Arts Marathon puts the “fun” in fundraising

'Berg student artists gathered together to raise money for the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Center.

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Muhelnberg's Pep band performs at Arts Marathon. Photo by Caden Dowgin '27.

On Oct. 13 at 6 p.m., the Arts Marathon began in Parents Plaza. Arts Marathon is a 12-hour long showcase of Muhlenberg’s artistic talent, during which all proceeds are donated to charity. Around Parents Plaza, student artists were also set up selling painted records, handmade jewelry, stickers, greeting cards and various fiber arts until 8 p.m. Despite the student makers closing up shop, the event was full of excitement at 6 a.m. the next morning as students made and enjoyed art for charity and in dedication to Jimmy Buffet. 

The charity of choice for this year’s Arts Marathon was the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, which was received enthusiastically by the Muhlenberg community. This center, importantly, serves as a safe space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community in the Lehigh Valley. Bradbury-Sullivan hosts community groups and runs programming for LGBTQ+ community, youth, health and research. All of these programs help to affirm LGBTQ+ members and provide the support they need. Attendees were able to make donations throughout the night. 

Since this event wasn’t ticketed, money was raised in other areas and activities, a large portion of the fundraising was done via auction. Many of the groups opened donations that allowed students to donate, and some of the groups who performed incorporated auctionable acts or items into their performances, making the event interactive and engaging. While this is not new for Arts Marathon, many of the campus’ new students had no idea just how interactive the performances would be. Surprised by the first auction, Leila Farzin, ‘27, shared her experience with the show as a whole, stating, “I went to the Arts Marathon originally just to see my roommate and another friend perform. They both did so great and I got to see a lot of other cool acts as well!”

I am so happy to have had the incredible opportunity to perform with my fellow Dynamics in front of such a supportive and enthusiastic audience!”

Nola Thompson ’27

Speaking of those “other cool acts,” the night started with a peppy performance from the Muhlenberg Pep Band, followed by some individual performers and Artist Collective’s (ArtCo) auction. Then, the dance troupes performed. Despite the lack of emergency tapboards, Copacetic Rhythms (Copes), Muhlenberg’s tap dance troupe, adapted to the smaller platform and debuted some new members during their tap routine to “Still Into You” by Paramore. A selection of the Copes’ members even competed in an improv dance battle, where audience members bid to choose the song “Spooky Scary Skeletons” and voted via Venmo for their favorite. The plaza was then awash in a sea of fresh, icy green as hip-hop group MINT* thrilled with a mashup including “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain. The group auctioned off a flash mob, so keep your eyes peeled on campus for impromptu performances!

When it was time for the improv and comedy troupes at roughly 11 p.m., several different spectators appeared– including a very fashionable dog in a festive onesie. Among the comedy groups that performed were Underground Improv Project (UiP), the Muhlenberg Improv Association (MIA), Fun with Science and To Be Determined (TBD). The groups gave the audience plenty of opportunity to get involved in the comedy, with audience members bidding to choose settings, change circumstances and include props. One big ticket item of the night was a cup full of water, which if bought, the performers would have to soak their scene partner with. Hilarity ensued, with fish-men, a British Applebee’s waiter and ghost-hunting worms taking the stage. TBD rounded out the Parents Plaza performances with a rowdy Irish drinking song, auctioned freestyle rap and a final sketch titled “Hey Dude,” a modified version of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” This final piece was tailored to describe the lucky auction winner, Max Gorman ‘26, Arts Marathon Coordinator. 

At midnight, patrons peeled their frozen posteriors from the plaza benches as the show shifted over to the Fireside Lounge for a stacked set of six a cappella performances. CODA, Dynamics, Noteworthy, Acafellas, Chaimonics and InAcchord wowed the crowd with unaccompanied songs. When speaking of her experience as an a cappella performer, Nola Thompson ‘27, stated “I am so happy to have had the incredible opportunity to perform with my fellow Dynamics in front of such a supportive and enthusiastic audience!” “Enthusiastic” is one way to describe the crowd during the a ca-performances, the cheers of “enthusiastic” aca-fans could be heard through all of Seegers. 

As with the comedy groups, the a cappella performances also brought in the big bucks via auction. Perhaps the most coveted item was an Acafella’s signed flannel, which brought in over $80 for Bradbury-Sullivan. Other auctioned items included a mystery bag, a date with a Noteworthy member, beatboxing for a song and a singing valentine’s telegram. One of the most hilarious bids was lyric changes to “Stacy’s Mom,” which resulted in the ‘Fellas singing “Ella’s Dad is really really rad/He’s all I want and I want him so bad/Ella can’t you see you’re just not the one for me/I know it might be bad but I’m in love with Ella’s Dad.” 

“Performing in the Arts Marathon was exhilarating. It was my first time performing this form of improv in front of an audience. They were a good crowd for the first time and [I’m] glad our group was able to raise money for the Bradbury-Sullivan Center. [I’m] definitely excited to participate in it next year!” 

Lillian Palluzzi ’27

The fun continued into the wee hours of the morning, with the Great American Song Project (GASP), a dramatic reading of Jimmy Buffet’s Wikipedia Page, Just Dance, Yoga and a Muhlenberg Theatre Association (MTA) assistant lip sync battle. The final act of the night, really morning, was the Muhlenberg Theatre Association singing Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” solidly tying in with the Jimmy Buffet dedication established earlier in the night. When asked about her impression of the festival, Daniella Zalot ‘27 stated, “I’m so glad we came together to help the community in such a creative way. Arts Marathon really showcases who we are as a school.”

Just like the aforementioned “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” Arts Marathon was definitely “worth every damn bit of sacrifice” from lack of sleep, or at the very least a very irregular sleep schedule. Regarded by audience members as “electric,” Arts Marathon decidedly succeeded in both bringing the Muhlenberg community together and raising money for the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. TBD’s Lillian Palluzzi ‘27 sums up the Marathon, stating, “Performing in the Arts Marathon was exhilarating. It was my first time performing this form of improv in front of an audience. They were a good crowd for the first time and [I’m] glad our group was able to raise money for the Bradbury-Sullivan Center. [I’m] definitely excited to participate in it next year!” 

Arts Marathon ‘23 has raised $850 and is still counting!

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