Bigger and Better: Coffeehouse Attracts Larger Talent Pool

A dense crowd of students piled into Lower Right of Paresky Commons on Friday to watch the first Coffeehouse performance of the year. Munching on cider donuts and fresh apples, the audience settled down into the Coffeehouse’s informal and comfy setting.

In addition to hosting a selection of vocal-centric performances, this term’s Coffeehouse also featured an eclectic mix of less commonly-played instruments such as the xylophone, the ukulele and the mandolin.

The show started off with Lane Unsworth ’15 singing “A Classical Medley” and accompanying herself on the piano. The piano part was relatively simple, but Unsworths’ lyrics had the audience in stitches. A mash-up of Lil’ Jon’s “Get Low” and Fergie’s “My Humps,” “A Classical Medley” had an ironic and ridiculous twist as Unsworth dramatically slowed down the hip-hop songs while censoring parts of the lyrics.

Next, Miguel Wise ’14, Amy Morin ’14, Jessica Gammon ’14 and Janani Hariharan ’14 performed “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson. The more folksy performance sharply contrasted Unsworth’s piece, hinting at the diversity of performances to come. The song’s cute lyrics and simple melody inspired the audience to participate by clapping along.

Giving the audience a little more instrumental variety, Tiffany Tien ’16 astonished the audience with a unique performance of “Xylophonia” by Joe Green on the xylophone. Jaws dropped and students cheered as Tien dexterously played countless rapid notes. Tien was calm and composed during the song, making her performance look effortless.

“I wanted to play something fun for the first time I stood in front of so many classmates. I’m happy that they liked my performance!” said Tien.

Seho Young ’15 and Wei Han Lim ’15 brought a classic piano and voice duet to the night with their exuberant performance of “Carry On” by Fun, which had the audience cheering and clapping along during the performance.

“It was a really fun experience for me. Wei Han’s a really good singer so it felt great to accompany him. First, we had thought of performing the song with a full band, but in the end we decided that piano and vocals would work best with the song,” said Young.

Another of the many highlights of the evening, Jumaane Ford ’16, Lara Danovitch ’16 and Robert Delaus ’16 performed the song “Come as You Are” by Nirvana. Their lively performance prompted plenty of cheers from the audience.

“Jumaane and I had done things together before, and we liked to go jam with each other whenever we had time… [We] chose to do ‘Come As You Are’ because he was already familiar with the piece. We had trouble finding a singer, [but] Lara said she could do it and she sounded great,” said Delaus.

Joining the line of unique instrumentalists, Jack Twomey ’17 played the ukulele as he sang the hit Beatles song, “Something.” The heartfelt lyrics and peaceful melodies added a pensive and sincere tone to the night.

John Little ’15 also performed solo with his rendition of “Dance Tonight” by Paul McCartney. Accompanying himself on the mandolin, Little brought energy to the Coffeehouse with his short, upbeat piece.

“I went in having no experience with the mandolin and played the easiest song there is, [but] I don’t try to make it seem easy. It was the most stressful piece I’ve ever played,” said Little.

Victoria Bian ’15 performed “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato. Bian’s soft but powerful voice and simple piano accompaniment accentuated the song’s melancholy tone.

“I had a few [songs] in mind and [chose] what my friends wanted to hear [and was] something I could sing well. The last time I did Coffeehouse, I was a lot more nervous on stage and the song was a lot more breathy. I like this one better just because I could put more personality and energy into it,” said Bian.

Concluding the night in a lighthearted manner, Alex Rubin ’14 and Harvey Wu ’14 performed a vocals and piano rendition of “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel. Holding his cup of hot cider at the microphone, Rubin joked with Wu on stage, keeping the audience laughing with the clear chemistry between the two of them.

“The finale was really great. I really felt like [Rubin and Wu’s] music filled the room,” said Lauren Conte ’14.

This term’s Coffeehouse featured a larger pool of performers compared to previous years. The program lasted nearly two and a half hours, opposed to shorter events in the past. The length made the Coffeehouse seem like much more of a drop-in, drop-out place to get together with friends, rather than a formal performance.

“I enjoyed how [Coffeehouse] is very chill and people don’t take it super seriously. It made it more of a fun environment,” said Katherine Sweetser ’17.