“Thursdays at the Grind” Resurrect Coffeehouse

Students packed the Campus Center to watch the Hurley brothers, and others, perform last Thursday. (Photo by Rowan Copley)
Students packed the Campus Center to watch the Hurley brothers, and others, perform last Thursday. (Photo by Rowan Copley)

Students were probably surprised last week when they received an email about a new program on campus called “Thursdays at the Grind.” However, the new coffee house chair, senior Lauren Schreiber wants you not to worry; she’s just “switchin’ it up” this semester in order to serve your live music needs better.

Schreiber, who replaced Dan Pindell as Coffee House chair this semester as he is studying abroad, is hoping to revive the program this year.

“In the recent past, coffeehouse was having difficulties pulling in a number of students; we have a small campus and with the event happening every week, I think folks started taking it for granted,” Schreiber said, “rather than cutting the program, I decided to change the name: you know, to shake things up and let students know that it was something fresh and worth coming out to.”

This semester Schreiber intends to make a few more changes, all of which are focused around the goal getting more people involved in the coffee house program.  The event will still be every week, and will always feature live music.

One interesting change that the new Coffee House chair has in store for Thursdays at the Grind will be to bring out a few local artists from the DC area to perform a one hour and a half set each week.

“The music ranges from hip-hop, to R&B, to ska, to reggae, to funk, to rock. I tried to bring a taste of the city to SMCM, to let kids here know that local artists exist and that there’s more out there than just acoustic guitars,” Schreiber said as she spoke excitedly about the new programs and types of music she plans to bring to St. Mary’s, “I really hope folks get excited about the different sort of sound I’m into.”

Although there will be an influx of outside bands and artists performing this semester, Schreiber still plans to keep local and student artists in the mix at the grind by leaving the first thirty minutes open to student-groups as opening acts for the outside performers.

“All in all there will be less open mic, since I wanted to encourage students to sign up in advance and commit, like a real musical venue would do,” Schreiber said.

In an effort to get students from all disciplines involved in the program she has also considered the idea of commissioning students to create art during the performance and possibly convince them to raffle it off at the end of each show.

The name of the event isn’t the only thing that Schreiber plans to “switch up,” as she hopes to move the location of Thursdays at the Grind around to various spots on campus, including the upper deck, at the lounge at the end of the hall by the breezeway, and hopefully outside on the patio when it gets warmer.

The first Thursday at the Grind, February 5th, turned out to be a huge success with over fifty students attending, and performances from John Haltiwanger, Sarah Weisse and Jack Leathers, Hydröfish, Alec Stone, the Hurley brothers and more. Schreiber encourages everyone on campus to get involved with the new twist on the program and to check out and join the Facebook group.