The Board hosts the September CoffeeHouse event on campus, Sept. 10. Students sat around the Amphitheater and enjoyed the performance. Photo by Stella Zhang
The Board brought back Pepperdine’s CoffeeHouse event Sept. 10, kickstarting an in-person campus tradition. Due to the campus closure last year, the Board held a few virtual ones on Zoom, but this time, students got the chance to relax and watch student artists perform. The Board also gave out free mugs and coffee.
Unlike CoffeeHouse events in the past that took place in the Light House — previously known as the Sandbar — the Board hosted the event at the Amphitheater so students could move freely and feel comfortable performing and socializing without masks, the Board said.
Board member Alexa Borstad said the Board decided to host the event because they wanted to welcome back the various artists at Pepperdine by providing a safe and entertaining environment.
“Many people may not remember CoffeeHouses, especially younger classes,” Borstad said. “As the upperclassmen Board team, we wanted to make sure we could re-establish the staple event for future Pepperdine generations despite the unusual circumstances presented with COVID-19.”
Transitioning from an online environment to in-person has been a bit tricky at times because of LA County COVID-19 Guidelines, Borstad said. So far, a large number of students have attended the Board’s events this year.
As the event started, students sat in the Amphitheater to enjoy performances and coffee.
“Showcasing art and talent is an important step in our community’s healing process,” Borstad said. “It feels amazing to be in the presence of live music on campus and so surreal to hear personal songs created by Pepperdine students since the pandemic.”
Student performers, ranging from first-years to seniors, included singers, singer-songwriters and instrumentalists, expressed their excitement about this opportunity.
First-year Ava Campbell, who performed “Storms” by Fleetwood Mac, said it was such an amazing opportunity in such a welcoming environment.
“The crowd was so engaged and the entire event was phenomenal,” Campbell said. “I’m grateful to have been a part of it.”
In terms of song selection, Campbell said Fleetwood Mac is one of her mom’s favorites, and one of her friends recommended “Storms” because “it would sound magical.”
“I love performing — I love being able to lift people up in that way,” Campbell said. “Through performing, you can connect with people on a deep level and really pour your heart out in a way that you can’t do anywhere else.”
First-year Leilani Frailich stunned the crowd by singing “La Vie En Rose,” originally sung by Édith Piaf, and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley.
“I chose them because they have such soft and light vibes and I thought it might create a relaxing music environment,” Frailich said.
Jackie Ferrari, a sophomore rapper, producer and songwriter, said she knew her original song, “Remember When,“ would get the crowd hyped — as she talked about her own experiences.
“I hope people can find strength in my music, be inspired by them and ultimately relate to them,” Ferrari said.
Students who attended the event said the event was totally worth going to. Sophomore Asia Ford said she loved the atmosphere and how immersive it was.
“It really felt like a student event and bringing back a circle of fun on Pepperdine’s campus,” Ford said.
Junior Julianna Wagner agreed the music had a wide range and fit almost everyone’s taste. Wagner said it was fantastic to see all the different students and their talents.
“I really enjoyed the sense of community and inspirational space that was created for young musicians and their talents,” Wagner said. “It evokes a certain amount of school pride to see such talented individuals.”
With the success of the September CoffeeHouse, both performers and students said they hope to have more upcoming events.
“Hopefully in the future, I can showcase one of my original songs at another CoffeeHouse,” Frailich said. “I was really excited to be able to perform live again and can’t wait for more events.”
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