The usual chatter of stress, Campus Dining prices and weekend plans fell to a low hum on Thursday afternoon as students congregated around the lower-level Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) lounge to hear acoustic music.
An event put on by Associated Students, Inc. (ASI), the Acoustic Coffeehouse Series featured a live performance from three Cal Poly students — liberal arts and engineering senior Kyvon Brown, biomedical engineering junior Kyle Erickson and materials engineering senior Calvin Noetzel — who played a wide assortment of music, both original and covers.
Amidst the clamor of espresso machinery and the buzz of midterm preparation, many students stayed to watch the performers, whose gentle, heart-jutting harmonies captured the room.
The event took place during UU hour (11 a.m.-12 p.m.) near Starbucks on the first floor. Campus Catering provided an arrangement of food, from doughnuts to bagels, as well as free coffee. Hundreds of students snaked around the bagel and doughnut stations, which were cleared out almost entirely within the first half hour.
The television normally broadcasting CNN was transformed into an artistic backdrop for the three students, two of whom (Noetzel and Erickson) played guitar. Brown and Erickson sing for That’s The Key, an a cappella group on campus.
The UU was packed to the brim, which was to be expected said musical entertainment assistant for ASI events and business administration junior Ryan Viggiano.
ASI planned for approximately 200 students to attend the event. All food and coffee was free for students.
“ASI Events tries to be the outlet to the ultimate college experience paid through student fees,” Viggiano said. “Why not use student fees to go back to the students?”
While most students seemed to enjoy the intimacy of the indoor performance, a few had reservations about the space and its capacity.
Biological sciences junior Ellie Brauer thought having the event outside would be a more productive use of space.
“It’s sort of strange to have it in here,” she said. “Having it (in the UU plaza) would be better.”
Having the event inside, however, was a conscious calculation on the part of ASI. Given El Nino’s unpredictability, inside seemed to be the best bet, Viggiano said.
“Additionally, it’s warm inside and we wanted more people to culminate near the Starbucks line,” Viggiano said. “It’s a good way to involve students as they’re just kind of walking through to get to class.”
The location also allowed students to catch the event in passing — a welcome surprise for those dealing with the struggles of mid-quarter schoolwork.
“They’re really great performers, so it’s great to listen to,” kinesiology sophomore Drew Nicklas said. “Midterms have been crazy, so this is a great way to relax.”
Viggiano booked the trio, who are friends of his. So far, he said, there are three more Acoustic Coffeehouse Series planned.
“The hope is to enable (the trio) to continue their passion and what they love, while also providing other students the opportunity to see how cool they are,” he said.
According to Viggiano, the next event is tentatively planned for Feb. 18, and the following on March 3.