of its ability to unite the Hackley community and display a multitude of talent, takes place three times a year in the fall, winter, and spring, but this year’s Spring Coffeehouse was special. As students left Zetkov Athletic Center, they were left a little more touched and extra reminded of just how talented their peers are. Many attended Coffeehouse expecting it to be as great as the previous ones, but left acknowledging it was better due to the festive costumes and impressive performances.   

When Monday came around, it was evident the effect Coffeehouse had on the audience, as one could still hear many conversations about the event circulating through the hallways. 

Freshman Sosie Lundeen said, “I thought everyone was really awesome!”

Coffeehouse is a time to watch the talents of our peers outside of the classroom. Sophomore Annika Duggan said that she loves Coffeehouse because, “It’s cool to see other students and their talents when we don’t get to see them like that on a daily basis and what they enjoy outside of school. Sometimes I don’t know people can sing until I see them at Coffeehouse.”

Sosie agrees that she loves Coffeehouse because it is a, “good opportunity to see the talents of our peers.” 

The night began at 8:00 p.m. when the lights in the Zetkov Center darkened and students’ anticipation heightened. Managing Assistant for Performing Arts and Director of Music Institute, Dylan Chalfy, entered and expressed his gratitude for everyone who helped make Coffeehouse possible, including the audience. He also gave a special thank you to Hackley’s Technical Director, Bill McNaughton, who will be retiring after spending 33 years on the Hilltop, who plays a vital role in all of Hackley’s performing arts events including Coffeehouse. 

Credit: Alessia Sorvillo
While hosting Spring Coffeehouse, seniors Cole Silpe and David Linnett hosted a English-related trivia contest between volunteers from the audience and Head of School Charles Franklin and English teacher James Flanigan. Some of the questions were simple grammar related questions, while others were much more challenging, forcing Mr. Flanigan to recall certain words from texts by Shakespeare.

Next, seniors David Linett and Cole Silpe entered the stage, and performed a funny and witty skit as they made their grand entrance as the hosts of the Spring 2024 Coffeehouse. 

“I said dress for the speech, not the beach,” said David as he wore a suit and stared at Cole who was wearing swim shorts and a beach hat. This quickly got the crowd laughing and engaged for a night full of funny skits, games, and exceptional talent. 


Throughout the night, Cole and David performed a variety of skits and engaged the audience in activities. The first activity was trivia between students and English teachers. Volunteers were randomly selected from the crowd to participate in English-related trivia questions against Head of School Charles Franklin and English teacher James Flanigan. In this head-to-head competition, the students beat the teachers (although one could argue the students were given the easier questions). 

Another skit occurred halfway through the performances when they arranged a karaoke competition with volunteers from the audience who sang “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. The winner was decided based on cheers and noise level from the audience.

Credit: Alessia Sorvillo
After former “Coffeehouse Godess” Hannah Gorevic graduated last year, sophomore Cara Minello took over the throne as the new “Coffeehouse Goddess.” Cara’s opening performance of “Just a Girl” by No Doubt, was a clear indication of why she has this title, and she did an outstanding job starting the night off strong and bringing energy to the stage.

The first performer of the night was “Coffeehouse Goddess” sophomore Cara Minello singing “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. This was

a great way to kick off the performances with the upbeat tone of the song and with Cara’s talented vocal ability.

One of the most impressive performances of the night was the duet from freshmen Mai Malkiel and Finn Fisher who sang “Tek It” by Cafuné. Their ability to harmonize and hit impressively high notes left many in the audience shocked by their talent. 

During Finn Fisher’s performance of “Lovesick” by Laufey, the audience raised their phone flashlights to sway them to the beat of the song to display how impressed they were with Finn’s talent. 

The last freshman performance was by Ace Perrez who sang “Yer So Bad” by Tom Petty,  accompanying himself on the guitar. Ace’s voice was one of the most unique and gritty voices of the night, impressing the audience with his ability to embody Tom Petty and perform like a true country artist. 

Sophomores Sydney Morris, Riya Monday, and NT Trusa highlighted the outstanding vocal abilities of the sophomore class. 

Junior Arri Bentsi-Addison Posey performed “Jolene” by Dolly Parton and Beyoncé. Arri brought a strong energy and presence to the stage and engaged the audience by clapping to the rhythm of the song. Arri wore a country outfit to fit the theme of the song and danced across the stage, showing her strong skills in performing and commanding an audience. 

Arri loves performing at every Coffeehouse, and said, “it bears a certain joy that nothing else does.” 

The last junior performance of the night featured Asher Navas performing “Fix You” by Coldplay. Asher’s gentle and heartfelt tone was able to cut through to the hearts of many in the audience and left many touched by the message of the song. 

Senior Asher Beck sang “That’s My Kind Of Night” By Luke Bryan while also playing the drums, showing off his talents not only as a skilled drummer but also as a talented singer. While performing, Asher rocked a pink cowboy hat. 

Audience members said they loved how many performers incorporated elements of costume in their performance. Senior Remi Myers commented, “I definitely would say that this one was one of the most spirited Coffeehouses, I loved the costumes that people brought out.” 

Senior Mac Broddus performed “Have You Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and senior Harry Rosenthal sang “Heartache On The Dancefloor” by Jon Pardi. Both were heartening experiences for the audience as it was Mac and Harry’s last Coffeehouse of the many they participated in. 

Senior Jack Yalmokas and Connor Ranawat sang “Going Going Gone” by Luke Combs. Both had never sung at a Coffeehouse before but saw this as their last opportunity to perform in front of their friends, teachers, and parents before they graduate. 

Noticing a pattern at every Spring Coffeehouse, Hailey Won said, “Because it was the last coffeehouse for a lot of  kids, they take this opportunity to do one last show and it definitely pays off because the audience was so here for it.” 

Each year, a number of AP Biology students sing “Hello (I’m An Enzyme)” by Phil Thompson/Arievia Davis to receive extra credit in the class. This year, 11 members of the AP Biology class participated in this iconic performance.

The AP Biology class sang “Hello (I’m An Enzyme)” by Phil Thompson/Arievia Davis. This is a version of “Hello” by Adele, but instead of the regular lyrics, the lyrics are about biology terminology related to enzymes. The AP Biology class does this each year to receive extra credit points in the class. Remi Meyers, one of the AP Biology students, said, “It was so much fun and we definitely killed it!”

Senior NJ Roc-Sennett sang “Everlong” by Foo Fighters and “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits. NJ also played the bass guitar in many of the performances throughout the night. She has been a staple in many Coffeehouse performances throughout her time at Hackley between her singing and bass guitar skills. Acknowledging it was her last Coffeehouse after four years of performing, NJ stated, “This was my last coffeehouse, so it was bittersweet.”

While talking about why she performs at Coffeehouse every year, NJ said,“I really like the environment and I love to play music. I think it is cool that students can watch, listen, and play with other students.” 

Senior Cassandra Stand sang “Cabaret” by Kander and Ebb. Cassandra rocked a sparkly dress and a feather boa, and her performance displayed that she truly shines on the stage. Cassandra’s strong vocal abilities, mixed with her ability to captivate the audience, was a recipe for success, making her performance one of the strongest of the night. Remi Myers exclaimed, “Cassandra killed that!”

The night ended with the seniors all singing “Good Riddance” by Green Day together. This is a rite of passage that occurs every year for the seniors to honor their last Coffeehouse whether they are performers or audience members. 

The unwavering support from the students, faculty, and families throughout the Spring 2024 Coffeehouse highlighted the true uplifting nature and spirit of the Hackley community. As the stage lights turned off and the night ended, it was evident that the performing arts community at Hackley had more than succeeded in putting together an amazing coffeehouse. Whether being a new performer, or a veteran, all performers presented the amazing talents on the Hilltop. The Hackley community will be counting down the days until Fall Coffeehouse, where we can experience another night of magic. 

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