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Brewster Choirs Students Connect Over Virtual Coffeehouse

Brewster Choirs Coffeehouse Earlier this month, Brewster High School Choirs students gathered around the glow of their respective devices to take part in a virtual “coffeehouse” performance.

“Principal Horler and I were emailing each other about figuring out a way to get my students singing again, together,” said Patricia Taylor, the K-12 Performing Arts Coordinator and Director of Concert Choir, Chamber Singers and Men's Choir at Brewster High School. Ms. Horler brought up the idea of an online “performance.” 

“Most students who sing in choir do not consider themselves soloists and would not be comfortable doing that, but what if some students could sing and the rest could simply enjoy watching each other?” Taylor asked.

The idea of a coffeehouse event was born from this conversation. A “coffeehouse,” Taylor explained to students in her invitation, is a social event that’s usually held at a small venue where artists are invited to perform. Theirs was held via Zoom.

“I strongly believe that what our students are missing the most right now is connection,” Taylor said. “It was great to see my students’ faces again and to get to hear them sing again!”

Five students performed in the first coffeehouse event while a handful of their peers watched. Freshman Alexandra Schajer performed “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga. Pablo Crisostomo, a junior, performed “Earthquake” by Tyler, the Creator. Senior Annie Sullivan sang “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran and accompanied herself with her guitar. Senior Tamara Figueroa also played the guitar, singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” Lexi Gagliardo, a junior, accompanied herself on the ukulele while singing “Soul Sister” by Train.

“I really enjoyed performing in our virtual Coffeehouse,” Annie said. “It was a nice way to connect with other students again in an informal performance setting. During this time, I feel that music is a really great way to connect with others.”

Her peers seemed to agree, noting how nice it was to connect with fellow students and Ms. Taylor over something they all love: music.

“I wanted to perform because I love singing and it was great to be able to have a chance to do so in front of my peers,” said Alexandra. “It was something to look forward to because I was excited to be able to perform in front of other people and not just sing in my room!”

Pablo agreed.BHS Choirs Virtual Coffeehouse

“I found it enjoyable to be able to reconnect with some of the people in my class and Ms. Taylor since that is an aspect of the learning process that isn’t easily or conveniently possible a lot of the time through distance learning,” he said.

Lexi echoed her peers’ sentiments, noting how great it was to connect.

“It was a lot of fun; it was nice seeing some faces I haven’t seen in a while. People were able to be supportive of each other and just have some fun singing songs. I hope we get to do another one soon!”

This event is another example of how students and staff are relying heavily on the district’s Strategic Coherence Plan skills during this unprecedented time. Collaboration is still possible with a little perseverance and adaptability.