Long running acoustic series remains prominent

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There is something inviting about a hot cup of joe, but what if it’s coupled with pastries and students performing live on stage?

The Program Board explores this notion by hosting the Coffee House Series, an open mic night event for SVSU students who want to perform in front of a live audience.

Host Rene Gonzalez said it’s for anyone who might be too shy or inexperienced to display their performance-based skill elsewhere.

“It’s always been a nice public forum where any student can come and express him or herself through any kind of talent they have,” he said.

“We tend to stay focused more toward music, but there hasn’t been anything to keep it that way. In the past, we’ve had some comedic acts … we’ve also had some poets come up and perform, and right before I started hosting, we had some dance performers as well.”

The Coffee House Series has been held for over five years and has spent the entire time nurturing SVSU student’s live ambitions, from gospel music to beat poetry to comedy acts to a plethora of musicians.

Gonzalez said the Coffee House Series has helped many students, including himself, who benefited from being put in the spotlight.

“It’s one of the reasons I like doing it, because I get people here who might not necessarily go out and perform at a bar,” Gonzalez said. “I wouldn’t have performed in front of people when I first started. Coming here has allowed me to have the confidence to perform live.”

Senior event planner Holly Devitt said the Coffee House Series is a distinctive event for students, regardless if they play music or perform.

“Coffee House is about creating an atmosphere for students to come and hang out or study,” she said. “All while enjoying free snacks and listening to other students perform live!”

Devitt said students do not have to sign up to perform and can just attend the event, which means there is never a shortage of entertainment.

“I think this is a great event on-campus because it gives students an opportunity to showcase their talents as well as creates a great environment for studying or relaxing,” she said.

Graduate Justin O’Kelly said he always rated the Coffee House Series highly ever since he first attended the event in 2010.

“It’s always been a place to share ideas with like-minded people through comedy, dance and music,” he said. “It gives students an opportunity to perform and connect with others in a way that they might not be able to on an everyday basis.”

O’Kelly said he met many friends and interesting people during the Coffee House Series, who all had an interest in sharing their love of music and the arts.

“Coffee House is a judgment free zone, and anybody that wants to share their art or talent but have felt hesitant in the past should really consider attending and eventually participating,” he said. “You won’t be disappointed.”

Likewise, Gonzalez said intermediate performers should perform at the Coffee House Series because the event will bolster their confidence.

“It is a place where you can come and be you at the very rawest level,” he said. “No one there is going to be booing or judging … because that kind of intimate setting allows people at every level to get up there and perform.

”The Coffee House Series appears from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays in the Thompson Student Activities Room (TSAR) on the following dates: January 25, February 8 and 22, March 14 and 8 and April 11.