For those battling with midterm exams and papers, nothing can be more comforting than a night full of performances from student groups and snacks to celebrate the kindness in our community. Hosted by the Brandeis Kindness Day initiative in the Shapiro Campus Center Atrium last Friday night, the coffeehouse featured performances by Up the Octave, Too Cheap For Instruments, Proscenium, musical duo Jake Sibley ’19 and Tom Murdy ’21, and False Advertising.

The show started with strong performances from the all-female a capella group Up The Octave, starting with a great cover of “Geronimo” by Sheppard, during which the singers quickly grabbed the audience’s attention. After that, UTO presented their family song, “Lights” by Journey. While the vocals of both songs are strong, what stood out was the amazing beatboxing by Ruxuan Zhao ’19. 

After Up The Octave, another a cappella group, Too Cheap For Instruments, performed three groovy songs, including “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell — one of my favorite songs of the night — and were also well-received.

Following a short break, Proscenium, Brandeis’ musical theater a cappella group, offered a lively selection of show tunes. During Proscenium’s performance, however, it became much harder to enjoy the show because the audience almost doubled in size. While it was great that more people were able to make it to the coffeehouse, the noise from the audience also increased significantly and was further amplified by the acoustics in the SCC atrium. As a result, it was extremely difficult to hear the performers. The group’s vivid body language made it slightly better, but it was still frustrating not to be able to hear the words. Almost all the groups more or less suffered from the same problems, but it was particularly bad during the second half of the event.   

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KIND NOTES: Musician Jake Sibley ’19 contributed his talent to the coffeehouse along with cellist Tom Murdy ’19 (not pictured).

Switching gears from strictly musical performances, the coffeehouse ended with Brandeis’ improv comedy group, False Advertising. I had a blast watching their hilarious skits — as did the crowd, based on their positive reaction at the end. 

Overall, the Kindness Day Coffeehouse was very successful. The event started with a small crowd and grew to take over almost the whole atrium. However, while being in the center of traffic is great when it comes to attracting an audience, holding the event in a different space would surely have improved the quality of the show. At the same time, I still thoroughly enjoyed the performances, and cannot wait for more events like it.