By Conor Hernon, Riverside apprentice and actor
The Riverside Center for Education held its second coffeehouse on January 13 at the Westmont Commons.
Crowd favorites Pippin and the Frogs and the Jansen Family band returned to play, along with new additions, A Band of Brothers, Billy and the Kids, and seasoned performers, the Ruck Family. They performed in front of a crowd of at least a hundred people made up of family and friends.
The intent of the Coffeehouse is to provide a venue for musicians young and old.
“It’s very important for kids to play music together. Music is social by nature. Ensemble playing inspires children to perfect their own musical abilities while simultaneously feeding the human desire to share meaningful creative work with others,” said John Shine, the father of two members of A Band of Brothers.
Liam and Joe Shine have been taking Irish music lessons from Sean Ryan for a little more than three years with friends/bandmates JJ and Conor (me) Hernon. They have played together at St. Patrick’s Day gigs, the Midwest Fleadh (a music competition), and Irish ceili dances.
On the other hand, Billy and the Kids played together in public for the first time at the Coffeehouse. Riverside Director Peter Searby discovered lead singer Dominic Taglia’s talent at the cast party for Riverside’s production of It Happened on Fifth Avenue.
Dominic said that he had never performed in a band before and that it was a new experience for him.
“It was nerve racking. My heart was racing and that adrenaline got to me on the first song,” Dominic said.
Dominic’s mom Anneke Taglia was nervous also.
“Watching him sing in a band is surprisingly quite different from watching him act in a play. I can lose myself in the plot of the play, and not think about Dominic or his ability to act… Watching him sing with the band was nerve wracking for me because he was exposed—there was no one to distract the audience from any mistakes he might make,” she said.
As for the concept of the Coffeehouses in general, Anneke is a fan.
“I think the Coffeehouse is a superb introduction to Riverside and its mission. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the showcasing of the talent of Riverside participants,” she said.