Guitars have been tuned, harmonies rehearsed and dance steps practiced in preparation for Friday’s opening of the second season of the Coffeehouse at First Presbyterian Church. The coffeehouse was started by college students last summer as a musical venue to enjoy together while raising funds for the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge.
“We had no idea how much fun the coffeehouse events were going to be when we started last year,” said organizer Sumner Byrne, a college student at George Washington University. “It became clear that the young adult crowd needed a place to hang out, listen to some great music, and reconnect with friends who are normally away at school.
“Even as students, we are making a difference for the Free Medical Clinic, which is pretty incredible,” Byrne said. “We have raised almost $5,000 for low-income people who have no health insurance.”
Friday’s entertainers will include a variety of singers, guitarists, and a magician. There may even be a swing dancing demonstration.
Performing groups include Nicolas Cagle, James Eston Dunn, Mallika Vorah, and Maddie Buckner, as well as Sarah Cottingham, Sumner Byrne and Nathan Hall. Mike Burns and other individuals will also perform.
In addition to hosting musical entertainment, drawing large crowds, and delivering needed funds to the clinic, the students who run the coffeehouse have found the experience helps them hone leadership and event planning skills.
“We have learned how to handle logistics, line up entertaining acts, emcee and host, run concessions, staff an event, and manage the communications,” Byrne said. “We have a young team, but we are constantly learning, inventing, and improvising as we try to make the coffeehouse the best it can be. I’ve been so proud to watch us grow, improve, and gain confidence in ourselves.”
The coffeehouse will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday in Room 102 of First Presbyterian Church, at the southeast corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Lafayette Drive. Admission costs $3 at the door, and refreshments are available for purchase. The public is invited.