THS’s 10th Annual Coffeehouse


THS Coffeehouse

Alessandra Bontia, Staff Writer

This Wednesday, the tenth annual Coffeehouse performance took place in the Tenafly High cafeteria turned café. With acts ranging from singer-songwriters to bands to poetry readers, the students of Tenafly High succeeded yet again in impressing their fellow peers, teachers, and administrators.

Coffeehouse, which began ten years ago, has been able to keep its original relaxed environment, allowing any student who signs up with a school-appropriate act to perform. Mrs. Lewis, the Supervisor of Students, helped turn the intriguing idea of two juniors into reality ten years ago. “They had this idea of a kind of folksy, coffeehouse feel, where the lights are dim, and a lot of acoustics. So we started that in the fall of 2009,” said Mrs. Lewis, who was a Spanish teacher at the time of the event’s conception. “We held it in one of the smaller classrooms, and then we decided to move it to the band room because the previous room was just too small. People were angry that they couldn’t get in. We thought the band room would be big enough, but there were still lines outside the door; it was standing room only. Then we moved to the auditorium, but that was too big. We lost the feel of the ‘coffeehouse’ atmosphere. So three years ago, we decided to join forces with the senior class bagel sale and do the performance in the cafeteria, where people could have coffee and bagels and food and not have a problem. It created a much more relaxed atmosphere, and I think it probably has encouraged people to sign up to perform.”

The preparation for this event begins about one month prior. Mrs. Lewis is the main director of the show, putting together everything behind the scenes. “One of the first steps is to find the emcees. Then we have to get together some sort of advertisements, so I work with the art department to get posters going and Mr. Moger to find a date to air previews of the event on the morning announcements.”

The show began around 10 a.m., and although the crowd seemed to be lacking volume at first, after the first performance, the show began to gain momentum and everyone seemed to get into it even more.

One of the best parts of Coffeehouse is the opportunity it presents to every student in Tenafly. “The encouraging and chill environment makes people more comfortable to perform,” said one of the four emcees, Guy Maslaton (’19). “It’s one of the few opportunities to perform something of your choice.”

“It’s special because it’s the one thing in the school that isn’t a competition. It doesn’t exert any stress or anxiety, and it’s the performer’s choice to have the courage to stand on that stage,” said emcee Dené Chung (’19). “I think it’s so amazing to see people who you normally wouldn’t expect to belt that one note to belt it and to be so proud of themselves afterward.”

Luckily for these performers, they all fit in perfectly. In past years, however, the number of students who wanted to get up and show their skills outweighed the amount of time on this half day. “When kids are signing up, we have to try and cut it off at a number where we think we can guarantee they’ll go up,” said Mrs. Lewis. “There have been years when we were unable to get everyone up, and I was so disappointed by that, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone who takes the time to prepare.”

It’s special because it’s the one thing in the school that isn’t a competition.

— Dené Chung ('19)

The performances from this year’s Coffeehouse were phenomenal. Some standouts were Arjesh Gupta (’21), who wrote and performed an original song; Paige Kupferschmid (’22) and Ron Maslaton (’19), both of whom sang and played the piano for their cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist”; and Margot Bosnian (’21), Johnny Coppolino (’21), and Lexi Schaznur (’21) with their soulful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

This opportunity is something unique to Tenafly and is worth at least considering signing up for. “We’re open to anything that’s a performance. Take advantage of it. I think this isn’t something that other schools have. We even had a photographer roaming around taking pictures.”

With this year’s Coffeehouse as another success in the book, the Thanksgiving holiday break began with a bang and gave Tenafly students a little something extra to be thankful for.