Family's Love of the Arts Inspires Continued Support

Behind most Interlochen Arts Camp and Arts Academy students is at least one family member who helped make their artistic dreams a reality: the parent who paid for piano lessons, an aunt who sewed dance recital costumes, a grandparent who helped cover tuition bills.

Alumna Kathryn Lambert (IAC 77-80, IAA 80-84) was fortunate to have three people who stood behind her: her mother and father and, after the death of her mother, her stepmother. However, the Lamberts’ support of young artists extended beyond their own family. Long after Kathryn graduated, her father and stepmother, Eugene Lambert and Janet Platt Lambert, remained committed to supporting arts education at Interlochen Center for the Arts. 

Growing up in Washington, D.C., Kathryn’s life was filled with the arts, thanks to her parents. Her mother studied dance and flute at New York City’s High School of Performing Arts and Juilliard. Her father, an attorney specializing in food and drug law, was an avid arts patron.

“Our house was filled with music when I was very young,” Kathryn remembers.

Even when they were out running errands, the radio was tuned to the classical station, and guessing the composer of each piece became a friendly competition between Kathryn and her father. Her father also loved live theater, and Kathryn’s early theatrical memories include everything from community theater at the little playhouse on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, to the Kennedy Center.

With this kind of family, it’s no surprise that her parents suggested she attend National Music Camp as a Junior camper in 1977. Four summers at camp led to four years at Interlochen Arts Academy, where she studied voice, theatre, and creative writing.

“I tried to take advantage of everything Interlochen had to offer,” Kathryn says.

She graduated feeling prepared for college and prepared for life, thanks to the stellar faculty members who served as her role models. Kathryn studied theatre education at Emerson College in Boston and now lives in Peoria, IL, with her husband and 15-year-old son. Her work in  theatre continues at Corn Stock Theatre, where she has directed several shows and co-founded Corn Stock for Kids, a community theatre program for children.

Interlochen is one of the things that keeps Kathryn connected to her father, who passed away earlier this year.

“He really loved the place, and he believed in Interlochen’s mission to teach the arts to young students,” Kathryn says.

Like many parents, he was very supportive during Kathryn’s years on campus, even serving as president of the parents’ association. But Eugene Lambert’s commitment to Interlochen continued beyond his parental duties: he remained a generous donor for the rest of his life.

Kathryn says that her father’s support of Interlochen was rooted in his belief that the arts make a difference in people’s lives, just as they made a difference in his life and in Kathryn’s life. He never played an instrument or performed on stage, but the arts were one of his passions.

“He believed that even if you don’t end up in the arts professionally, having a strong foundation in the arts enhances your life.”

Through the support of Eugene Lambert and many other parents and family members, Interlochen continues to provide that foundation for thousands of young artists each year.