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From the Desk of Trey Devey: Strength and joy

Passionate young Interlochen artists infuse our lives with creativity, hope, and joy—even as the pandemic continues.

Theatre students strike a pose after the 2021 performance of "Kids Commute Live!"

Theatre students strike a pose at the 2021 performance of "Kids Commute Live."

Dear Friends,

This season in particular, the gratitude I feel for our Interlochen community brings me joy. Our passionate young artists, alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters infuse our lives with creativity, inspiration, and beauty—in spite of hard-to-take headlines and a virus that is proving difficult to vanquish.

This fall our Arts Academy students presented more than three dozen performances and exhibitions as we welcomed our friends and neighbors back to Interlochen, lifting the spirits of our community and those who tuned in from afar. Many of our young artists also took part in our celebration of the completion of the Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan, a major milestone 30 years in the making. Their exhilarating presentations in our state-of-the-art facilities embodied Interlochen’s bright future.

More than two dozen major guest artists graced our campus and mentored our students this fall, including Michigan Opera Theatre artist-in-residence Davóne Tines (IAC 04) and Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director Yuval Sharon; renowned Philadelphia Orchestra tubist Carol Jantsch (IAA 99-02, IAC 94-96, 98-99); jazz vocalist Laurin Talese; author and singer-songwriter Josh Malerman; visual artist A.F. Oehmke (IAA 11-13, IAC 06-11); and choreographer Alfonso Cervera.

In October, hundreds of local children cheered the return of Interlochen Public Radio’s “Kids Commute Live” at Corson Auditorium. Beloved host Kate Botello led a dynamic program featuring our Arts Academy Wind Symphony under the direction of Matthew Schlomer, with special guests from Traverse City East and West Middle Schools.

One Interlochen, our new online alumni community, launched just before Thanksgiving. In less than one month over 600 Arts Camp and Arts Academy alumni joined the digital hub, with over 75% of them volunteering to serve as a mentor for other Interlochen alumni—a remarkable gesture that speaks to the meaningful connections and collaborative spirit in our community. We are deeply proud of the impact our alumni in the arts and beyond. (If you haven’t already, I encourage you to claim your profile and take advantage of this wonderful resource. Reconnect with your cabin and classmates!)

All the while, the excellence of our students and alumni continue to reflect their extraordinary artistry and focus. Twenty-five Arts Academy students from five majors earned recognition in the 2022 YoungArts competition, a prestigious national competition for high school artists. And ten Arts Camp and Arts Academy alumni were nominated for 2022 Grammy Awards in six award categories, spanning pop, jazz, and classical music.

This year in particular, the Arts Academy’s Nutcracker ballet showcases the strength and joy of our community. More than 150 Arts Academy dancers, musicians, actors, and backstage crew from 39 U.S. states and 11 countries collaborated on this year’s production—our first Nutcracker for in-person audiences since 2019. Together, with over two dozen faculty and staff, our young artists brought a wondrous story to life that celebrates the magic of the holidays.

For the second consecutive year, Detroit Public Television will broadcast our Nutcracker ballet, bringing this beloved holiday tradition far and wide. “A Detroit Performs Special Event: Interlochen Arts Academy presents The Nutcracker” will air on DPTV at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 20. The full-length version will be available to watch on on Dec. 21. I hope you’ll tune in!

As you marvel at this extraordinary high school production, please consider making a gift to the Interlochen Annual Fund, which supports the excellence of our programming and provides crucial support for student scholarships at Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy. Students involved in this production of The Nutcracker alone received $5 million dollars collectively in financial aid and scholarships, giving them access to the high-caliber education at Interlochen. With your help, we can build upon our leadership role in arts education as we make the Interlochen experience even more accessible to deserving young artists.

I wish you a restful and restorative holiday season. May the weeks ahead be filled with creativity, joy, and good health.

With gratitude,