Café 1853 – The Quadrilateral
by Kelly Kennedy, social media editor
Coffee House recently held its popular “Open Mic Night” at a new venue, Café 1853, on Friday April 1st. This event allows all students to come and perform, dance, sing or hang out with friends. Anyone can register to perform, or even decide on the spot to go on stage.
Coffee House is organized and run by the two co-hosts, Luis Chavez and Emily Peters. This role passed to Chavez when he was in second grade, who continued to run Coffee House due to his enjoyment of bringing people together.
Chavez is both involved with MC Players and Coffee House, so recently decided to combine these two bands. Last month, in collaboration with the MC Players, Open Mic was hosted at An Beal Bocht, a local bar.
“It was my idea to try to get the bands together and play An Beal. Coffee House is very relaxed, where you can just relax and sip and listen to soft music. An Beal was a very different experience, where in a college bar, we’re loud, have fun and play everything,” Chavez said.
After the success of the gamers event, the organizers decided to go back to their roots and hold their most recent event at Café 1853. Coffee House was previously held in a conference hall, Hayden 100.
“I actually really liked the change. I was unable to attend the open mic night held at An Beal, but the usual location at Hayden 100 looks like a conference room, so it “It’s a bit impersonal. Café 1853 felt more like a living room so it felt more personal and there was a more social aspect to it as we sat in a group rather than in a line like in a classroom,” said junior Isabel Cameron.
Coffee House’s trademark style is that it’s a place where anyone can come and anyone can perform. Students are encouraged to perform comedy numbers, read poems and play music. It’s an inclusive environment on campus that invites a crowd.
“Coffee House has this atmosphere where really anything can happen. I had people come in and dance. I hope people come and play classical piano. I thought people would even show up with a band that played styles ranging from jazz to heavy metal,” Chavez said.
Junior Zachary DiRenzo performed two songs in the latter Coffee House, Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” and Taylor Swift’s “August”. DiRenzo sang and played guitar.
“My favorite part of open mic is creating an eclectic setlist that both excites the crowd and challenges me on guitar and vocals. For example, I like to create mixes of songs that I enjoy from different eras and try to match them, like the Springsteen-Swift set I did,” DiRenzo said.
DiRenzo has performed at many cafes in the past and he can’t wait to perform at the next event.
“For the next open mic, I’m trying to match a Maggie Rogers song with a Martha Reeves & The Vandellas song, or maybe a Beatles song,” DiRenzo said. “I’m always open to requests, too! It’s also cool to see nervous artists for the first time and how the crowd supports them and gives them the confidence to perform. I was very nervous for my first open mic, and it was also my first time singing in front of an audience, but a ton of my friends came out to support me and are regular supporters, and I’m so grateful to them.
Coffee House gives students a place to express themselves and be creative, which is Chavez’s favorite part of hosting the event.
“It’s so creative and so open and so it’s a non-judgmental zone. So it’s really nice to really see people being free to really see people express themselves as much as they want,” Chavez said.
Even students who are not artists also come to the Coffee House. Cameron was on hand to support his friend, DiRenzo, and cheer him on during his performance.
“My favorite part of the open mic night was seeing my friend Zach perform,” Cameron said. “He’s a really talented guitarist and I love watching him play. The other performers were also amazing. There was a girl who sang a song from the musical Waitress that was really beautiful. One of my other friends, RJ, also played but he got up. It was really funny and it was also one of my favorite performances.
Coffee House is looking to host another event this semester, with the date yet to be decided. Those interested can check out the new @mccoffeehouse Instagram, to learn more about the events and see highlights from some of the performances.