March 06, 2018
The Coffee House in Milwaukee is a local gem. It is a volunteer run organization in a borrowed room of a church. It earned it's name before the fancy coffee venues, back in the 60s. You know the time when grandma's big coffee maker was a revolutionary invention! So other coffee houses of today focus on expensive mugs with self-indulgent names. But The Coffee House has 50 years of supporting singer-songwriters, poets, artists and activists. No pretensions here. Come as you ARE. If you want a fancy mug...bring your own. In fact, bringing your own cup will earn you an impressed raised eyebrow from the volunteers because you care about saving a tree.
Tom and Barb started at an open Mic at The Coffee House long ago. We fumbled, stuttered and sweated. The audience was energetic, accepting, affirming and encouraging. We are not sure we earned the applause, but the excitement to perform in front of people was addictive. I remember the first time I sang one of my own songs. I was so frightened. Vulnerable. But the good people of The Coffee House cheered me on. I received tips from fellow performers and appreciation from listeners.
Now we perform at modern coffee houses, garden parties, and street festivals. Outside, people stroll and bop to the music, maybe stop to listen for a couple songs. Inside, we complete with the cappuccino maker which always drones loudly when a soft ballad is next up on the set list.
Thank you to those who intently listen to the words of a song. I sing just for you. I form my notes and rhythm so that each word has meaning and emotion, faithful to the songwriter. I learned this from my years at The Coffee House, where people come to hear and feel the performing art.