William & Mary

Tribe Aid showcases staff and faculty talent

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Staff and faculty members of the College dug deep into their reserves of talent to put on an exciting and moving Tribe Aid benefit at the Kimball Theatre early in November to raise funds for the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. Through a combination of ticket receipts, proceeds from a blind auction, T-shirt sales and outright donations, more than $3,500 was collected to help Katrina victims recover, according to Lisa Grimes, associate director of the Charles Center, the sponsor of the event.

The show featured performances ranging from a subtle rendition of Debussy by classical pianist Christine Niehaus to a gutsy interpretation of the blues by Rob Leventhal. Among those who generated the most interaction from audience members were Mike Ludwick, who created much hand-clapping and footstomping as he sang the Garth Brooks hit “We Shall be Free,” and Tom Linneman, who elicited cries of laughter and feigned sympathy during his deadpan reading of pop-song lyrics he billed as his “most personal poetry.”

Also much appreciated was “The Most Lamentable Comedy and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisby,” performed with verve and bawdiness by a collection of actors representing the College’s program in literary and cultural studies. The death of Pryamus, consisting of over-the-top wailing and gyrating by actor Simon Joyce, was playfully accentuated by the melodramatic grieving on the part of actress Colleen Kennedy.

The event also featured a heartrending performance by Harris Simon, who used a piano and a harmonica to captivate the audience with a version of “Georgia On My Mind.” Toward the end, Ken Reczkiewicz’s alto saxophone performance of “Amazing Grace” left everyone mindful of the New Orleans’ spirit and of the power to overcome adversities.

Clay Clemens, as emcee, kept the performances moving smoothly despite some glitches that would have threatened a show consisting of less dedicated acts.

“There were a lot of interesting things going on backstage,” said Rob Leventhal, who was rescued by Arthur Knight when his vocal microphone became dislodged from its holder in the middle of his performance. “Despite the scrambling, the performers exhibited a lot of esprit de corps,” he said.

Sharon Zuber, who represented moonshine in the Shakepearean skit, said the event was great fun in that “it was live, that people gave their time, that they just got up there on the stage because they had a heart for people who are hurting.”

Said Grimes, “The show was a success, not only because of the performers but because there were a lot of people who put in the time behind the scenes. Backstage the energy was great. Everyone’s attitude was that we’re supporting a great cause and that we’re having fun doing it.”

Photo: Pyramus, played by Simon Joyce, is caught in his death throes. By David Williard.

Make your own contributions to the College’s Project Relief.