On the second floor of the bend where Dream Hall meets Challenge Hall, there is the Art Room, which serves as a quiet self-study room. It is quite hard to imagine that this plain, bland room – white walls, wooden tables, plastic chairs – could turn into a cozy, warm café with live music. When the final exams and all the academic festivals are done and over with, students drag their exhausted selves to this room, seeking comfort. By then, the doors of the room are all covered in black paper, evoking the curiosity of those who pass by. Once inside, the humidity and the warmth creates a sharp contrast between the cold weather outside – glasses getting fogged up, frozen hands and noses melting. The sound of an acoustic guitar resonates through the room, dimly lit by candles. Groups of students huddle around desks, softly speaking or enjoying the music. In the corner, some students are busy cutting cakes, making drinks, taking orders and serving them to the tables. Up in the front, surrounded by students sitting on the floor, are the musicians, the guitar players and singers who give the young café-goers a taste of what live music/ jazz bars might be like.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Concord Christmas Café.
This is a café run solely by students, mostly students of the music club, Concord. Members of the club manage everything from getting permission for the café to serving and entertaining their guests. C major, the acoustic band club, had also been helping out for the past few years in the café, playing alongside members of Concord. This year, the café opened on Monday, 21st of December and lasted two days. On Monday, the members of C Major was mostly in charge of the music, while on Tuesday, a wider variety of instruments could be heard, thanks to the members of Concord. For the refreshments, the café had a selection of desserts – cheesecake, muffins, toast – as well as warm drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate.
Some of the students who played as the musicians in the café said that they liked the intimate, closely knitted environment that enabled them to play comfortably without getting nervous, as they would have been if they were playing in the auditorium. The ones who worked in the café as servers were surprised at how the café was crowded the entire time it was open. Many students who visited the café liked the entire ambience, and said that listening to live music in a café was an entirely new experience.
There are, however, also some things that the club could’ve improved on. To the café-goers’ disappointment, the café was open only from Monday to Tuesday, though it was expected to be open for four days – from the 18th of Friday to Wednesday. This was due to some miscommunication regarding the permission of the café’s opening time. Also, the club members agreed on the fact that they should prepare more supplies for next year’s café, for they underestimated the popularity of the baked goods this year. Many Hafsonians were disappointed to hear that the café’s cheesecake and muffins was sold out. On the bright side, this meant that the business went better than expected.
As a member of the club said, the goal of the café was to give students the opportunity to make a heartwarming memory of the cold winter with their friends. The Concord Christmas Café captured the spirit of the season well and students eagerly wait for next year’s holidays to come, for the Art Room to transform into a magnificent, student-run café once again.
BY Kim Young Bean ’18