The Glastonbury Coffeehouse Project held its holiday-themed concert/social gathering on Dec. 19 at the Academy School Building. Organizers said the program is a safe, fun, activity for teens and doubles as a showcase for young musical talent.
The event features food (including a pancake bar), music from several bands and performers, games and activities in the Teen Center and a chance to socialize, as well as, of course, coffee.
According to Anna Park, Recreation Coordinator at Glastonbury Parks and Recreation who coordinates the effort, the Coffeehouse project is entirely student-run. It operats as a sort of unofficial club of Glastonbury High School students. About 30 students are part of the group, which meet twice montly to plan the quarterly events.
"They plan the entertainment, they plan what we're going to have for food, and they staff the Coffeehouses," Park said. "They're such an awesome group of kids."
Coffeehouse President, GHS senior Hannah Stetson, said she got involved as a junior, because she was a big fan of music and was looking for a new club to join. She said she really likes the environment she and her classmates create at the events.
"The people who are in it really make it great," she said. "It's just the fact that it's our peers who are making the music. It's really cool to see people put bands and acts together – and to learn music and sing – just for these events. IT's really respectable to see your peers have the courage to go up and do that."
Redpoint and Social Dissonance were among the bands performing at this incarnation of the Coffeehouse.
While many of the bands are experimenting, others are honing skills they've had for a while.
Bonsai Trees is a band headed by GHS grads (and members from other nearby towns) that grew out of the CoffeeHouse Project and is now well-established as a part of the Connecticut Music Scene, having also played at recent Apple Harvest Festivals, Six Flags New England and the House of Blues in Boston since their humble beginnings. Bonsai Trees returned to the Coffee House on Dec. 19 and drew a good-sized crowd.
"A few years ago, when they were playing here, they became a favorite," Stetson said. "This is their return. It's really great to see how far they've come, because we can say we had an effect on that."
Laura Zeppieri, Chair of the Glastonbury Community Action Partnership (formerly the Glastonbury Alcohol and Drug Council), who was also volunteering at the event as a way to be present in her son's activities.
"I like to support them, but also be a person of my word," she said, referring to her encouragement of parents to be involved in their teen's lives.
The next Coffeehouse is scheduled for Feb. 27. For more information, contact Anna Park at firstname.lastname@example.org.