Coffeehouse Attracts Writers and Musicians to Perform Onstage

From the Campus Lantern: March 7, 2013

On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, the Eastern Writers Guild held their second coffeehouse of the semester in the Student Center Café. Students who attended the event were encourage to perform, reading their poetry and prose, and playing some music. When not performing, they joined audience in watching the other acts play out, sometimes drinking the coffee the group provides from Cafémantic.

This coffeehouse saw a variety of writers take the stage to read poetry inspired by exploring the personal unknown and societal stereotypes, prose going back into the days of high school sometimes breaching into the early years of university. Musicians went onstage, guitars in hand, to perform acoustic numbers either written personally or a tribute to a favorite songwriter.

Out of the writers reciting poetry, Zack LaSala, a student at Eastern Connecticut State University, took the opening act of the evening with his poem, “Ashes of a Burning Man”. The poem reflects an annual festival of its namesake, the Burning Man. LaSala says that he wasn’t familiar with the festival until last year, when he was going thorough YouTube videos and found one titled, “Oh the Places You’ll Go at Burning Man”.

He was amazed by the festival, specifically those attending, saying, “All the people were so cool, different, bizarre.”

Zack LaSala says that because of how the Burning Man Festival makes itself unique, containing many things out of the ordinary such as boats on wheels, he was inspired to write his poem.

The act the directly followed his was a musical number by student Jeremey MacDonough, an acoustic thoroughfare through three songs. According to MacDonough, these numbers were a result of what he calls ‘free-play’, where he creates a song without any advance planning.

“The songs were already written. It all comes to putting them down,” Jeremey MacDonough said.

Several reading and music acts passed by afterward, from an well-executed opera number by student Ben Friedman, titled “Nesumdorma”, to a creative nonfiction piece by Angela DiLella, a humorous take on an aspect of college relationship dilemmas with a moral message embedded throughout.

The audience enjoyed the acts throughout the evening. Many found it difficult to select a particular favorite as students Ty Colige and Nick Cecere discovered. Colige, a newcomer to the coffeehouse, was especially impressed by the whole thing saying, “There are quite a few good ones.”

For students, like Adam Phelps who wants to turn his series of poems into an anthology, the encouragement from the audience is a positive influence on their career. While I asked Matt Prifty, President of the Eastern Writers Guild to comment on the success of the coffeehouse, he declined to comment.

The next coffeehouse will be on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in the Student Center Café, from 7pm to 10pm.

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