What went on at Marist’s Family Weekend?

Marist's Family Weekend Mass on Sunday, September 29 was a great way to end a great weekend.

Marist’s Family Weekend Mass on Sunday, September 29 was a good way to end a great weekend.

Just like years past, 2013’s edition of Family Weekend didn’t seem to disappoint. Filled with fun and exciting activities, this past weekend turned out really well. There were events from Friday to Sunday, ranging from concerts to meals by the river to campus tours and even a mass. Not to mention, the weather was perfect for all of these activities; it’s safe to say that it helped leave a lasting impression on everyone who attended.

Marist’s annual Family Weekend is geared towards parents of freshmen to come to campus to check up on their son or daughter, whom they might not have seen since they kicked them out of the house a little over a month ago. However, families of most students, from freshmen to seniors, attend the festivities to enjoy time with their college student(s).

Friday started out Family Weekend with a bang. The schedule for Friday consisted of two events, a Murder Mystery Dinner and a Music Concert. The Dinner was held in the newly renovated student center, with the actual murder mystery performance taking place in the Nelly Golletti Theater. The event was run by the talented Marist College Club of Theatre Arts (MCCTA), and they were able to successfully bring this “whodunit” to the families who attended. Following the mystery dinner was what many called the main attraction of the Weekend. The Musical Magic Concert as it was called, consisted of the three primary musical groups on campus, the Marist College Band, Chorus, and Orchestra. The event was put together very well despite having limited rehearsal time. For the most part, each group of the Marist Music Department had their own individual songs to play or sing, but there were a few that they combined forces for.

As a member of the band, I know that the three groups hadn’t rehearsed together as a group even once until Friday. It’s safe to say that we were under adversity because we started rehearsal at 5:30 pm and had just over two hours to get everything ready for performance which was at 8:30 pm. I must admit, even I was a little hesitant about this performance because of the small time period to rehearse as one big group; but then again, I’ve done this three different times before this one and the outcome has always been good. Needless to say, when the concert began, everything went as smoothly as anyone could have asked for. When it was time for all three groups to perform as one cohesive unit, they did it pretty effortlessly. I went to the audience for a little Q&A for their opinions on the concert, and I was shocked with some of their answers.

I talked with Marc Maddox, the uncle of a student at Marist College whose name I did not get, and he thought the performance was great. “My mother played the flute in band when she was in school, and I was in awe at all of her performances,” he said. “Seeing this group of college students perform these songs was incredible. If your eyes were closed you probably wouldn’t guess they’re in college.”

Hearing things like that from people I don’t even know makes me even prouder to be a part of this school and the music organization as a whole. The concert was a huge success, but there were still two full days of activities ahead for Marist’s Family Weekend.

Saturday was the day with the most options of things to do. Marist really tried to capture all of the things to do in the Hudson Valley and offer them to families of Marist students. The day started off with Dennis Murray holding a President’s Welcome Breakfast. The event took place in the newly constructed dining hall, and was free of charge. Students and families were able to go inside and take a look at the new design of the cafeteria and see how much it has changed from previous years. Just like a normal breakfast at Marist, food like eggs, potatoes, sausage were served for everyone. However, Marist tried to go above and beyond their usual questionable food. Orange Juice was served in plastic champagne glasses, and the food was served on fancy plates, albeit plastic for easy disposal. Their attempts to make breakfast a little classier were creative and well-received in my opinion. I overheard people asking their children things like “is the food this great all the time,” or “Does everyone always get these fancy glasses?” At the breakfast, Dennis Murray addressed everyone and said, “I want to thank you all for coming this weekend…I hope you enjoy the great weather outside and have a great time with your students…” which is what a usual speech from the President sounds like.

At this point, families had the option to choose from a list of things to do in the nearby Hudson Valley. There were boat trips that would take you along the very scenic Hudson River, and bus trips to the Walking Bridge which is basically a “Walkway over the Hudson.” Both were staple events at this Family Weekend, as well as previous ones. However, there were a few additions to 2013’s list of events, which included a bus trip to Weed Orchards over in Marlboro and a bus trip to the Clinton Winery or Millbrook Winery for wine tastings. All of these events ran through the afternoon, with many bus trips back to Marist in between, in case families wanted to get back to campus to try something else. Families had to fend for themselves and get their own lunch, however they could choose to pay for a meal ticket for Marist’s dining hall if they wanted to eat on campus.

Next on Saturday’s agenda was a carnival of sorts. Marist’s community of clubs held different carnival events for their Country Fair. There was a rock climbing wall, a mechanical bull, and even a few clowns for those who weren’t quite as daring. One of the things that caught my eye at this Fair was the petting zoo. When looking for someone to ask about their thoughts of the zoo, I knew I wanted to talk to a young child who might not get to see or touch these small animals ever. I found a family with a young daughter who was petting the small animals at the zoo and thought they would be happy to talk. The young girl’s name was Jessica, and she told me “I love animals and I want to be an animal doctor when I grow up.” Having aspirations at such a young age is a great thing, even for someone as young as Jessica, who looked to be about six or seven years old.

The next event after the country fair was another murder mystery dinner, similar to the one that took place on Friday, but was intended for those who didn’t get a chance to go the night before. If families didn’t want to go to this performance, they could again choose to fend for themselves and get dinner at one of the various restaurants around Marist College.

Once dinner concluded it was time for the main attraction of the second day of Family Weekend. Marist’s McCann Arena held a concert by Lauren Alaina, the runner-up of American Idol’s 10th season. Marist invited families to “Join us for a night that you’ll never forget,” and they seemed to deliver on that promise. The reviews of the concert were all positive from what I heard, and no one disliked the performance. I talked to a junior at Marist, Marissa Kopelman, to get her reaction on the concert. “I thought she had a really great voice,” she told me, “which is obviously one of the reasons why she made it so far on American Idol.” Overall, the first two days of Marist’s family weekend were great, and there never seemed to be a dull point.

Sunday had a few events but couldn’t compare to the long list of things to do on the previous day. There were boat cruises that went on for most of the morning and early afternoon, and it was a perfect day to go due to the clear sunny day. At 11:00 am in the McCann Arena, a big mass was held for all families that wanted to attend. Brother Frank came onto the stage to introduce the President of Marist, and told all of the parents that they are witnessing one of “Marist’s Miracles.” “Look to you left and right,” he said. “If you see your child awake and showered at 11:00 on a Sunday morning, you are witnessing a miracle.” It may have been a corny joke, but everyone found it funny. Once mass was over, the students and their families were invited to go to the riverfront to attend a Goodbye Barbeque. The meal marked the conclusion of this year’s Family Weekend, and all who came had a great time.

Whether it their first visit to the campus or their tenth, the weekend went so perfectly that there is no reason to believe these families won’t be back again in the near future.

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