The Coffee House Brews Up Excitement


On April 6, 2018, the Literary Arts Club at Southern Lehigh High School hosted their second annual coffee house event in the high school cafeteria. The night boasted a variety of performers, including musicians, poets, a magician, and two bands, as well as a bake sale and a visual art section. Co-presidents junior Sarah Jacobson and Gianna Griffith helped organize the majority of the event, alongside club advisor and English teacher Mrs. Sheryl Ciotti.

“The level of talent among our student body is exceptional. I envied their fearlessness, confidence, and ability to perform,” Mrs. Ciotti said. “I was in awe at the number of performers in attendance. Students from all grade levels participated, and the crowd in the cafeteria was packed and enthusiastic for all performances.”

The food sold was homemade by members of the club. All funds from the bake sale went towards funding the yearly literary magazine, which showcases student artwork and writing.

“Sarah, Mrs. Ciotti, and I had a lot of help from very willing volunteers who brought food, drinks, and utensils,” Griffith said. “The turnout this year was fabulous and we are so happy that so many people care enough about the arts to come out and support both the students and the club.”

Some students performed original pieces of work, while others played popular songs that everyone could sing along to. A broad range of genres was performed, including classical, pop, and indie.

“We [my duo partner Sarah Lindley and I] [chose to perform] ‘Someone in the Crowd’ from ‘La La Land’ because we saw it together for the first time,” freshman Michelle Li said. “It was a pretty jazzy song, but our experience was nerve wracking because we only started practicing the week before.”

For many participants, the experience of performing on stage was nerve wracking. Some students had two or three pieces that they performed, which required more memorization and practice. Even physics teacher Mr. Dougherty felt a little nervous to get up in front of everyone.

“I was terrified; I think I felt so socially awkward,” Mr. David Dougherty said. “Right after we were done playing, I had never played with any other living human beings in front of an audience before. I just looked over at Nate and shook his hand. I was so awkward.”

There was also a visual art section contributed to by high school students running along one wall that attendees could view. The exhibit highlighted a variety of artistic mediums including photography and pencil sketches.

In the weeks leading up to the coffee house, the club made flyers to hang around the school and ads to run on the student news channel WSOL. The planning process was lengthy, but ultimately, the club ended up raising over 400 dollars.

“We started planning pretty much as soon as the school year started,” said Jacobson, “All of the volunteers worked so hard to make sure the coffee house was as enjoyable as possible.”

Both co-presidents said they will be returning to their duties next year, and they plan on hosting a third coffee house sometime next spring. For now, they are focusing on their duties as editors-in-chief of the literary magazine.

The literary arts magazine will feature some of the poems and art seen at the coffee house. The club’s publication will be released the week of May 7, and is free to all students. It will be available in Mrs. Ciotti’s room, the library, and the front office.