Arts Marathon generates record turnout

A Muhlenberg tradition makes a massive impact

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Photo by Carlie Nieman '23 | Inacchord a cappella group performs at Arts Marathon

On Oct. 15, the Muhlenberg Theatre Association (MTA) kicked off Arts Marathon 2021 in the Fireside Lounge. According to Piper Ackerman ‘22, the associate coordinator of the event, Arts Marathon is essentially a talent show of various student performances to raise money and awareness for Pathways Housing Services. Pathways Housing Services is keen to solve the problem of homelessness in the Lehigh Valley; the services include pharmaceutical assistance for qualifying prescriptions, benefit enrollment assistance and day to day needs such as various hygiene products. 

The Arts Marathon wants to give students a platform to express their artistic creativity, especially first-year students and sophomores. “You can do whatever you want; my friend last year did a tutorial,” explained Ackerman. Indeed, the first section of the Marathon is dedicated to allowing students to show their creative talents. The first three hours of the Marathon are exclusively for student-written scripts. 

“My favorite parts of Arts Marathon were singing with my a cappella group, the Chaimonics, and hosting karaoke until 5 a.m.”

-Josh Brog ’22

All six famed Muhlenberg a cappella groups performed with passion from 12:30-1:30 a.m. late Friday night/early Saturday morning. The turnout of this event was unlike most others; Parents Plaza has rarely been more crowded on a Friday night. Students enthusiastically cheered for the performers, and the total number of donations across all of the groups easily surpassed $900 by 1 a.m. The crowd celebrated this landmark and cheered on with more music. Friday night is a long-needed stress reliever for the student body; the event on many levels signals the beginning of a long journey back to normalcy. Events like this strengthen the faith of the student body even though the COVID-19 pandemic is long from over. 

The second day of the event contained script readings during the first half of the program, in a similar fashion to the first day. At 4:45 p.m., “Chicago,” Trina Vega’s one-woman-show from Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” was performed. The student turnout wasn’t as dense as Friday’s, partially due to the rainy weather, but the viewers were intrigued. The entertainment to follow included performances from the Mayhem Step Team, Perkulators, the MINT hip hop team, Copacetic Rhythms jazz team, Zumba and more. The last hour of the Marathon concluded with a humorous staged reading, and the participants were allowed to go onstage and read the writer’s notes out loud if they were willing to make a small donation. The Marathon ended at 7 p.m., and the final donation count was astounding. Arts Marathon raised $1,343, one of the highest fundraising results in the event’s history.

“It feels great to know that we can come together to raise money for a great cause, all while having fun and celebrating each other’s talents.”

-Aileen Bergin ’22

Desmond Reifsnyder ‘22, the Arts Marathon coordinator, regards this year’s Arts Marathon as a tremendous success. He also praised the Muhlenberg Theatre Association (MTA) for its role in this event. Members of the MTA had proactively volunteered to help organise the event, and many stayed for the full duration of the time.

“I believe this is the most we ever made for the Arts Marathon.” Reifsnyder also expressed immense joy for the turnout especially considering the unique circumstances we are in. “It is scary to come back to this sort of event, but I could not be happier with how it went.” 

“My favorite parts of Arts Marathon were singing with my a cappella group, the Chaimonics, and hosting karaoke until 5 a.m.,” said Josh Brog ‘22. “I hope people now associate me as Mr. Karaoke at Muhlenberg.”

Aileen Bergin ‘22 stated, “I was a part of two Arts Marathon performances and had a blast being a part of the event. I think the turnout was the best it’s ever been in my time at Muhlenberg, and it felt so special to get to experience the joy of performing in this way again within our community here. It feels great to know that we can come together to raise money for a great cause, all while having fun and celebrating each other’s talents.”

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