The Stars of Coffee House Amaze the Audience


Danielle Phan (L) and her sister Sam Thai (R) perform “We Could Happen” (Photo courtesy of Mrs. Napoliello)

Casey Knepley (10) started off the night singing an indie, acoustic song called Real People by Timothy Heller & Jared Ryan Moldanado. Casey is in chorus and enjoys singing; his favorite part of the entire experience was being on stage. He added, “I like that there is a place where we can show our talents outside of school.”

Andres Aguirre (11) rapped an original called The Hand Revolution. It was about today’s society and how unfair it is in his eyes. Andres kept a great rhythm and beat with his rhyming verses. He said, “My favorite part was the writing process even though I wrote this in less than twenty minutes.”

Danielle Phan (10) got to perform twice at Coffee House. The first time she sang Ours by Taylor Swift and played a pineapple ukulele. She chose this song because she felt it had the “chill” vibe that Coffee House gave off. Her performance was even more amazing because you could tell she was having fun up on stage. She said that she wasn’t nervous because Mrs. Napoliello made her feel very comfortable. Her second performance was a little last-minute and her sister, Sam Thai (Class of 2014), joined her. Danielle sang We Could Happen by AJ Rafael while Sam played the pineapple ukulele.

Nashe Beazer (9) read an original poem called Untitled. It was about self-esteem and being who you want to be. She said, “It was from my heart and how I really felt about myself.” Nashe said that she had stopped writing, but Coffee House got her to start again. She said she was very nervous, but would definitely do it again.

Olivia Rogers (10), a sophomore here at Falls Church, sang Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood while playing the guitar. Judging by the volume of the applause, it was clear her performance was popular with the crowd. “The applause felt really good. I felt that all the work I put in really paid off.” She expressed that she absolutely loves to sing, learn new songs, and even write some of her own. And despite the expected nerves, she actually felt pretty comfortable and confident up on stage.

Diana Chicas (12) caught the crowd’s attention with her two original poems titled Drowned and Rugged Brown Walls. In Rugged Brown Walls, read towards the end of the night, she creatively responded to a prompt that instructed her to describe what it would be like to be stuck in a paper bag. Chicas expressed that the experience was unique in that she had sung in front of crowds before, but this was her first time ever reading poetry. Like most of the other performers, she expressed she was nervous at first.  When asked what she enjoyed most about the night, Chicas said, “I was very happy to see my parents in the audience.”

Kevin Warasila (11) played the ukulele and sang “Cries and Laughter,” an original song he had written with a friend. When asked about the experience, Warasila said, “Leading up to the performance, I was definitely really nervous. Even though I had written the song with my friend, I still couldn’t always remember the words.” Despite this, Kevin still expressed that it all went better than he had expected. “On the stage, you can’t see any of the crowd because of the lights and so I really just sang like I was by myself.” This was the first time he had ever performed by himself and he felt pretty good about his performance.

Allison Bell (12) performed the song Wherever You Will Go by The Calling. She had an optimistic viewpoint on her nervous feeling prior to the show: “Yes I was nervous, but I knew that I could get through the performance.” To help combat her nerves she knew that friends and family were in the audience to support her and cheer her on. Allison sings a lot on her own and does solo performances at her church. She also loved the food, “My favorite part was the food. It was so good and the hot chocolate was delicious.” When asked if she would do it again she said, “I would definitely do it again if I was given the opportunity.”

Derra Ford (9) read an original poem called The Pain about the pain of love and relationships. When asked about her poem she said, “The poem is about relationship troubles. Also this poem was influenced by the point in the relationship when you realize that someone is not who you thought they were.” While you may have thought this came from personal experience she clarified that she is actually inspired by what she reads. Performing at Coffee House was a nerve-wracking experience, but mainly before her performance. After she finished reading her poem she felt great and accomplished. “While I was nervous beforehand I felt great afterwards and would definitely do it again!”

Jo-Vivian Yu (11) and Vanessa Avendano (11) performed the songs Riptide & Little Talks by Vance Joy & Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir, respectively. Vanessa played the ukulele and sang while Jo-Vivian sang.  Vanessa says that performing was really fun with my good friend. When asked about if she was nervous she said, “We were both nervous but having each other made it easier to play. I couldn’t even see the audience because of the bright lights.” Overall, for Jo-Vivian and Vanessa, Coffee House was a great experience that was even made better because of performing with each other.