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Community-a spoken word

Ivy Chan ‘24

Jan 27, 2023

Last Friday night, Mercersburg Academy held the winter term  Spoken Word performance in the Edward’s Room. Students presented poems, songs, stories, and comedic pieces. 

Students stepped into the spotlight to showcase their talents in a variety of forms. “I simply just thought, ‘Why not give [Spoken Word] a try?’ So I played the guitar and sang for the community… Many things inspire me, but what really inspired me was seeing the audience smiling and having a good time,” Cocona Yamamoto ‘26 said. Coco Zhai ‘24, a singer-songwriter with her own music out on Spotify, said, “I participated in every Spoken Word performance since I've been here; therefore, I have become motivated to perform and continuously share my thoughts and music [through] this incredible platform…I think everything around me and my daily life inspire my spoken word performances. I write my songs based on my real experiences, and my interactions with others helped me to gain confidence in sharing my ideas.”

Michele Poacelli, Director of the Writing Center and  English Department Head, has been in charge of the Spoken Word for many years. She noted the importance of such an event in the school, saying, “It provides a platform for kids to share their voice and talents. [Spoken Word is] an opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy each other's company in a creative space with great vibes.” 

“Every part of Spoken Word is my favorite part, but if I really had to pick a favorite, it's that I'm always amazed by students' ‘hidden’ talents. I mean, it's not really that they're hidden, but in the day-to-day life of the school, those talents don't always have a chance to show themselves. So I get to see another side of a student's brilliance which always leaves me scratching my head thinking about a kid like Ian Kim, ‘How in the world can he be so good at writing AND be so masterful at guitar? How does he do it?’ There's a special kind of magic that happens at Spoken Word. You just have to be there!” Poacelli said.

Spoken Word is a popular event that is well-attended by students. Brant Warner ‘23 said, “I like seeing the community come together to enjoy some food and company, and my favorite part is when everyone cheers for the performer. It really feels like the community is coming together.” Another audience member, Finia Steeg ‘23 said, “It’s really impressive how talented the students are. Spoken Word is always an exciting and fun event where young artists can present their poems, personal stories, and songs. I love listening to their pieces…I was really impressed by Jasmine’s performance of a Chinese song.” 

Kevin Malo ‘24 said, “I like how it brings a lot of the community together to appreciate art! And there are a lot of tasty snacks so that's a big plus. My favorite part of spoken art was when Gustavo played his guitar. I could tell he was feeling the music, and it made it enjoyable to watch and listen to.” 

Summing up the experience of Spoken Word, Matvey Ivanov ‘23 said, “[Spoken Word] creates a nice open ambiance that allows students to support their peers in the freedom of expression and creative ways whether it be through song, poem, short story or music. Heck, you could even do an interpretive dance!”

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