One in Two Thousand: Leo Marburg ’24

Tali Natter

(Tali Natter/The Williams Record)

Each week, the Record (using a script in R) randomly selects a student at the College for our One in Two Thousand feature, excluding current Record board members. This week, Leo Marburg ’24 discussed music directing, shopping for college, and delayering in the winter. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tali Natter (TN): We met because you were music directing a musical that I directed, and since then, you’ve done a lot of music directing. How did you get into music directing and what do you like about it? 

Leo Marburg (LM): The reason I’ve been so into music directing is that I’ve always loved both theatre and music and often do them separately — like acting and then doing music on the side. So I did piano lessons for many years, and then I did choir and a cappella in high school, and I also played trombone, so lots of music stuff. But I realized when I was in shows that I would get pit envy. 

TN: Is that a real thing?

LM: I was talking to a choir director this summer, and they told me about it. It’s when you’re [performing] onstage but you find yourself wishing you were in the orchestra pit. I still love being on stage, so it’s not like that all the time, but I can’t dance at all. I’m really horrible, so sometimes I’m like, “Why am I here when I could be doing that?”

TN: You music direct, and you also mentioned choir, a cappella, and acting. Yesterday, I saw you running across campus carrying your trombone. Can you tell me about all the music you do on campus? 

LM: I really am involved with a lot of music stuff at Williams. I was in jazz band last semester playing trombone, I’m in choir this semester, I take private voice lessons, and I am in GQ a cappella, which is a lot of fun and very different from other things I do. I’m a person who really likes to keep myself busy.  I’m happiest, honestly, when I’m busy, but it’s a matter of making sure that you’re always creating time for yourself. I love a busy day followed by a day that I’m not busy.

TN: You’re also a JA. How does that fit in with all your activities?

LM: I really love being a JA. It’s honestly the most special thing I’ve done here, and I couldn’t be happier that I made that decision. You helped convince me, so I’m really glad that you did. My entry is just so lovely. I really love my cos and I don’t know if we would have met each other otherwise, but we became close friends. My frosh are all just so sweet. They’re all friends with each other. One thing about the work of a JA is that, a lot of the time, the work is just fun, like getting coffee with a frosh doesn’t feel like work because it feels like we’re just friends catching up.

TN: I was asking around about what I should ask you for this interview, and something that was mentioned to me by an undisclosed source was that your mom made you go shopping before you went to college to fix your fashion sense. Care to comment?

LM: Essentially, because I do so many performing arts things, a lot of my T-shirts were of my high school choir or band or stuff like my 2016 production of Beauty and the Beast. And I thought all this stuff was cool, like all my memories. But my mom was like, “Leo, you can’t wear this to college. It’s not cool.” So when I was packing for college, she suggested that I update my wardrobe.

TN: Are there any other things that you thought were cool in high school but don’t think are cool anymore? 

LM: That’s a good question. I mean, I feel like I still do a lot of the same things I did in high school. In middle school, I wore basketball shorts a lot. I used to sag my pants a little bit, but it wasn’t really on purpose. I just forgot to wear belts.

TN: Well, I see right now you’re wearing your entry merch. Do you think that’ll always be cool, or will there be a time where you can’t wear it out in public? 

LM: No, I think it’s really cool. It’s a conversation piece because everyone’s like, “Where’s your grandson? Have you found your grandson?”

TN: What made you guys think of that entry theme?

LM: My co-JA Dani [Sanchez ’24] and I were FaceTiming to decide because our other co was in the middle of the woods. It is super stressful setting on the theme, because you want to do something that’s original and not lazy, but you also want to do something that’s funny that people will know. I literally went to RhymeZone and looked for things that rhyme with one, and I was like, “Grandson rhymes with one.” I initially said it as a joke, but then Dani said, “Where’s my grandson?” and we liked it as a retirement home theme. It was a collaborative effort. I would say the feedback has been positive.

TN: How do you think you’ve changed since freshman year?

LM: I think I’ve grown a lot as a person since freshman year. Honestly, I just did a lot of embarrassing things. One time I remember there were a bunch of wasps. I love animals — I’m vegetarian, and if I ever see a spider in the house, I’ll take it out. I don’t like killing any animal. But I got really annoyed at all the wasps because this was freshman year, we had to eat outside [because of COVID], there was a really bad wasp problem, and I always got lots of syrup for my pancakes that attracted them. So one time I was with my friend Theo [Detweiler ’24], and we just started rapping and killing the wasps. I just remember yelling, “I’m like the wasp-killing king!”

TN: Do you still identify as a wasp-killing king?

LM: No! Speaking of differences from freshman year, I did not know how to dress for the cold. One time I went to the Green River with some friends, it was like 19 degrees, I just wore a hoodie, and I literally started turning blue as we had to turn back. Maybe a goal for senior year is to learn how to de-layer and re-layer quickly, because I feel like I show up to class with all my layers in the winter, and then it’s five minutes into class and I’m still taking off all of my layers. I don’t know how everyone else does it so fast. Maybe it’s just practice.

TN: Maybe someone will write in with some tips. You can make One in Two Thousand your personal advice column. What’s your unix? 

LM: ljm5. 

TN: Email ljm5 with de-layering tips!