Coffee House event offers unique Friday option

I honestly didn’t know what to expect as I walked up to the MacVittie College Union’s Kinetic Gallery for Geneseo Late Knight and Geneseo Campus Activities Board’s Coffee House event on March 4 from 9–11 p.m. I was drawn in by the promise of free coffee and acoustic music, but I really didn’t know much about the performers or how much fun I would actually have at a school-sanctioned Friday night event. My uncertainties were replaced with contentment, however, as the Coffee House event provided the perfect blend of engaging entertainment and a welcoming atmosphere. Any trepidation that I had about attending the event seemed to dissipate when I saw—to my surprise—a line of students waiting to go into the Gallery, stretching from its opening to the front doors of the Union itself. My friend and I were intrigued; we both thought that we would be two of a small number of attendees.

We then realized why so many people arrived so promptly: GLK was giving out free travel mugs to the first 50 people in attendance. To say I was thrilled was an understatement; I desperately wanted a good travel mug, but was too cheap to buy one and this wonderful freebie put me in just the right mood to enjoy the upbeat music of performers Meg Williams and Sara Rogers.

While attendees settled in with their selections of free coffee, teas and cookies, Williams and Rogers introduced themselves, noting how excited they were to be playing. They apologized in advance for their “awkwardness” in making conversation, as the guitar-playing duo typically only plays together in bars or restaurants. Williams and Rogers also play in Meg Williams Band, featuring Williams as the songwriter and lead vocalist and Rogers as the trumpeter. The band’s first album Troubles to the Wind was released in May 2014 and is available for purchase on iTunes.

Both recent graduates of Nazareth College—where Williams studied music therapy and Rogers studied both jazz and classical trumpet—the duo beamed at the audience before starting their set, sporting similar T-shirts, jeans, messy buns and acoustic guitars. This laidback, cheerful vibe that Williams and Rogers exuded carried through in the music that they played.

I was immediately impressed by the vocal prowess and strong guitar skills that both women demonstrated. The pair’s singing abilities complemented the other greatly, allowing both to uniquely shine in each song. They rotated through a solid set of upbeat, carefree tunes that had the audience members singing and swaying happily along in their seats. Even though the duo made performing with such passion and precision look effortless, there was no denying the immense technical control present in both their instrumental and vocal exhibitions.

Williams and Rogers played a few original tracks, such as the sultry “Take Some Time,” but their undeniably catchy and well-executed covers seemed to resonate the most with the audience. I particularly enjoyed their cover of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” highlighting Rogers’ soulful vocals and impressive range in an innovative way. Other notable covers included the Jackson’s 5’s feel-good “I Want You Back,” Amy Winehouse’s jazzy “Tears Dry On Their Own” and Pharrell Williams’ radio hit “Happy.”

Like myself, attendee freshman Jessica Lisi noted that she “didn’t know what she was getting herself into,” but was ultimately glad with her decision to come to the event. “It’s just something nice to chill to,” she said. “I really like it; they’re really talented.”

Not only should Williams and Rogers be commended for their warmth and musical aptitude, but GCAB and GLK should also pat themselves on the back for arranging such a fun and relaxed Friday night event for the campus community to enjoy.