KNOXVILLE – On Monday night, Johnson University’s Student Government Association held the first Coffee House of the semester in the EAC Underground.
Students grabbed any seat they could find with many overflowing to the floor.
Amongst them was junior Ashley Kennedy who enjoyed the packed, fun atmosphere.
“I’ve always really enjoyed coffee house,” she said. “Each year it seems to get better, and this year especially they seem to be going all out.”
Julianna Williams, Josiah Caraway, and Matthew Wilson kicked off the night in song, and they were followed by Kyle Graefser who used his experience in a Psalms class to compose and perform poetry.
Lori Morgan then performed a series of love songs followed up by break-up songs in honor of Valentine’s Day with her bandmates.
The group 2nd West & Some Guys which consisted of Magnus Lewis, Dalton Sauer, Justice Wright, Cody Deringer, and a special appearance by Jason Schnackenberg, performed a rendition of “Rocky Top” that had the audience singing along.
Following them, Olivia Martin and Wesley Sewell performed a spoken word duet, after which Logan Marcum played several pieces on the little known instrument called the Ocarina.
Jeremy Cox and Chloe Nielson performed several duets, including “Lay Me Down” by recording artist Sam Smith.
Alberto Leong showed off his guitar skills in several pieces, inviting Morgan back on stage to perform his last song, “Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran, with him.
Camille Speece, Sho Gray, and Rachel Misch performed a memorable rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” while students Alyssa Fithian and Kandace Troxwell danced along lyrically.
Cierra Early followed them by reciting original poetry, and rounding out the night with their last Coffee House performances, Jon Spears and Makenzee Lady performed renditions of “As Long as You Love Me” by Justin Bieber and the recent smash hit, “Hotline Bling,” by Drake.
Before Coffee House started, Spears had this to say about their performance, “This is most likely both of our last Coffee House so we decided to do songs that are popular but that we could also have some fun with. I’m rapping, which I’ve never done before so I’m a bit nervous, but at least we’re going out with a bang.”
Concerning the night as a whole, Senior Hope Smyth, the executive director of the Major Events Committee for SGA, said, “One thing that I’m very excited about is the art display we have. I think that’s going to get a lot of traffic. I know Sheila Maffio, the service manager for Pioneer, has helped with that tremendously. We have one act that has a banjo and an upright bass this time, which is different and really cool. I also would like to give a shout out to the media people, because they’ve made coffee house so much more than a plugin and a mic.”
Freshman Emma Downer, member of the Creative Arts Council and innovator of the visual arts display, was happy with the many students who lingered around the exhibit.
“I was really surprised by how much student artwork we were able to gather,” she said. “I mean, this is the first really big display of visual art I’ve seen on campus so the interest in the art is really encouraging. It makes me hopeful for future exhibits.”
Downer included one of her own paintings, along with the pieces on display.
Several of the pieces will remain in place on the Underground walls following Coffee House, with the goal of the CAC being able to eventually replace all of the generic art with student work.
The next Coffee House will soon be announced by the coordinating Major Events committee of the SGA. These people encourage students with musical, literary, or visual artistic talent to participate in the unique opportunity to showcase their talents.