What’s Brewing for Coffeehouse?

Graphic by Amelia Coleman

Graphic by Amelia Coleman

Beatriz Marteleto-Lara, Staffer

Coffeehouse, the annual entertainment festival planned and performed by LASA students, has been a long-standing tradition at the school since its Liberal Arts Academy (LAA) days. While the musical performances span four hours, planning the event takes a semester of work from LASA’s songwriting class.

The semester-long class focuses not only on developing and furthering students’ songwriting skills, but also organizing, publicizing, and running Coffeehouse. Corey Snyder, the Coffeehouse director and songwriting teacher, says the festival is almost entirely planned by the students.

“It’s only twelve kids in the songwriting class, twelve people that put together this big festival,” Snyder said. “They put a lot of work into it and this show is as good as they make it.”

Catherine Verdict is a junior in the songwriting class and the head of the Coffeehouse Arts Committee. Verdict said Coffeehouse is a great opportunity to highlight students’ unique abilities, and after the success of last year’s show, the songwriting team is trying to keep this year’s show similar.`

“We’re trying to keep some of a similar feel to what we had last year because if it was not broken, don’t fix it,” Verdict said. “We love having this very open music festival feel, so what we’re mainly changing is our advertising and posters.”

The nature of Coffeehouse is different every year, as the performers and audience change. Seeing all these different audience members and performers, enjoying the performance, is a highlight for Snyder. 

 “All of these students that I know from the hall or from classes or from just being around, I get to see them do their art and I get to see the audience,” Snyder said, “… I can see a thousand people laugh. I can see a band really start to rock and I can see the audience dance and move.”

Coffeehouse is scheduled to take place in between AP tests and finals. This way, the music festival offers a chance to spend with friends without the pressures of academics in the forefront, according to Verdict. 

 “My favorite part is seeing everyone coming off APs and just before finals, and everyone is just relaxing,” Verdict said. “LASA’s a very high strung community. We’re all very overwhelmed all the time, so seeing people come together and share music and talent is really nice.”

Kristy Neff, the parent volunteer coordinator for Coffeehouse and a member of Parents and Friends of LASA (PFLASA), also appreciates that Coffeehouse is after AP tests. Neff said Coffeehouse is meant to strengthen the community.

“This event occurs on the last day of AP testing and is intended to be a community building event as well as a way for the students to celebrate the completion of AP testing,” Neff said.

Verdict believes that one of the reasons Coffeehouse is so successful at LASA is its timing being after AP tests. According to Verdict, her favorite part of Coffeehouse is seeing the high-strung community of LASA students relax after testing.  

“[It’s rewarding] to see all of the work that we’ve put in this semester all come together,” Verdict said. “It’s all from the talent and an amazing work ethic of the team.”

Snyder attributes the festival’s annual success to the students in his songwriting class. He said it’s their work ethic that leads to crowds of over 1,000 people each year. 

“Every year it is successful, and I’m very proud to say that every year it’s not because of what I did,” Snyder said. “It’s because of those kids and what they did, and every single year they show up, and they do a great job.”

According to Neff, Coffeehouse is also a vital part of LASA’s community, as it unites all students and helps the student population through a stressful time of the year. Neff said the event promotes interscholastic unity which is a priority for PFLASA.

“To me, it seems like Coffeehouse is a great opportunity for the students to simply have fun and relax with each other,” Neff said. “It is so close to the end of the year, and there seem to be a lot of bittersweet emotions that naturally come along with that, especially for the seniors. I think it helps to promote a sense of community because the audience is so supportive of all of the performers.”

According to Snyder, Coffeehouse attracts over 1,000 students every year. Snyder said its popularity is due to how long Coffeehouse has been around.  

“It’s been going on for such a long time and everybody who was there last year knows what happens,” Snyder said.  

Coffeehouse returned this year on Friday, May 12 continuing the long running tradition. Snyder said it provides an escape for students in the audience and performers to give each other a chance.

“Every year we try to make [Coffeehouse] very audience focused,” Snyder said.  “… Sometimes they need healing. Sometimes they need hope. Sometimes they need a party. And so what the songwriting class tries to do is figure out what LASA needs and then put together the show that gives them [that].”