The more, the merrier: sibling groups enjoy Interlochen Arts Camp

For the Besirli, Chen, and Walker families, summer at Interlochen is a family affair.

Besirli family

From left to right: Cagri, Elliott, Ella, Ethan, Evan, Estella, and Sheila Besirli. 

This year, a large number of families sent groups of siblings to Interlochen Arts Camp. What’s it like to attend Interlochen en masse? According to these families, sibling groups at Arts Camp share the fun of summer camp, make memories while traveling together, and enjoy the extra confidence of knowing they’re with family. 

The Besirli family: sharing the joy of Camp with younger siblings
The Besirli family stands out in a crowd. Parents Sheila and Cagri, from Ann Arbor, have five children, and all of them play instruments. Sheila says that the family’s experience last year was so good that she and Cagri wanted all of their children to attend Camp.

“Last year, Elliott and Ella went to Interlochen and had such an amazing time. It was the highlight of their year,” she says. “We wanted all our children to be able to experience Interlochen for themselves, and as it’s always extra fun with siblings around, we thought we’d send them all together!” 

The young Besirli musicians had an exciting summer at Camp. Elliot, who’s 16, plays the cello. This year, he spent time with several friends he met last summer, including one who was a camper and is now a counselor. 

Ella, 14, studied violin at Arts Camp. She made many new friends and is planning to stay in touch with all of her cabin mates. 

Twins Evan and Ethan are 12 and studied violin and cello, respectively. They enjoyed spending time on the water and making s’mores. 

The youngest Besirli, 10-year-old Estella, looks forward to being penpals with several girls from her cabin.  

The Chen family: flying together
“Interlochen is 7,500 miles away from home, but to us, it's worth every effort to send our four children here!”

Those are the words of Annabel Chen, whose family of 6 made the trip from Taiwan to Interlochen Arts Camp this summer. Hugo, 15, studies violin; Mona, 13, studies cello; Henry, 12, studies violin; and Margaux, 9, studies piano. 

According to Annabel, flying was an adventure they wanted to share, as well as a great chance to make memories.

“This year, our whole family flew together because all four kids were going. We wanted to travel together and hug them goodbye before we picked them up six weeks later,”  says Annabel. “It was a lot of work traveling as a group of six, but super fun, too! It’ll be a good memory for our whole family.” 

The Walker family: confidence for younger students
Lisa Walker is a music instructor who has sent many violinists and cellists to Interlochen in years past. This year, she signed up her own children, each of whom received a full scholarship to Camp. 

Luke, 17, studies cello; Jada, 14, and Zara, 12, study violin; and Emma, 9, studies cello and dance. 

“Having their siblings at the same camp gave a boost of confidence to the younger two, who are having their first summer camp experience,” says Lisa. “I have since heard from all four kids and can confirm they are having the time of their lives!”

From sharing the best part of summer to making younger siblings feel more at home, the Besirli, Chen, and Walker families make Interlochen Arts Camp a success for their students. For these arts-loving families, summer is the perfect time to sharpen talents and strengthen sibling bonds. 

Learn more about Interlochen Arts Camp