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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
An estimated two billion birthday cards are sent each year, Dr. Thea Iberall shared in between open microphone performers. Although there were no birthday cards in sight, dozens of members of the community joined Thea to celebrate Expresso Yourself Coffehouse’s second birthday.
Expresso Yourself is an open mic night, which meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Saturday of the month at Medfield’s First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. All are invited to join and share their poetry, stories, and music, or simply enjoy the performances.
Thea, who ran a spoken word venue in California, felt inspired to start one in Medfield when she moved to the area. When she approached First Parish UU with the idea, the church viewed it as a fantastic way to bring the community together.
“It took some planning and organizing and finding the people that could help, and we were able to start February of 2016,” Thea said. “We have regulars and we have first-time people coming; we really encourage teenagers to come participate.”
After singing “Happy Birthday” and presenting a cake for Expresso Yourself’s visitors to enjoy, Thea introduced the first performer: a regular singer at the event, who dedicated a song to a friend preparing for open-heart surgery.
The Coffeehouse also featured the poetry of several community members. While some speakers, including a teenager from the Montrose School, shared intimate feelings through their poetry, another presented a poem about roast beef.
Each month, Expresso Yourself Coffeehouse features a different theme, with February’s appropriately being “Milestones.” Sticking to that theme, two regulars shared stories – one about her fortieth birthday, and another about the loss of her mother as a baby.
Each month, the audience can also expect feature performers. In previous months, storytellers, singers, and slam poets shared their work with the community. To help celebrate the second birthday, singer/songwriter Cheryl "Melody" Baskin, slam poet Amy Mevorach, and singer/songwriter Jacob Haller gave unique performances that were all well received by the audience.
But before inviting former features to the microphone, Thea shared one of her milestones with the story of opening her heart and meeting her partner of 12 years.
“We really want this to be a community event and have a place to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and to really make it a nice, open forum in terms of spoken word, poetry, and music,” said Thea, with the hope of seeing more members of the community join on March 31 to appreciate the art of poetry, storytelling, and music.