Our 85th Camp summer has passed, and as we welcomed more than 500 Academy students, the theme of Mr. Kimpton's message was "Legacy." So let’s consider some elements that have played a role in defining our goals and inspiring us to make our Interlochen dreams become realities.
100 years ago
After joining the Minneapolis Symphony at age 18 and playing five seasons there, Joe Maddy was restless and tired of being passed over for promotion. Seeking greener pastures, he accepted an offer to join a newly formed orchestra in St. Paul for the fall of 1914. This venture promptly failed and Joe managed to survive for the next five years through a series of teaching and performing jobs in his native Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Texas and Illinois. Chicago eventually offered the opportunities to do all the performing he could handle, whether in opera and theater orchestras or jazz bands for private parties. In both his playing and teaching, he became ever more determined to vindicate his belief that skill, not seniority should be the basis for promotion.
75 years ago
After only six years of high school teaching in Rochester (N.Y.) and Richmond, Indiana, Joe was hired to head the music education program at the University of Michigan. Almost immediately he was persuaded to organize what became a series of “National High School Orchestras” to perform at annual educators meetings. The National Music Camp was born of his resolve to reach higher quality by working together for an entire summer instead of only a few days during the school year. In 1938, the Camp began to establish formal programs in radio drama, visual arts, theatre, and dance and the University Division students began to provide both a more mature level of performance and a dependable force of enthusiastic workers and future educators.
50 Years ago
For much of the world, prosperity had displaced the years of economic depression and war. As Joe Maddy watched the Camp’s long-term debts dissolve he renewed his dreams to create a fresh educational model and to share it with the rest of the world. By 1963 Interlochen Public Radio had emerged and the Interlochen Arts Festival was on the horizon. By 1968, the Academy began its seventh year well-rooted if not “world-traveled.” We’d given an astonishing number of performances in neighboring states plus Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York City, Ontario and Quebec.
25 Years ago
Camp and Academy reached the ages of 60 and 25, respectively, Interlochen Public Radio became a valuable conduit not only to our immediate neighbors but also to the world beyond, and Creative Writers had established a new arts major that would produce more than one-third of our forty-two Presidential Scholars. The hope to reach our adult community that had been kicked around almost as long as those world tours has a new identity in our Adult Arts Programs. We have been left a powerful legacy; now it’s time to turn around and consider what legacy we will leave in our wake.
Here’s a little light-hearted puzzler for you to consider in the meantime: the 1930 National High School Orchestra played for President Hoover and posed for a photograph with him; President Kennedy introduced the 1962 Camp orchestra concert on the White House lawn. What other U.S. presidents have touched Interlochen even if only very slightly?