The rosewood marimba, with its gleaming brass pipes, came to southwest Kansas 70 years ago on the train from Chicago, and stopped in Kismet.
That’s where Beverly Malin’s father purchased it for his daughter.
“My daddy bought it for me when I was just a freshman,” she recalled, “and I’ve been hauling it around ever since.” Malin played the marimba as a student at Liberal High School, then took it along to Southwestern College in Winfield.
“By the grace of God, I didn’t lose it when Richardson Hall burned,” she said.
The marimba followed Malin to three churches: Cornerstone in Tyrone, Okla., and Trinity Faith, First United Methodist Church, and Risen Glory Church of Liberal.
The marimba finally came to a full stop in a permanent place in late May. Malin and husband John arranged for the eight-foot-long instrument to be delivered to the music department at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School.
That’s where she intends for it to stay.
As she said goodbye to a lifelong friend, Malin moved briskly through the task at hand with a smile on her face.
“Just look for the numbers on the pieces,” Malin said to SCCC/ATS instrumental music instructor Darin Workman as the pair assembled the marimba. Trapezoid-shaped wooden cases crowded the floor of the band room.
“These are the original packing crates,” she said, “and everything is right there.”
Malin’s father paid $500 for the marimba. Today, Workman estimates, an instrument this well-made would cost more than $10,000 at least.
“This is a wonderful instrument, and I’m just so excited to finally have one,” he said. Then, “I think we need to turn this piece around.”
As Malin offered assembly tips, her husband watched from across the room, glad to take on the role of observer after years of lifting and carrying the cases.
“That marimba and I really got to be friends,” he observed wryly. “If you wanted Beverly, you had to take the marimba, too.”
The Malins donated the marimba to the college through the SCCC/ATS Foundation, which provides information and practical help for those who want to pass along resources in support of education. To learn more about ways to give, contact Director of Development Tammy Doll at 620-417-1131.