Locals showcase music, art at cafe
Published: Monday, February 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 03:02
Twenty-eight-year-old songwriter and 2005 university alumna Melissa Cox took the stage at Central Perk Friday, and began belting out one of her original songs in Latin.
Cox has been performing at Mocha, Music & More, a live concert held every third Friday of each month at the Main Street coffee shop Central Perk, since her days as a student, according to Newark resident David Robertson.
Robertson, who created the event as part of the local organization Friend's of Newark's cultural and community building efforts, said Cox is the considered the event's headliner when she attends.
"It is wonderful to watch her growth," Robertson said.
This year marks Mocha, Music & More's fourth year of existence, and its first settled into Central Perk.
"We hold the event on Main Street because we believe that Main Street, like any central street in any town, is the heart of Newark, not just in terms economically but also socially and culturally," Robertson said.
The event features artists of all ages and types with only one rule—they must present original work. The coffee shop does not have a license to perform cover music said Lori Benscoter, who coordinates the event's schedule.
The performances, however, are not exclusively musical. Poets, magicians and comedians have all taken the stage.
"I try not to get the same person back for six months because we want a variety," Benscoter said.
Unpin Campbell, the coffee shop's owner, said the event was previously held at other venues, but Central Perk is planning to continue hosting Mocha, Music & More the rest of the year.
He also said the event nights bring approximately $100 more than an average night.
"We have a big place, big enough for people to come and enjoy the show," Campbell said.
Junior Stephanie Wirth attended Friday's show with a friend, and said she appreciated the demonstration Cox gave after performing, when the singer showed the audience how to use a foot pedal and a speaker box.
"I really liked her song in Latin and the way she showed the process of making her music," Wirth said.
Two other artists also performed at the concert and event organizers raffled off prizes from Switch, a skate shop on Main Street.
English professor Phillip Bannowsky read poetry and distributed flyers for the Occupy Delaware movement, and singer Jerry DiAngelo introduced some of his original work accompanied by other musicians who played guitar and drums.
Robertson said the event can serve as a platform for local artists.
"It is a way to provide an opportunity for young performers to share their arts," Robertson said. "We are using the event to create creativity."