Students filed into the MiST Theatre on Wednesday for UTM’s first coffeehouse of the year. The coffeehouse provided an opportunity for UTM students to showcase their talent in a relaxed setting.
The event was put together by the cleverly named Artistic Resource Team, a group dedicated to the UTM arts scene. The coffeehouse also raised money for United Way.
Chris Lengyell, ART’s resident staff member, described the ambience as casual, informal, and acoustic. Jess McGee, a coffeehouse regular, said it was “a night where all the hipsters come out to play”.
ART encouraged performers from many fields, including music, dance, and spoken word, to perform. With 13 acts scheduled for the night, the crowd was in for a series of great performances.
In the crowd wasStephanie Kolodij, a science student who came to the show to take a break. “In the midst of a taxing semester, it’s nice to chill out at such an event,” she said. “As a sciences student, it’s a good change of pace for me.”
The two whimsical and compatible hosts, Matthew Butler and Sierra Callaghan, introduced the acts. Throughout the show, they charmed the crowd with their witty banter.
Vinh Nguyen Huu kicked it off with the first performance. He stepped onto the stage with a graceful confidence that was echoed in his piano solo. Alice Li also stood out with a beautiful contemporary dance piece, the only movement performance, during the show.
Spencer Bennet wowed the audience with an unaccompanied bass guitar solo. His fingers were moving so fast that he had to shake them at various intervals during his performance. As a TDS student, his theatrical background showed in his entertaining facial expressions throughout his performance.
Tiffany Lee, accompanied by her band, performed a soft, mellow cover of the popular electronic song “Titanium”. The applause affirmed that they were a crowd favourite. The UTM Music Club’s Andrew Wilson, who was scheduled at the last minute, sang and played an original composition, “Another Rainy Night”, on guitar.
Sean Kinsella, a UTM residence staff member, performed two songs. His second involved some audience participation. Turning the audience into his backup choir, Sean covered Mumford & Sons’ “White Blank Page”.
Alex Tkachuk, the winner of last year’s spoken word section at Artsfest, delivered a series of crisp, witty, and captivating pieces with tongue-twisting eloquence.
The show ended with Stephanie Traina’s phenomenal a capella cover of Sarah McLaughlin’s “In the Arms of an Angel”.
Kyle Weber described the performers as having the “Susan Boyle effect”, and added, “They’re all unassuming, but once they’re up on the stage, they rock it!”
Chev Burbidge, a member of ART, commented, “It was a great team effort. Seeing everyone come out and have a great night is what ART is all about.”