MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – On a beautiful spring night, the Mahaney Center for the Arts hosted a party 25 years in the making. A full evening of performances, festive food, and a student-led arts festival on Saturday, May 5, drew more than a thousand people to the closing celebration of the MCA’s 25th anniversary season.

The evening began on the center’s plaza with music from Boston-based Chilean singer/songwriter Loïca and her trio. Students, faculty/staff and their families, and community members listened while snacking on food-truck–themed treats like soft pretzels, tacos, and “mocktails” with fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Great spring weather made the MCA’s backyard the place to be. Attendees explored the public art around the MCA pond, including Robert Indiana’s iconic “LOVE” sculpture and the Roy Lichtenstein-designed boat, Young America. The museum also opened its doors to evening visitors, with special displays by Museum Assistant Program students and the opportunity to handle two-thousand-year-old objects from the teaching collection.

At curtain time, audiences headed inside to enjoy one of three performances at various venues.

In the Dance Theatre, senior dance majors presented “Reimagine What Has Been,” an evening of original choreography and performance by Deborah Leedy ’18, Matea Mills-Andruk ’18, and Asia Myles-Funches ’18.

The Seeler Studio Theatre played host to Fifth Planet, a play by David Auburn about an unlikely pair of star-lovers, presented by seniors Eliza Renner and Connor Wright as their 700-level acting work.

In Robison Hall, Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista led an energy-packed concert by his quartet Banquet of the Spirits, ending in a drumline that marched out the back of the hall and spilled into the lobby. Audience members were ready for a toast with sparkling drinks and snacks provided by the creative culinary artists in Middlebury’s catering department.

Then audiences headed out into the night for Nocturne, a new, student-initiated arts festival. Equipped with maps and flashlights—supplied to all as ‘party favors’—people departed the MCA in search of events ranging from poetry readings to circus arts, art installations, a carillon recital, and even kaleidoscopic projections onto historic Mead Chapel at midnight. Students Miguel Castillo ’18 and Maddie Hampton ’18 organized this first-ever festival with more than 60 events across campus.

Overall, the celebration paid tribute to the work of students, faculty, and staff. Paired with the season opening event with Bandaloop in September, 2017, this party provided a perfect bookend to the 25th anniversary season, with hundreds of arts events in between.