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Students and Staff Read Poetry, Sing, and Dance at Lit Club's Annual Coffeehouse

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Raima Islam '21
12 March 2019

Nicholas Swetlitschnyj '21 enjoying the Coffeehouse Event; photo credit: Raima Islam '21 On Tuesday, February 26, the Literary Club held its annual Coffeehouse Event. The Coffeehouse Event is held to fund the Literary Club’s Annual Poetry Contest in April. Many teachers and students came together and made the night one to remember.

Ms. Megan Miele and Ms. Mary Garofalo, Literary Club Advisors, opened the night, held in the Senior Cafe, by welcoming everyone to the event. Miele then invited last year’s poetry contest winner, Michela Speller ‘19, to read her winning poem “Changing Faces.” She wrote the poem in honor of her late father.

President of the Literary Club, Maria Hofmann ‘19, then read her own poem “My Creation.” Hofmann feels the event is a perfect way for students to express themselves in response to the world around them in a safe space.  “There is so much going on in the world, and to see the happiness a Coffeehouse Event like this can bring is truly amazing,” expressed Hofmann. “Events like these help me and my fellow students to express ourselves and I couldn't be more thankful for the advisors who put together such a great event.”

The event then proceeded by having teachers read pieces of literature they chose. Mr. Timothy Donnelly The audience applauding Dr. Susan Clinton; photo credit: Raima Islam '21  began by reading Steven D. Emerson’s poem, “The Soldier.” Ms. Melanie Vasa took over by reading Eugene V. Debs’ “The Bounty of Nature”. Vasa then explained to the audience that she picked the piece because many kids do not realize the power they have to change things. She concluded her performance by reading an excerpt of “On Solitude” by Michel de Montaigne.

Miele continued the night by introducing Dr. Susanne Iobst, who read a card with “Success” by Ralph Waldo Emerson printed inside. Iobst explained the significance of the card to the audience. “I chose Emerson's poem on “Success” because I felt that was relevant to students at a time of their lives when they are contemplating their future,” Iobst explained. “I found this poem on a card that I gave to Mr. Iobst before our college graduation as he contemplated which career path he wanted to pursue. The card has stood in our home throughout our marriage.” The moment was emotional for everyone, especially because the story behind the reading of the piece was so personal to Iobst.

Michela Speller '19 dancing at the event; photo credit: Raima Islam '21  Dr. Susan Clinton has attended the Literary Club’s Coffeehouse Event for years. She made the audience
laugh after reading two poems about dogs: “Happiness” by Michael Van Walleghen and “Dharma” by Billy Collins. Her final contribution to the night was her reading of “Prayer” by Galway Kinnell.

The final teacher who performed at the event was Mr. Matt Youngberg. He sang the song “Darkest Night,” which he wrote a month ago. He told the audience that the song was inspired by his wife, which made the performance even more memorable.

Students were then given the opportunity to display their talents that night. The first students to do so were seniors Gabby Volonnino and Marc Garcia. They captivated the audience by singing “A Cautionary Tale” from the Broadway show Mean Girls.

Michela Speller ‘19 then amazed the audience by dancing to the song “Rain on Us, by Earnest Pugh in the Liturgical dance style.

Jake Son ‘19 beautifully played the guitar and sang the song “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer. The song was inspired by The Giver, a novel read in many freshman English classes.

Alexander Papasavas ‘19 and Son then proceeded to perform the song “Yesterday” by the Beatles as a duet.

Chanel Garcia ‘19 gracefully sang the iconic song “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper from the movie A Star is Born. Son accompanied her with his incredible guitar skills.

To close the night, The Boys, comprised of seniors Tommy Ehrenberg, Papasavas, Thien Dinh-Do, Son, The Boys performing at the event; photo credit: Raima Islam '21 and Michael Burgos, performed the following songs: “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, and “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.

Miele, who has been in charge of the event since she took over as advisor of the Literary Club from Dr. Clinton, loves seeing the students and staff of PV shine. “What I like best about the event is the talent that comes out to perform,” expressed Miele. “Not only do the teachers who perform choose pieces that are close to their hearts, but the students perform monologues or improv, or sing songs they either wrote themselves or covers of famous songs we all know and can sing along to.”

Those who got to see the acts really appreciated the night. “I really liked seeing all of the different acts that came out tonight,” stated Daniel Kania '21. “What I enjoyed more, though, was having all of us come together for this one event.”