The Pony Express

Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

Senior+Ben+Valerius+rehearses+in+preparation+for+his+Coffeehouse+audition.+He+plans+on+auditioning+with+%22The+Girl+from+Ipanema%22+by+Joao+Gilberto+and+Stan+Getz.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

Senior Ben Valerius rehearses in preparation for his Coffeehouse audition. He plans on auditioning with

Senior Ben Valerius rehearses in preparation for his Coffeehouse audition. He plans on auditioning with "The Girl from Ipanema" by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz.

Photo by Elsa Persson

Senior Ben Valerius rehearses in preparation for his Coffeehouse audition. He plans on auditioning with "The Girl from Ipanema" by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz.

Photo by Elsa Persson

Photo by Elsa Persson

Senior Ben Valerius rehearses in preparation for his Coffeehouse audition. He plans on auditioning with "The Girl from Ipanema" by Joao Gilberto and Stan Getz.

Elsa Persson, Online Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






A classic tradition returns to the stage this year with the annual National Honor Society (NHS) Coffeehouse concert. Student musicians look forward to this opportunity to showcase their talent, while anticipating audience members await the laid-back environment of this popular event.

A favorite among the student body, Coffeehouse is an acoustic charity concert that takes place in the winter and the spring, which features students of all grades performing solo songs, duets, dances and even original pieces. The winter show, which is generally the more popular one, often features a few holiday-themed numbers.

Coffeehouse is entirely acoustic. Performers often play guitars, ukuleles, pianos, string instruments and more, commonly alongside vocals. It is known to be a more down-to-earth, personal show, as compared to other extracurricular concerts like Battle of the Bands and Pops.

I think it’s important because anybody can do it. You don’t have to be in a music [class] to do it. You don’t necessarily have to be one of the top music students at this school… anyone, if they put their mind to it, can pick up a ukulele, or learn a couple chords on the piano, and perform any song they like. I think that’s what makes coffeehouse unique, because it’s not confined to just the music students. In my opinion, everybody is a music student. I think anyone can perform, everybody has potential to be a good musician.”

— Mya Lysne

“Coffeehouse seems a lot more about the excellent musicianship involved, as compared to Battle of the Bands, where it’s also about the flashy nature of rock and roll,” sophomore Isaac Reiner said.

Coffeehouse has grown immensely since its beginning. When NHS advisors first established the concert, it was just a fundraising event in a small space with high-top tables. It has been a biannual tradition since. Though it has expanded, it has preserved the same chill nature throughout.

The Coffeehouse concert started as “just a small French coffeehouse, like a cafe,” NHS advisor Becky Mazzara said.

Music performed at Coffeehouse usually falls into its own category. The pieces selected are generally more relaxed. Indie songs, easygoing pop songs, and ballads have been popular choices in past years.

“I wouldn’t necessarily go in with a rock kind of piece. You kind of just look for songs that are more laid back and instrumental,” sophomore Hannah Doyle said.

A key element of Coffeehouse is the fundraising aspect. Proceeds from Coffeehouse go to charities and organizations. They can be either local or global. In previous years, the concert raised money for BIZAA, Valley Outreach, and much more.

“Each year, the members of NHS work together to select a charity to donate the Coffeehouse proceeds to,” Mazzara said.

Student musicians are drawn to the performance opportunity the Coffeehouse brings. Though many students learn and prepare a song to bring to the stage, some go the extra mile and perform songs of their own. Senior Mya Lysne is a student songwriter and debuted one of her original pieces at the 2018 Spring Coffeehouse.

Photo by Emma Urban
Lysne rehearses on her guitar for the Coffeehouse concert. So far, she has performed in every winter and spring concert she could audition for in her high school career.

When performing an original piece instead of a cover, “It does have an extra layer of personal feeling to it,” Lysne said.

Performers are selected by audition. Auditions are open to any and all students, and even teachers. A team of NHS members run auditions and choose performers from a variety of different factors, including type of song, talent, and commitment.

Though intimidating at first, the audition becomes more comfortable as it goes on, Doyle said.

A unique feature of Coffeehouse is emceeing. A couple students use jokes and short skits to introduce each song. Usually, they play off the title of the song in the introductions.

“It’s pretty corny, but it’s funny, and it’s fun. They get the audience involved,” senior Ben Brynestad said.

Coffeehouse is a perfect performance opportunity because it’s available to anyone. Auditions are open to students of all grades, even teachers, with no requirements regarding experience or curricular music course placement.

“I think it’s important because anybody can do it. You don’t have to be in a music [class] to do it. You don’t necessarily have to be one of the top music students at this school… anyone, if they put their mind to it, can pick up a ukulele, or learn a couple chords on the piano, and perform any song they like. I think that’s what makes coffeehouse unique, because it’s not confined to just the music students. In my opinion, everybody is a music student. I think anyone can perform, everybody has potential to be a good musician,” Lysne said.

Student musicians and patrons of the arts alike look forward to the Coffeehouse concert. It is the perfect gig for performers, an exciting show for supporters, and a special way to raise money to causes that matter. “However you’re in that room on that evening, it will be a fun time,” Lysne said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Elsa Persson, Online Editor

Hi! My name is Elsa Persson. I am a junior and an Online Editor for the Pony Express. I am involved with theatre, orchestra, and choir. I love performing...

11 Comments

11 Responses to “Winter Coffeehouse returns in December”

  1. Emma Polucha on December 21st, 2018 8:30 am

    This is such a great story! The entire article is well written and the supporting quotes really add to the feeling of the story. The stance taken on the article really shows off how much music means to Mya and Ben and how much it affects them but at the same time shows that Coffeehouse is for anyone who is passionate about music. If this article doesn’t make the reader want to go see Coffeehouse, then I don’t know what will!

  2. Emma Boehle on December 21st, 2018 9:18 am

    The coffeehouse is such an amazing idea to allow students to show who they are through music. People that are so passionate about music have a place to perform and share there talents with an audience.. It’s also for a great cause because all of the proceeds go to charity which makes me happy to pay for a ticket.

  3. Elli Swanson on December 21st, 2018 6:12 pm

    The writer did a good job of making this article appealing from the start. A wonderful job on showing all sides of this event that occurs at SAHS. Lots of details were provided and compelling quotes were used to grab all types of readers.

  4. Grace Wirkkala on January 2nd, 2019 9:37 am

    The angle of this story is precise and interesting! The quotes do a great job of helping tell the story and prioritizing the people of the event. The last quote is especially effective in ending the story on a good note.

  5. Marlee Mcguire on January 2nd, 2019 10:50 am

    I love how the quotes add to the whole theme of the story. Details are great and makes me want to go.

  6. Ella Stratmann on January 2nd, 2019 10:59 pm

    This story is very good. It is full of information and great details. I was very interested while reading. Quotes are very strong and helpful. They were very supportive and there must have been some great questions asked. This article also makes people interested in going to coffee house, and maybe even signing up for it (winter or spring).

  7. Sierra Hippel on January 3rd, 2019 8:56 am

    This story very well describes the joy in the event, and the details of what’s involved and why people should go. It uses great facts, for example letting the reader know what the money is being used for. The quotes are also very impactful on making the reader want to go to the event based on the amazing experiences other students have had.

  8. Grace Roeske on January 3rd, 2019 8:59 am

    The author had done a god job interviewing because the quotes are informational. The topic of the story is very exciting for the school and you can tell from her perspective that she is excited about it too. This article can inform students about this event and they also get them interested in it.

  9. Grace Roeske on January 3rd, 2019 9:01 am

    This story informs students about the upcoming event and gets them excited! You can also tell the author is excited about the story too. She did a good interview because her quotes were informational.

  10. Elise Truman on January 3rd, 2019 9:58 am

    Your fact paragraphs are amazing! They have so much substance and you can see all the research that was put into them. You did a fantastic job writing this. If I had one comment it would be that you might want to add a few more quotes.

  11. Skyler schreiber on January 4th, 2019 8:08 am

    Perfect information in this article and a great amount of research. The quotes are very strong and seem to find a way to fit with the whole story very well. Overall great article

The Pony Express intends for this area to be used to foster healthy thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to the standards of the Pony Express and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked, or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet the standards of this publication. The Pony Express does not allow anonymous comments. We require a name and valid email address submitted. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Innovative plan to teach school in snowy conditions

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    The Partnership Plan puts on annual Partnership Party

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Innovations team heads to Mounds View to investigate Pathways

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Academic Vision team proposes new grading policy draft

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    Featured Videos

    Josiah Hill makes a run for State Senate

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Superintendent Pontrelli addresses concerns of trust among board members

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    School board further reduces 2019-2020 budget to fill deficit, still does not comply with policy R 5.4

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Board meeting red-out: students stand in support of Student Council President representation

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Black History Month represents growing community for students of color

  • Winter Coffeehouse returns in December

    News

    Student council puts on BLAST week

Navigate Right
The student news site of Stillwater Area High School
Winter Coffeehouse returns in December