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ESF’s Got Talent: Students and Faculty Showcase Skills at Coffee Haus

Event sponsored by Alpha Xi Sigma draws crowd
10/24/2011

ESF's students and faculty brought out their inner artists Oct. 20 at Alpha Xi Sigma Honor Society's monthly Coffee Haus in Alumni (Nifkin) Lounge. The event featured musicians and poets.

"This is the second coffee haus out of three," said Colleen Gallagher, a senior environmental studies major and vice president of Alpha Xi Sigma. "The first one was at the Alumni and Family Fall BBQ , so there were so many people. A lot of alumni and parents came."

Gallagher said since she has been vice president attendance at the open mic nights has been steady and the talent has been impressive.

While most performers were students, Dr. Tom Horton of the environmental and forest biology department performed a duet with his daughter.

Some students stuck with traditional blues and folk music, while others took a humorous approach, such as Jeff Chieppa, a senior environmental biology major, who performed an original fast-paced song about the hypocrisies of society, disguised as a patriotic ode to America.

"It's typically a lot of guitar, a lot of banjo and a lot of acoustic," Gallagher said. "We have so much talent. When I look at the people that come out here, their voices are just ridiculously amazing and their ability to play the instruments is really phenomenal."

Gallagher said the poetry is always thoughtful and original.

"I'm always so proud to be part of it," she said. "I think it's generally a really positive thing."

Ashley Campbell, a junior conservation biology major, performed her original poetry about heartache and watching friends make bad decisons. Her expressive delivery and slam-style performance was a crowd favorite and earned her the most applause of the night.

Alpha Xi Sigma also provided free food and drinks to those in attendance. Gallagher said she credits the event's popularity to tradition and atmosphere.

"It's so chill and everybody's welcome to do whatever they want," she said "It's a tradition and it doesn't happen every week."

Next semester, Alpha Xi Sigma plans to collaborate more closely with the ESF Music Society, she said. The move will help attract more performers and allow for a more diverse offering, she said.

The next Coffee Haus will be 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 10 in Alumni (Nifkin) Lounge.

Brigitte Moneymaker, a sophomore environmental science major and member of Alpha Xi Sigma, said she thinks students are drawn to the event because it's free and has a relaxed social atmosphere.

"It's completely free," she said. "It's not super quiet and you don't have to just sit there and not socialize."

Moneymaker said having Centennial Hall right on campus has increased the number of people who attend because the residents don't have to travel far to hear music and poetry. She said she was impressed by the faculty turnout.

"I kind of expected the banjos and other stuff, but I had no idea Dr. Horton could play or that he had a daughter that could sing," she said. "It was adorable and the crowd clapped along."

-By Jessica Lynn Siart ES '12

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State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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