The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.


The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.


The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.


The Return of Coffeehouse

First Coffeehouse open mic of 2023-2024 school year (Photo Cred: Sherlyn Medrano)

The room lights go off and the purple lights illuminate the stage made from drum risers in the dark room. The first performer, a shorter girl with wired glasses walks on stage, her head down, eyes to the floor, with an acoustic guitar in her hand and takes a seat on the stool on the risers. She stutters as she timidly announces her name and what she’ll be performing into the mic. 


Coffeehouse has been a tradition at Whitney Young since before the guitar program. It was an open mic event held in the orchestra room after school, run by Mr. Mascari,  meant to give students opportunities to perform in front of others. “No matter what your level is, it’s a place where you can play in a really supportive atmosphere with a lot of kindred spirits and it’s always a really good time. Even if it sucks, it’s still fun,” says Mr. Peek, another sponsor of the club.


When Covid-19 hit, the club fizzled out but was revitalized, through the efforts of Elliott Valadez ’22 and Mr.Peek in 2021; however there were only about 3 performances that school year. This year, with efforts from Sohpia Memon and Jeremy Ellis, Coffeehouse is making a return.  “Mr.Mascari was so energetic and excited about it, and the musicians at Whitney Young all jumped at the chance. It was amazing to watch it play out,” says Sophia Memon ‘24.


On Friday December 8th, Coffeehouse had its first open mic of the year. There were performances from Whitney Young’s Jazz Combo and Soul Combo, as well as from a couple other student formed groups, playing tunes ranging from Impressions by Miles Davis to Gouge Away by the Pixies. 


Pictured: Agy Aguilar and Ivan Martinez (Photo Cred: Sherlyn Medrano)

“It was so weird being in front of people again,” says one of the performers Agy Aguilar 24’. “But I think there’s a certain calm to it. It doesn’t feel like you’re performing with pressure.”


This year, especially with the guitar concert being canceled, it’s really important to “create some sort of space for people to perform with good quality sound equipment and energy,” says Memon, with the hope that coffeehouse continues regularly even after this year.


The next coffeehouse will be in January, with the goal of holding an open mic once every month. Make sure to stay tuned, check out the Coffeehouse Insta @wy.coffeehouse, and pop out to upcoming performances!

Pictured: AJ Yonker and Christopher Muszynski (Photo Cred: Sherlyn Medrano)


WY Coffeehouse Insta:

WY Coffeehouse signup link:

Video of Coffeehouse from 2018:


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