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From the Desk of Trey Devey: Finishing strong

As this remarkable Academy year draws to a close, we celebrate the extraordinary resilience of the Interlochen community and our bright future.

The Popular Music Ensemble in Corson Auditorium

The Popular Music Ensemble performs in Corson Auditorium. 

Dear Friends,

In less than one week, Festival kicks off with three whirlwind days of performances and presentations. A cherished Interlochen Arts Academy tradition, this end-of-year showcase brings together students from all seven of our arts disciplines in an exuberant display of creativity. Thanks to live webcasts produced by our Interlochen Presents team, we invite our alumni and friends around the world to join us virtually for this milestone occasion.

This year, Festival carries special significance as we celebrate our community’s extraordinary resilience amid the greatest public health crisis of our time. Over the course of this remarkable Academy year, our students, faculty, and staff persevered through challenging circumstances with uncommon resolve, reaching new heights of creativity and collaboration.

Hard-earned successes abound across Interlochen. From pulling together a fully staged production of The Nutcracker three weeks ahead of schedule for a broadcast on Detroit Public Television, to introducing The Little Prince in operatic form to Kids Commute’s young listeners virtually, our Academy students transformed their passion into purpose with laser-sharp focus.

Next Saturday, we will celebrate our 232 graduating seniors and post-graduate students. Two of them, poet Madelyn Dietz and singer-songwriter Calvin Hinds, were named 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts—the first time since 2005 that two Academy students were selected in one year. Thirteen Academy students won 18 2021 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, nearly 50 students received honors from the National YoungArts Foundation, and one student was named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. As always, our emerging creative changemakers are bound for some of the best colleges and conservatories in the world.

New initiatives took root this year, blazing forward through the pandemic’s darkest days. Interlochen Online launched new virtual programs, including popular college admission bootcamps, a Master Class Saturday Series, and expanded summer offerings. Classical IPR’s Gameplay, a show exploring videogame music that launched just last year, was picked up by public radio stations in Rochester, New York, and Toledo, Ohio. Interlochen College of Creative Arts, our convener for lifelong learning, successfully led its first virtual courses and recently announced a robust lineup of in-person summer programs.

With the first major redesign of Interlochen’s website in nearly a decade, we’ve opened our digital front door to the world through immersive multimedia storytelling and a vibrant, accessible interface.

At the same time, our campus edges closer to an historic milestone. The opening of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House this fall, closely following the completion of our state-of-the-art lakeside Dance Center and the first dedicated rehearsal and performance space for Interdisciplinary Arts, will mark the realization of a campus master plan that has guided 17 major campus improvement projects over the past 30 years.

We also took critical steps this year to foster a culture of belonging and achieve the goals of our Board of Trustees’ DEI Task Force, including the completion of bias training by all our hiring managers and the appointment of Esther Triggs as Associate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, among many other action items.

All the while, we conducted over 17,000 COVID-19 tests, with a .3% positivity rate. Thanks to a joint effort with the Grand Traverse County Health Department, nearly all of our Academy students ages 16 and up are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I am grateful to our dedicated faculty and staff for going to exceptional lengths to coordinate this momentous undertaking, and for keeping our campus community safe, healthy, and connected.

The success of this academic year fills me with excitement and anticipation for our 94th season of Interlochen Arts Camp. With proven protocols in place, we will welcome campers back to Interlochen and provide a safe and deeply enriching environment in which to learn and thrive.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the strength our Interlochen community has shown this year than by cheering our students on at Festival. I hope you’ll join us virtually at live.interlochen.org. Together, let’s revel in our shared passion for the arts, and in the young Interlochen artists who create hope, inspiration, and joy.

With best wishes,

Trey Devey, President