From the Desk of Trey Devey: A glimpse into the upcoming school year

President Devey previews the highlights of the 2023-24 academic year—from world-premiere performances and a groundbreaking film collaboration to a new IPR recording project and online classes for adult learners.

The 2023-24 Interlochen Arts Academy student body

The 2023-24 Interlochen Arts Academy student body poses for a photo in The Interlochen Bowl.

The fall colors are beginning to show through the trees, apple cider is on the menu at the Melody Freeze, and the Concourse is once again filled with the sounds of young artists hailing from 27 countries and 45 US states and territories who have united through their shared love of the arts. The start of an Academy year is a special time indeed; and this year, there is much to look forward to.

This May, we will culminate the three-year exploration of the music and art of the African Diaspora with the world premiere of the opera Edmonia by award-winning composer Dr. Bill Banfield. The opera celebrates Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), the acclaimed Black and Native American 19th-century sculptor. This interdisciplinary performance will be open to every arts major and will feature alumnus and Grammy Award-winning Broadway performer Sydney James Harcourt (AS 94, IAA 94-97). Dr. Banfield will be a visiting guest artist throughout the year. He will be joined in working with our students by Grammy Award-nominated jazz pianist and R&B singer Patrice Rushen. I highly recommend you reserve your tickets now for the May 3-5 performances.

We are also beginning a three-year project in collaboration with Greenacres Foundation to produce a new film showcasing the power of regenerative farming practices and its connection with human nutrition and the environment. In addition to the work that will be done by our Film & New Media Division, students also have the opportunity to enroll in a new hands-on science class utilizing our on-campus organic farm and the R.B. Annis Botanical Lab. The class, titled Biology: Regenerative Agriculture, will explore the power of regenerative agriculture through the lens of documentary film study.

In further environmental news, Interlochen Public Radio has launched a new partnership with Grist, a national leader in environmental reporting, which includes the placement of reporter Izzy Ross at IPR to cover climate solutions. Interlochen Public Radio will also be bringing alumni back to campus to record albums and perform in our regional community. Up to three recording projects may begin this year, starting with the Kodan Quintet in November. Based in Houston, the quintet is an internationally performing wind group that features three Interlochen alumni. They will be recording works of Victoria Bond and William Grant Still.

A new performance series will provide our students with regional touring opportunities and give our local community even more exposure to the amazing talents of our students and faculty. Interlochen in Town will stage events at the City Opera House and The Alluvion throughout the year. (Again, tickets are available for all of these performances.)

Our students will have the opportunity to take master classes with several other high-profile guest artists, including Nathan Gunn and Imani Winds. The Academy Orchestra will premiere a new work by Mary Watkins, the Dance Division will stage The Sleeping Beauty in collaboration with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and so much more. Through a partnership with DPTV, some of these performances will gain a wider audience on public television.

This fall, Interlochen Online is welcoming adult learners, offering opportunities for artists of all ages to boost their creativity. As our online offerings continue to grow, we are committed to being a resource for our alumni, providing professional development opportunities for them in areas where they would like to expand and strengthen their skill sets. The next session begins Oct. 23, 2023.

As the curtain rises on a year of inspiration and growth, we invite you to share in the magic that is Interlochen. Please plan to join us in witnessing the convergence of talent and passion, whether in-person, over the airwaves, or online. It’s going to be an incredible year!

With anticipation and gratitude,

Trey Devey signature
Trey Devey