One of the most exciting things about Midd is a chance to be in a community small enough that everyone gets the opportunity to showcase their talents and get a good audience. One of the truly amazing things is how many of these little showcases are put on in any given week–any particular span of 7 days here often includes an a capella concert, a play, a senior piano recital, and a tapdancing performace, just to use this week as an example.
Plays at Middlebury are some of the most heavily attended of these events. There is something at the same time alluring and alarming about seeing friends and acquantainces up on stage, with deep make-up induced wrinkles and in period costume, enduring struggles and triumphs that you know are very different from those that they undergo on a regular basis.
The threatre department at Midd is a tight-knit, friendly place, with many of the same actors playing lead and bit roles during the same semester in everything from Shakespeare to Howard Barker. Barker was, in fact, the playwright of the most recent piece that I attended. Directed by Richard Romagnoli, “The Castle” was true masterpiece of feminist thought, betrayals in love, and questions of punishment and hierarchy. It is a simultaneously dark and comedic play, and seeing the war-torn, ragged students on stage (the main character at some times strapped to the body of her murder victim) was unsettling.
At the same time, it showed the incredible power of the student body to put aside all of their papers, readings, meetings, and cares to submerge themselves into the arts, both as performers and observers. Yes, at this frantic time of year going to see a play is partially escapist, but it is also a way to get to know a whole other side of the everyday life of a small select group of Midd theatre kids.
Speaking of concerts… I always get the question from prospective students, “What do you guys do for fun here?” And I get it. The idea of a college in a small town in Vermont does not sound like the most “happening” place in the world and initially looking at colleges, I was worried about the same thing. I had friends who had already committed to schools in the city because there would be “so much to do all the time.” However, I distinctly remember a current student telling me during my preview days, “Yeah, the great thing about Middlebury is that either the school brings cool things here or the students make cool things happen.” And the thing is… she was totally right.
Another thing I have loved about being on this campus is how much is always going on here because of a few things:
1. 98% of students live on campus so everything is happening right here
2. This is a student body that is constantly creating events with such innovation and drive
3. The school is always in support of these student initiatives. If you have a speaker, band, performing artist, comedian (you name it) that you want to bring to campus, with a little bit of organization, it isn’t that difficult to make it happen.
The beginning of this semester totally showcased this point. In one weekend, we had WRMC (student radio station on campus)’s spring music festival Sepomana, which brought rocking indie bands like Baths, Delicate Steve, and Rubblebucket. The next night, a benefit concert was thrown with Middlebury’s very own Alpen Glow opening for Anya Marina while at the Hepburn Zoo, an improv group brought PULSE, a 10-Person percussion group to perform. After this, one house hosted a 1950’s high school dance with a student band playing live. Whoo.
And best thing about it, rather than some concert in a city, I get to be dancing with all my friends throughout.
Alpenglow In Studio from WRMC 91.1FM on Vimeo.
So, after 5 straight days of sunshine, it is official. Spring is here. Now, I know… this should have been the case 2 months ago, but you never want to get your hopes up when a sunny day comes up in the middle of April. The next day could easily be rainy (maybe even snowy…) but! now. Without a doubt. It is here. And boy, is the campus celebrating.
Last Saturday, 4 different houses all along Rt. 30 (mine included) joined together to throw a huge roast and outdoor concert in the middle of the day. That morning, I had gone off campus to pick up a friend from Burlington and got back on campus around 3 PM. I knew that by this point, the concert should be going on, but I did not expect to see about 300 people out on the green playing lawn games and dancing to a set of 5 different student bands. At that point, the pig (which came from a farm just around the corner!) had already been eaten, but the music went on until 6 PM.
I think something I have really enjoyed about my last 4 years here is the amount of enthusiasm people have for the weather. In the fall, people fall in LOVE with the foliage – in the winter, people are screaming as they run out into the snow, and just when it starts to warm up, frisbees are out and people are laying out in the sun (and don’t get me started about summers in Vermont).
That excitement is contagious, it gets 300 people out on a lawn throwing frisbees, kicking hacky sacks, and dancing to some pretty rockin’ student bands.