Jess Rines – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – High school hangouts typically are the home of smoothies, burgers and top 40 hits. For some Mustangs, however, afterschool activities include a hot cup of tea.

Proving popular with Mustangs of all ages, upperclassmen in particular have grown to appreciate the Sarasota Tea House. While some students visit to play board games or study for tests, the most popular occasion is the Thursday night Open-Mic.

“Everyone is so friendly,” said senior Lauren Parent. A common guest on Open-Mic Thursdays, Parent is one of many Mustang attendees. The coffee shop atmosphere attracts poets, writers and musicians from both local high schools and the Ringling College of Art.

“The performers are typically extremely talented and great at holding conversation. It’s such a wonderful environment to be in,” said Parent.

While Parent prefers to sit back and watch the performances, sophomore Gee Basilone prefers to be in the spotlight. A singer, she insists that the venue is one of the most comfortable places she has ever performed in.

“I can express myself to my greatest ability while still having an amazing time and making new friends with shared interests,” said Basilone.

“The music is always good, and it give musicians like me a chance to work on and receive feedback on our performances.”

The Sarasota Tea House is open daily from 11 a.m. The special Open-Mic event takes place from 7:30 p.m. on Thursday nights, and is always looking for new performers.