“Soul” and “Suzanne”: Students Showcase Original and Classic Tunes at Coffeehouse

As Nathan Goldthwaite ’18 pounded an improvised beat on a trash bin, Chase O’Halloran ’18 broke into a freestyle rap. In his original song, titled “Soul,” O’Halloran listed all that he admires about a particular girl. At the end of the song, he described finally meeting the girl and simply asking, “Girl, what’s your name?” O’Halloran and Goldthwaite’s rap performance was one of several musical acts at Coffeehouse last Friday night.

“I really enjoyed myself while performing, and I think that the audience reciprocated that energy. I am kind of used to [being the only rapper in a performance]. I’ve embraced having that sort of attention; it feels good to be that sort of ‘question mark’ and have the performance turn out well,” wrote O’Halloran in an email to The Phillipian.

The show opened with Thomas MacWilliams ’18 singing Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” He played the melody on an acoustic guitar, setting a relaxed tone for the night. Although he admitted feeling nervous leading up to the show, MacWilliams said he felt satisfied with his performance.

“Prior to Coffeehouse, I hadn’t sung in front of more than five people, all of whom were my closest friends, so I kind of went from 0 to 100 pretty quickly. I think that I was a little too quiet singing, but hopefully the people in the back could at least hear me. Going first was nerve racking, but I’m glad that I got it out of the way quickly so I could enjoy the rest of the show,” wrote MacWilliams in an email to The Phillipian.

Later, Blake Campbell ’18 and Alice Tang ’18 performed “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen. Campbell’s smooth voice blended with Tang’s piano accompaniment, creating a rich rendition of the classic song.

Blake Campbell ’18 said, “Once I found out Alice played piano last year, I knew I had to do a Coffeehouse with her. I like to think of us as a creative team. I also love the idea of a super chill performance space. Sometimes you need that, especially at Andover. The more relaxed the audience is, the more relaxed the performer is.”

Another pair, Kaitlin Hoang ’17 and Emma Murphy ’17, performed Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love.” Although Hoang and Murphy, first-time performers at Coffeehouse, made some mistakes, such as breaking into laughter during their performance, the supportive audience helped them finish their piece.

“[Hoang and I] initially wanted to audition on behalf of Girls Varsity Soccer jokingly, but realized that we were having fun and entered as a legitimate pair. [We] messed up several times, but I think the audience was laughing alongside us, and we had a great time performing,” said Murphy.

In one of the final collaborations of the night, Sam Hawley ’16 and Taylor Crutison ’16 performed “Burning House” by Cam. The duo had performed together previously at Coffeehouse their Junior and Lower years. Hawley strummed an acoustic guitar while the pair alternated singing verses until they joined together harmoniously for the chorus.

“We thought it would be great to come back together and do one last Coffeehouse together for our Senior year. We’ve gotten pretty good at knowing each other as singing partners and blending our voices together so, all in all, I think our performance went well…. As this Coffeehouse was most likely the last time that [Hawley] and I will perform together, it was really bittersweet. I love singing with her, and it’s sad to think that’s the last time,” wrote Crutison in an email to The Phillipian.

Lauren Luo ’16, Joel Peña ’16 and Terrence Xiao ’16 finished with a mashup of “What Do You Mean” by Justin Bieber and “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. Luo and Peña sang alternating lines of the song, while Xiao beat a steady rhythm on a cajón drum.

“To be honest, it was all pretty last minute. We didn’t even finish the form of the song until the day of,” wrote Xiao in an email to The Phillipian. “[But] working with each other was a ton of fun! Joel and Lauren are both enormously talented individuals whom I know quite well [so] collaborating was pretty easy.”