During select times of the year, residents of the Madison community file into the Chase Room at the Madison Public Library to submit ballots, lend their eyes to the masterpieces of local artists, or attend club meetings. However, on Saturday, January 26, the Chase Room served as the performance space for Madison High School’s bi-annual Glyphs Coffeehouse.
Glyphs is an extracurricular club at MHS that accepts poetry, prose, art, and photography submissions from creative students who are eager to share their work with their peers. These submissions are evaluated by club members and eventually published in the club’s literary magazine of the same name, Glyphs. In order to produce an expertly designed booklet brimming with vibrant photographs, intricate sketches, and pages upon pages of words, the members of Glyphs host two Coffeehouse fundraisers during the course of the school year.
On Friday evening, the Chase Room resembled a cozy nightclub; the dimly lit room was comfortably crowded with tables, all positioned around a small stage which was well equipped with two microphones and a grand piano. Groups of MHS students as well as a few faculty members scrambled into folding chairs and watched their peers reveal their varied artistic talents. While cheering on their friends, audience members entertained themselves by scribbling doodles on the black paper tablecloths in neon chalk, a clever idea conceived by the Glyphs club.
Throughout the night, performers radiated enthusiasm under the glowing ceiling lights. Many recited poetry or excerpts from their favorite novels. Senior Daniela Cleary read Ars Poetica, a contemporary poem by Dorothea Lasky. However, many students’ artistic interests extended far beyond literature. Musically inclined students strummed guitars, harmonized, and banged popular melodies on the piano. Those feeling bold embraced their comedic personalities, such as seniors Elizabeth Klein and Becca Johnson. The duo evoked uproarious laughter from the audience with their rendition of “We Just Touched Awkwardly”, a song that achieved its fame on YouTube. “The coffeehouse is extremely friendly and relaxed,” said Liz, “You know you’re among friends, so you can just get up on stage and be yourself without feeling self conscious.”
During a break in performances, Glyphs Editor in Chief Lisa Jenkins announced the winner of the annual Glyphs Short Story Contest. The winner, senior Grace Johnson-Debaufre, was very surprised by the news. “Lisa asked me for my opinion as an editor on a couple of the contest submissions and I helped her pick out what I thought was going to be the winner,” explained Grace, “When she read out the name of the story at coffeehouse, I was thinking ‘Huh, I don't remember that being the title of the winning piece. Who wrote that?’ Then, I realized that it was mine!” Grace’s short story, entitled “The Fall” is a witty, yet beautifully raw piece about a successful woman struggling with her marriage.
At the end of the night, black tablecloths were barely visible beneath bubble-lettered initials and “Great Job!”s scrawled in capital letters. In addition to raising over $350, the event’s success hinged largely on the willingness of all participants to collaborate, exhibit their skills, and enjoy themselves. “Everyone who got up to the microphone was just incredibly brave and incredibly talented,” Lisa said fondly, “It looked like people had fun.” Lisa hopes to arrange two more Coffeehouses before the end of the academic year, one solely for literature recitations, and another that will include musical acts.
Glyphs continues to accept art and writing submissions of all kinds as members and editors prepare to piece together yet another edition of Madison High School’s esteemed literary magazine.