Performing artists paid tribute to long standing upper school English teacher and Backdoor Cafe co-founder Mr. Perry Feyk during a virtual Spring Backdoor Cafe. The biannual artistic showcase serves as an opportunity for students and faculty to informally share performance pieces with an audience of their peers.
“Backdoor has been and I hope continues to be a 'safe space' for Benjamin artists to share their work. Personally it is my favorite performance venue: the tone of the room is, ‘Oh, you have something? Cool, let's hear it,’” said Feyk who co-founded the Cafe in 1998.
Feyk remembers the show’s origins in what is now the lower/middle school Fine Arts Building.
“Lynne Feyk taught English up there, and for ‘Backdoor’ we folded up the partition between her classroom and the next and kids came in not through the hall, but through the west-side ‘back door,’ hence the name,” said Feyk.
The venue became a space for student-artists to share their music, poetry, short stories, monologues, drama scenes, dance pieces and more. Feyk’s band PFP was and continues to be the house band and always performed an array of acts.
Feyk remembers one year a student performed a cover of a popular song and became so nervous she forgot the words to the second verse.
“With only the merest of pauses, the crowd, realizing the problem, sang with her until she got it back - that's what it's all about,” he said.
Dr. Lockey, upper school music teacher and Backdoor Cafe co-host said this Spring’s event was a particularly special occasion because it was the last one held by Mr. Feyk, who started the program almost three decades ago.
“Special congrats to you, I hope you will enjoy this particular event, though I suspect it won’t be your last Backdoor Cafe experience ever,” said Lockey in pre-recorded well-wishes.
This Spring’s Cafe concluded with student and alumni tributes to Mr. Feyk, extolling the ways in which he had positively impacted them as both students and musicians.
“As a member of PFP for my senior year in the Variety Show I got to step out of my comfort zone and without your support and encouragement I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” said alumna Kristine Hewitt ‘17. “You have impacted so many students and musicians lives and I’m so thankful to have had you as a teacher.”