Coffeehouse makes a comeback

In its first return to the library since the pandemic started, Excalibur fundraiser offered wider range of performances


Alysa Spiro

Junior Charlotte Blackmon performs a song she wrote for Coffeehouse. “I hadn’t played it for anyone yet, but I felt that it was ready to perform,” Blackmon said. “Luckily, it was well-received.” Her favorite part of the event was sitting with the other performers. “Everyone was super positive and hyper each other up, the energy of it felt really great.” Caption by Evie Barnard.

Samantha Powers, Alice Scott, Caroline Owen

Samantha Powers and Alice Scott

Students gathered in the library on Nov. 5 for Excalibur’s Coffeehouse, a tradition where students perform original songs, poems and other creative work. The event was sold out.

We have rhythmic poetry this year, we have an improv pianist. We kind of opened it up to more [and made the event] a little bit different.

— Keely McNab, Excalibur co-special events coordinator

Coffeehouse didn’t happen last year during the pandemic, so the organizers started this year with no prior experience on the events team.

According to co-special events coordinator Keely McNab, the lack of experience may have been a good thing.

“I think we’ve been a lot more open with auditions and everything, because in the past it’s usually just been poetry or, like, singing a song,” McNab said, “We kind of opened it up to more [and made the event] a little bit different. We have rhythmic poetry this year, we have an improv pianist. So that’s been a little new.”

In her first public performance of her writing, senior Sydney Lowe recited an original poem.

“It’s about a healing process that I went through in my life,” Lowe said. “It just means a lot for me to get out my feelings through writing, and I like sharing it with people. A lot of the time, I have a metaphor in my head, and then I work my whole poem around that metaphor. For this one, the metaphor was clay and sunsets.”

Senior Brealen Miller performs his spoken-word poem, “Holy Deception.” The title is a reference to the question of religion Miller addresses throughout his poem. “In my darkest moments, rather than comforting me or providing me peace of mind, my own religion made me feel guilty for feeling the emotions I felt, leading me to my title,” Miller said. Miller’s poem also relies heavily on rhythmic flow. Though this distinct flow was originally only there to help with memorization, Miller later realized this rhythm added to his performance. “I just felt like using rhythm would make memorizing the poem much easier, which it did,” Miller said, “and I really liked how it sounded.” Despite Friday marking his first Coffeehouse, Miller explains that everyone around him made him feel at ease. “The environment created by the audience as well as the Excalibur members was very vibrant and uplifting.” Reporting by Alysa Spiro. (Alysa Spiro)

Senior Eden Goodman also performed a poem, entitled ‘Raggedy Ann.’

“I think the biggest thing about poetry is telling a story,” Goodman said. “Writing connects people together, so I think that that’s the purpose of it. One time I performed at an open mic and some 30-year-old woman came up to me, she was crying, and she was like, ‘Oh, that was so beautiful.’ And that was like, ‘Oh, wow.’ Like, that’s a goal I have, is for people to feel something from what I write. And that kind of showed me that I could make people feel something.”

McCallum’s a perfect place to perform [Coffeehouse] because we’re such a cool eclectic community of people.

— senior Jessie Lucas

Although performing can be a vulnerable thing, freshman Robin Kulhanek feels at home on the stage. A guitarist and a singer, he performed an original song entitled “Siren.”

Despite being on stage by himself in front of a sold-out crowd of 70-plus students, Kulhanek said he wasn’t nervous.

“I’ve done performances my whole life,” he said. “I guess they’re here to see a good show, so I just internalize that.”

Senior Jessie Lucas performed an original pride song called ‘Stunning Honey.’

“I kind of thought of it as not only a letter to myself, but a letter to everybody else that is figuring themselves out, or needs a confidence boost or something,” Lucas said. “I think McCallum’s a perfect place to perform this, personally, because we’re such a cool eclectic community of people.”