The UTM English and Drama Student Society held a coffeehouse filled with music, poetry, and laughter to warm students’ hearts on a chilly Friday evening. The event took place in the Faculty Club in the Davis Building, and was nothing short of spectacular.
Stephanie Vega, a multitasker and the president of EDSS, performed several songs and poems throughout the evening. To get the ball rolling, Vega opened with a poem of hers that was published in last year’s EDSS poetry anthology.
Kicking off the musical side of things was Edna Bovas. Bovas graced the audience with two songs: “3 Libras” by A Perfect Circle and “Samson” by Regina Spektor. UTM has been lucky enough to hear this first-year student perform several times already. Bovas sang at both UMC’s open mic night and their charity dinner. “I haven’t really had a lot of chances to sing because I’ve been so busy with schoolwork,” she says, but she’s making waves on campus.
“I’m always nervous performing,” she adds. “I will have mini panic attacks. It all depends on the audience.” Bovas, an aspiring English specialist, says she’s conflicted over whether to write music or focus on her academics.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Hayward sang “Tennessee” by the Wreckers, and Mackenzie Roy added a wonderful acoustic twist to Britney Spears’s “I Wanna Go”, which ended with the audience clapping along to his guitar. There was also Sophia Bustos, who delivered two songs, one in English and one in Spanish, in her beautiful and powerful voice.
Bustos’ Spanish song was only the beginning of the cultural diversity at the coffeehouse. One poet, Shu Jing Liu, the oldest of the performers, recited a verse of poetry in Mandarin and then kindly translated it into English.
There was no shortage of poets at the coffeehouse. Alexander Tkachuk got up behind the mic as well, reciting his work with gusto, matching his voice and expression to his words. Tkachuk performed his poem “An Essay of Abstract Expressions”, which consisted of exactly that. His odd noises elicited appreciative laughter from the crowd and a grand round of applause.
In a faux English accent, Christopher Laliberte, EDSS’s workshop coordinator, read a poem of his that was also published in last year’s anthology. His piece, “That Damn Raven”, was a response to Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem “The Raven”.
Several other poets were also brave enough to read their work. Christine Odunlami, EDSS’s treasurer, read some of her work and told the audience that she had completed just shy of 50 pieces. Another poet, Anisa Khalifa, shied away from the mellow in her darker poetry.
Katherine Nader, EDSS’s events coordinator, is a second-year student who published a book when she was only 17. Her novel, The Deadly Mark, is about a war-torn kingdom in the 1800s. Nader read several passages of her book. She plans to hold a workshop on how to get published.
The event closed with all the executives gathering to sing fun.’s “We Are Young”.
After the event, Vega said they had waited until the end of the semester to hold the event because students tend to have “a larger repertoire of writing collected by the end of the term”. Vega also mentioned that because of the popularity of the anthology last year, EDSS will continue to publish an anthology every year.
EDSS holds events throughout the year to showcase UTM students’ work and to give them a chance to mingle with each other. Students from all programs are always welcome to join in.