Interlochen Presents 50 Years

Crescendo issue: May 2014
Betty Who has come full circle.

"It’s super exciting to come back because I grew up so much at Interlochen and found so much of myself on that campus," says Ms. Who. 

Interlochen alumna Betty Who makes her return to Interlochen on June 23 for a performance at Corson Auditorium as part of Interlochen's 50th year of Presents. Her art is described as blending indie and pop music into an irresistible mix of bold soundscapes, Top 40 hooks and knowing lyrics. Her recent debut EP, "The Movement," was welcomed with rave reviews, including being crowned "Best EP of 2013" by both Billboard Magazine and Popjustice and named "This Year's Major One To Watch" by MTV Buzzworthy. Idolator recently called her the "next great pop star." She's really taking the world by storm. But, here at Interlochen, none of this success is a huge surprise. The fiercely independent Who made quite an impact during her time studying at Interlochen - and the experience also made a lasting impression on Who. 

"From Interlochen, I learned that people are going to be who they are no matter what, and you have to learn how to love without judgment and with compassion always," says Who. She considers that message one that permeates the arts and is thankful to have had that message reinforced and solidified here at Interlochen.

Betty's young career has been a whilrwind of successes and bucket list items checked off.

"Playing sold out shows in some of the venues on this Slow Dancing Tour has been pretty incredible," says Who. "Notably the Troubadour – playing there was especially incredible."

Who joins the likes of Sheryl Crow, Joshua Bell, Nickel Creek, Bonnie Raitt, Darius Rucker, Rioult Dance, Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Ray LaMontagne, Buddy Guy and many others during this summer's 50th Presents' season.

"Interlochen Center for the Arts has been presenting remarkable summer Arts Festival performances for the past 50 years," says Presents Executive Director Chris Gruits. "From acclaimed composer/conductor Aaron Copland and the legendary pianist Van Cliburn, to Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin and alumnus Josh Groban – world class guest artists have helped create a distinctive magic found nowhere else."

"And this year, our golden anniversary summer, is no different," Gruits continued. "Our lineup includes up-and-coming pop stars, groundbreaking dancers, legendary virtuosos, award-winning singer-songwriters, country superstars, rock-n-roll greats, international jazz artists, creative student performances and more. The World Youth Symphony Orchestra offers a season filled with renowned conductors and internationally acclaimed classical soloists, plus special Interlochen Arts Festival 50th Anniversary concerts. We also present our seventh annual Shakespeare Festival with a new production of 'The Tempest.'"

Many of the past 50 years have seen returning alumni bringing their talents, and successes, to the stages at Interlochen. For those students that hope to some day return to an Interlochen stage, Betty Who offers this bit of advice.

"Definitely spend the time figuring out who you are and exactly what you want," she says. "That way, when there are 100,000 people giving you their opinion, you will have a really solid idea of what to take in and what to pass over."