Up here on the hill, where natural disasters usually take the form of icy roads or bad years for maple syrup, it can be hard to imagine a typhoon flattening communities, killing more than 5,000 people, and leaving another 3 million displaced. Well it hasn’t been hard for a collection of awesome students who have designated this Typhoon Haiyan Awareness Week to help alert their peers to the ongoing plight of Philippine communities. I mean, these students set up a bodacious booth in the dining hall, projecting images of the typhoon’s aftermath, and a silent auction selling donated arts and crafts and services to raise money for aid to the Philippines. But the highlight was last night’s “Benefit Show for the Philippines.”
Seriously, forget about America’s Got Talent, or Britain’s Got Talent, or Australia’s Got Talent, or the ever-popular Vanuatu’s Got Talent. In addition to attracting some of the most intellectually curious people you will find anywhere, Marlboro apparently has way more than its fair share of totally talented students. There was awesome finger-picking and folky crooning of original songs by the likes of Amber Claxton, Sophie Tulip (both pictured above), Sam Bass, and Aidan Keeva. Bella Ortiz-Wren (left) accompanied her songs with a wailing Fender Stratocaster and ankle bells, and Felix Jarrar thoroughly rocked Shubert and Schumann on the piano. Johnathan Banks gave a taste of one of his compositions for minimalistic piano plucking, in the dark, amidst a barrage of machines, voices, plumbing, and other gathered sounds.
The show finished up with Michael Schneeweis and Edward Suprenant (right) doing a cover of Rihanna’s “Stay,” Edward and Mia Bertelli making everyone melt with a duet of James Taylor’s “Close Your Eyes,” and a fabulous fiddle tune by Mia and two friends. I know my mind is easily boggled, but all through the concert I sat in awe of these accomplished poets, scholars, scientists, and existential philosophers, all putting their hearts into their music to raise money for bereaved and displaced people eight thousand miles away. It’s not something you find every day, but here it’s just another indication of how this apparently cozy little college on a hill is intimately connected to the big ol’ world beyond.