Senior Resident Adviser Chris Thomas believes that while it can be frightening to perform in front of others, Emerson Coffee House provides a great platform for students to display their talents in a comfortable and inviting environment.
“What I love is that the audience is always super receptive,” Thomas said.
The space provides a unique opportunity for students to share their talents with others and further the SPU community.
“[Coffee House] is more of a hangout time, where people can just come together and enjoy each other’s music and, for me, just be able to share something that I am passionate about with other people,” Thomas said.
Thomas, along with a handful of other performers displayed his talents at Emerson Hall’s third Coffee House of the year on Friday, May 19.
Emerson Coffee House is an event put on each quarter by the Hall Council, which encourages all SPU students to take part as either a performer or spectator.
In preparation for the event, both current and upcoming members of Emerson Hall Council met to set up and decorate the lobby.
The lobby was dimly lit, and the stage was covered in twinkling lights to set the focus on each performer. Lounge chairs were arranged like theater seats, and the backdrop of the stage was covered in newspaper.
To kick off the night, first-year Joseph Mahler played his original song “Call My Name.” As Mahler has gotten older, he’s realized that he has a passion for songwriting as well as performing.
Although he loves the excitement of sharing his music with others, Mahler also knows it can be difficult to be on stage.
“Going up there and seeing all the people, seeing all these eyes looking at you, you never get used to it,” he said.
Following Mahler, Emerson Resident Adviser senior Bailey Johnston shared
that it had taken her four years to make the decision to perform at Coffee House.
Johnston sang “City of Stars” and “Little Talks” with the ukulele.
Breaking from the pattern of vocal performances, both first-year Cross Crabbe and junior Kawehi Dodge, Emerson residents, danced to traditional Hawaiian songs.
Junior Ashley So believes that Coffee House brought her one step closer to her dream of performing. So struggles with stage fright, and she experienced nervousness prior to her performance, but knows that it was worth it.
“I’m really glad that I did it,” So said. “It felt like I was able to do something that I love doing, and I was able to accomplish that, and it felt really good.”
“The moments that we’re the most uncomfortable are the moments that we grow the most,” said sophomore Derek Riegel after playing the guitar.
“It takes a lot of faith and definitely courage to step out of your comfort zone. If we don’t, how are we ever going to know who we are deep down?” he asked.
Mahler said that positive reactions from the audience are reassuring to him and give him motivation in performing.
Thomas recognizes that he is not a professional, so he shouldn’t take himself too seriously. For him, this takes the pressure off so he can focus on doing what he loves.
“I just wanted to do it,” Riegel said. “So I got up there before my mind could tell me no.”