Motifs: May 2023

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Kenneth Lowenberg (IAC St 60-61) was commissioned to compose an anthem for chorus and pipe organ to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Chevy Chase Concerts, the monthly concert series of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C. The piece received its premiere performance Dec. 18, 2022, and a second performance Feb. 12, 2023, at the same venue. The text selected is from Isaiah 58, written thousands of years ago, but just as powerful and relevant in today’s world.

Janet Eilber (IAC/NMC 62-64, 66-68; IAA 64-69; IAC Fac 70, 72; Emeritus Trustee) received an honorary doctorate from The Juilliard School during the institution’s 118th commencement ceremony on May 19.

Wendell B. Harris, Jr. (IAA 69-72, IAC/NMC 68, UNIV 72) wrote, directed, and starred in the 1989 film Chameleon Street, which was included in The New Yorker's recent list of the best independent films of the 20th century. The film received the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 1990.

Laurel “Lolly” Gillen (IAA 70-72) was inducted into the Canadian Squash Hall of Fame on May 13. Gillen, who has been involved with the sport for 30 years as a player and volunteer, currently serves as the Secretary-General of the Federacion Panamericana de Squash.

Betsy Aidem (IAC/NMC 73) and Sarah Killough (IAA 04-06) are currently starring in Tom Stoppard’s critically acclaimed Olivier Award-winning play Leopoldstadt at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. Aidem appears as “Grandma Emilia,” the mother of Killough’s character, “Eva.”

Bill Ritchie (UNIV 76; IAC St 76-77, 82), Assistant Principal Bass of the Omaha Symphony, will retire in June after serving in this position for the past forty years. Richie is a former member of the Florida Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, South Bend Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, and served as Principal Bass of the Southwest Michigan Symphony from 1977 to 1981.

Elizabeth Marvel (IAC/NMC 82-83, IAA 83-87) will appear as “Miss Millie” in Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg’s movie musical revival of The Color Purple. The film—which stars American Idol winner Fantasia, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, and H.E.R.—will premiere on Dec. 25, 2023.

Jennifer Ehle (IAA 85-87) recently appeared as “Rebecca” in the Amazon series Dead Ringers and “Sister Mary” in Paramount’s 1923. Ehle was featured in the May 2 edition of Vanity Fair’s “Always Great,” an insider awards column about Hollywood’s greatest undersung actors.

Jennie Oh Brown (IAC/NMC 86, IAA 86-87) was recently announced as the next executive director of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO). One of the nation’s premier youth orchestra programs, CYSO was founded in 1946 to provide music education and instrumental training of the highest quality. Brown began her new position on May 22, 2023.

Aaron Dworkin (IAA 86-88) published his sixth book, The Poetjournalist, on May 2. The book is already the number-one bestselling African American poetry book on Amazon.

Dworkin, along with alumna Cecilia Muñoz (AS 75-77, IAC/NMC 79), was also elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dworkin and Muñoz join a class of 270 accomplished new members that includes conductor Gustavo Dudamel; songwriter, actor, and producer Lin-Manuel Miranda; director and producer Shonda Rhimes; and actress Michelle Yeoh.

Damian Kulash (IAC/NMC 87-89, 91-92) co-directed the forthcoming comedy The Beanie Bubble, which will be available to stream on Apple TV+ on July 28. The film, which is inspired by true events and based on Zac Bissonnette’s 2015 novel The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, stars Elizabeth Banks and Zach Galifianakis. Kulash also co-wrote the film’s score.

Sui Chung (IAA 88-91) will receive the Elisabeth S. “Lisa” Brodyaga Award from the National Immigration Project on June 21. The award, presented annually at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Annual Conference, honors a member of the National Immigration Project who has made outstanding contributions to the cause of immigrant justice. Chung is an immigrant rights attorney in Miami, Florida.

Samuel Caviezel (IAA 91-92) recently celebrated 25 years with the Philadelphia Orchestra. The associate principal clarinetist was recognized during the ensemble’s May 13 concert in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Arts.

Alfred Martin (IAA 91-93) will release a collection of essays, Rolling: Blackness and Mediated Comedy, through Indiana University Press in spring 2024. He currently serves as Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Miami.

Maya Erskine (IAC 98, 02) will voice the titular character in Netflix’s forthcoming animated action adventure series Blue Eye Samurai. The series, which follows a mixed-race samurai in Edo-period Japan, also features the voice talents of notable actors including George Takei, Brenda Song, and Kenneth Branagh.

Santino Fontana (IAC 99) starred as “Eliot” in J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company’s off-Broadway revival of The Goodbye Girl. The musical is adapted from Neil Simon’s 1977 comedy of the same name.

Andrew Bruhn (IAC 99-03) received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May 2023. He has accepted a full-time, tenure track position as Director of Choral Activities at Illinois State University.

RJ Magee (IAC 02-05, IAA 06-08) earned his MFA in Theatre Arts (with a musical theatre concentration) from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His thesis, titled Clowns, Fools, and Killers: An Exploration of Horror, Comedy, and Madness Through The Roles of Murderer 2 and Sir Richard Ratcliffe in Shakespeare's Richard III, is currently available via the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database.

Shelby Acosta (IAA 08-11) portrays “Charles Thompson” in the national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical 1776. The musical, which is directed by Diane Paulus (IAC/NMC 75-78), offers a fresh perspective on the nation’s founding by casting only female, non-binary, and transgender actors.

Jherrard Hardeman (IAC 12-13, IAC St 18-19, 21) was recently appointed the Assistant Conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In this role, Hardeman will serve as the Music Director of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and will lead the OrKIDStra family series and education concerts at Kodak Hall.

Shane Bagwell (IAA 15-17) served as the Director of Photography for the video announcement of Aerosmith’s Peace Out farewell tour. Bagwell recently returned to Interlochen as the Director of Photography for “Jedo’s Dead,” the inaugural production of the Interlochen Cinema Collective.

Jonathan Bass (IAC 18, IAA 18-19) recently placed first in the National Federation of Music Clubs' biennial college piano competition, a competition that draws submissions from all over the U.S. He is currently a student at Lawrence University.

Nicholas Dauerer (IAC 19) was recently selected as a 2023 Presser Undergraduate Scholar. A junior music performance major at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dauerer will receive a generous stipend to continue his musical studies. The Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award was established by the Presser Foundation; undergraduate schools of music at accredited colleges and universities are invited to apply for the opportunity to present the award to an outstanding music student whom they select.

Kiara Lin (IAA 19-20) is currently working on an animated comedy-fantasy short, “Snow Day,” as part of her senior thesis. The film, which stars professional voice actors Maile Flanagan (Naruto), Jennifer Paz (Steven Universe), Shelby Rabara (Steven Universe), and Jonathan Freeman (Aladdin), follows the adventures of an eight-and-a-half-year-old girl who summons a weather-changing demon to make it snow. Fellow Interlochen alumni Charlie Rice (IAA 19-20) and Lydia Elliott (IAC 18, IAA 18-21) are also among the film’s collaborators. Learn more about “Snow Day” and how you can support the project by visiting the film’s Instagram profile or Indiegogo page.

Maggie Carter (IAC 21) was recently selected as the winner of the Jane Little Scholarship from the International Society of Bassists. The $10,000 scholarship is awarded to a female double bass student entering college as a freshman. Carter will continue her studies at Curtis Institute of Music this fall.