Nov 11, 2008

Coffeehouse rings in the Christmas season

by Jennifer Bowman

Twice a year students gather in the Vines Center at Liberty University for coffeehouse. Christmas coffeehouse is the first themed event of the year and takes place at the end of the fall semester. This year’s coffeehouse will take place Dec. 5.

The biannual event planned by Student Activities will feature anywhere from 15 to 18 acts or mini-shows according to Associate Director of Student Activities Alese Chandler. There are many aspects that go into planning a coffeehouse event including theme, lighting, music, organization of the show and more.

“The process starts in the summer for coffeehouse, and then we start bouncing ideas off of each other in October,” Chandler said.

“The student staff panel will decide on theme, extra decorations, the backdrop and even the technical production aspect of the event during this time.”

The theme of the Christmas coffeehouse always revolves around the main holiday. More essential and time consuming than deciding on the theme is the process of choosing talent. The tryouts for coffeehouse have already started and there have been a few groups who tried out, Chandler stated. Any student can try out for the Christmas coffeehouse. However, the Student Activities panel looks for several things.

“Music is big for coffeehouse programs, and we also look for a certain pizzazz to be added,” Chandler said. “Everyone loves a Christmas song, spoken word, theater, dance or comedy acts, but we like for each act to be unique and never bland.”
Within every coffeehouse event, there is always an act or two that students remember better than all the others. Such acts are the ones that student activities staff is looking for.

“One act that stood out to me from a past coffeehouse was an act where Brazilian students brought all types of different instruments and played a song with them,” Chandler said. “It was really unique and diverse so we like to look for a good mix of talents.”

Since there are only 15 to 18 acts allowed, the panel of students must narrow down the number of acts that were originally accepted.

“The students have to try out once, but they only have one shot to make it. Furthermore, their words must be memorized and the act must be performed as close to the act they would do on stage,” Chandler said.

Students may also tell jokes, but they are required to be selective in their humor.

“We must limit our jokes because we don’t want to demean or degrade people, so we have always been careful about not saying too many things,” Chandler said.

Students interested in trying out for coffeehouse should go to the Tilly Student Center Monday - Thursday from 5-10p.m. Tryouts are closed for church. Applicants are expected to have all props, including instruments 

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