Recent alumni successes, guest artist performances, and student projects exemplify the boundary-crossing collaborations and multidisciplinary perspective fostered at Interlochen.
Instructor of Voice Doug Peck (left) accompanies a student performer during the musical cabaret If on a winter's night a traveler.
You may have heard that Interlochen Arts Academy alum César Alvarez recently received the Kleban Prize for Musical Theatre, a prestigious award that honors an outstanding lyricist. In learning about César’s career, I’m struck by the central role of collaboration. A self-described “communitarian artist,” César—who studied saxophone at Interlochen—frequently collaborates with other artists, including their partner, visual artist and sculptor Emily Orling, and composer and fellow Dartmouth College professor and Interlochen alum Ash Fure.
I often hear from alumni that the creative collaborations they pursued at Interlochen set them on enriching new paths—and serve as lifelong sources of inspiration. Guidance and support from seasoned mentors strengthened their confidence at a formative time, while immersion in a multidisciplinary artistic community broadened their perspective: It’s a powerful combination that makes Interlochen a wellspring for creative capacity.
This semester at Interlochen Arts Academy, distinguished guest artists continue our tradition of mentorship. Seasoned cinematographer and Academy alumnus Mike Gioulakis, for example, worked closely with Film & New Media students, leading a two-day master class, lighting demo, and blocking “ride along.” Over in Harvey, many of our theatre students have been workshopping an original performance piece with actor and playwright Morgan Breon. Under her guidance, students will draw on their personal narratives to present The Prōcess this Friday and Saturday, as they recently discussed in this 9&10 News segment.
Several upcoming guest artists exemplify the boundary-crossing collaborations that Interlochen fosters. In April, renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine joins our Academy Orchestra as the soloist for Violin Concerto No. 2 by Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and composer Billy Childs—an exciting new work we co-commissioned. The following week, Billy Childs takes center stage again when he joins the acclaimed Ying Quartet and jazz singer Laurin Talese for another multigenre performance.
All the while, our students and faculty take part in multidisciplinary collaborations that energize and enrich our entire Interlochen community. On Feb. 27, for example, Instructor of Voice Doug Peck performed with and led musical theatre, classical music, and singer-songwriter students in an evening of musical cabaret—produced by theatre design & production students under the direction of faculty member Stephen John. Spoken-word selections from Italo Calvino’s 1979 novel, If on a winter's night a traveler, served as connective tissue between musical numbers.
For any career path, interdisciplinary perspective and the capacity to collaborate with diverse peers will open doors to breakthrough ideas. I’m reminded of Arts Academy alumna Holly Gilbert (IAA 86-88), the director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s High Altitude Observatory, who studied cello at Interlochen. “Being embedded with incredibly creative people at Interlochen has given me a unique perspective in attacking science,” she said. “I consult with others, preferably a diverse group of scientists, to develop potential solutions. Often, one solution is not obvious—nor is it the only approach.”
Alvarez, the Kleban Prize winner, also credits Interlochen for its formative focus on collaboration: “Interlochen Arts Academy had a tremendous impact on my development as an artist,” they said. “I started a 16-piece salsa band during my time at the Arts Academy. That ensemble was very good practice for the type of collective music making that has become the backbone of my professional work. Even though I didn’t start writing songs until college… so much of the groundwork for my life as a composer and band leader was laid at Interlochen.”
I hope that the convergence of the arts at Interlochen broadens your perspectives and provides inspiration for decades to come.
With best wishes,
Passionate young Interlochen artists infuse our lives with creativity, hope, and joy—even as the pandemic continues.
Theatre students strike a pose at the 2021 performance of "Kids Commute Live."
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.
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 interlochen.org 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.
Anticipation and excitement for myriad new beginnings invigorate our community this fall.
There’s a palpable undercurrent of potential that permeates Interlochen each fall. This year in particular, anticipation and excitement for myriad new beginnings invigorates our community.
Against a backdrop of blue sky and green leaves primed to light up our campus with fall colors, 559 young artists from 24 countries recently kicked off our fall semester. Returning international students, many of whom took part in Academy classes virtually last year due to the pandemic, inspire joy and gratitude for our global community and the diverse perspectives that define the Interlochen experience.
We begin this Academy year on the heels of a glorious 94th season of Interlochen Arts Camp, where our students, staff, and faculty proved once again that COVID-era health-and-safety protocols are no match for creativity and connection. Among countless highlights, Interlochen was officially inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and the New York Times showcased our students in an interactive feature.
Our Arts Camp community saw zero cases of COVID-19, and this fall, more than 95% of our population is fully vaccinated against the virus—a remarkable public health feat that sets us apart from most educational institutions. We continue to monitor the Delta-driven COVID surge closely and to update our policies to prioritize the health and safety of our community.
New beginnings abound across our institution, from Interlochen Online’s newly announced fall programs to the return of Interlochen Public Radio’s award-winning program Kids Commute, now introducing even more young people to classical music with weekday broadcasts at both 7:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. (or online on demand). Additionally, the fourth season of TheInterlochen Collection returns with stories from our history, updates from notable alumni and, of course, beautiful music by Arts Camp and Academy students and faculty.
Among many exciting events and performances this fall, a major institutional milestone will signal Interlochen’s bright future. Seventy-two of our Academy students now reside in the newly opened Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House, a convertible residence hall with visiting artist suites and sweeping views of Green Lake—marking the completion of a campus master plan that began over 30 years ago.
The 1990 Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan ultimately guided 16 major facility projects, playing a transformative role in our evolution from a national summer music camp founded in 1928 to the global, year-round, and multidisciplinary arts and educational institution we are today.
On Oct. 22 we will celebrate this monumental achievement with a special dedication ceremony and multiple performances and exhibitions by Arts Academy students. These artistic events will be presented in the state-of-the-art “homes” of our seven arts disciplines, such as our recently opened 64,000-square-foot Music Center and the 26,000-square-foot lakeside Dance Center. Please mark your calendars for this important date and stay tuned for more information about our community-wide celebration.
This moment also marks a significant inflection point for us as we shift from an emphasis on “place” to a broader focus on our “people and programs.” Already underway, these efforts encompass retaining and recruiting world-class educators who have a passion for teaching young artists, such as Broadway veteran Justin Lee Miller, our inaugural program director of musical theatre; acclaimed violinists and distinguished teachers Tina Chang Qu and Jorja Fleezanis, new members of our string faculty; award-winning trumpeter Josh Lawrence, who joined us in August as our director of jazz studies; and many others.
Finally, this fall we will honor Interlochen’s own beginnings: On Friday, Sept. 24, members of our community will join leaders of Green Lake Township to dedicate the newly named J. Maddy Parkway, the 2.5-mile stretch of M-137 that borders our campus. We are deeply honored that the Green Lake Township Board of Trustees voted to name the road for Interlochen founder Joseph E. Maddy.
It will be a meaningful tribute to a visionary leader, and a fitting start to this remarkable fall at Interlochen.
With best wishes,
When you take part in Festival this week and cheer on your classmates, I hope you'll relish this opportunity to celebrate the convergence of artists and art forms that happens here at Interlochen.
The Popular Music Ensemble performs in Corson Auditorium.
Dear Students and Families,
As we approach Festival, our unique culminating showcase of artwork and performances, I'm struck by how beautifully this event reflects the interdisciplinary perspective and collaboration we seek to instill at Interlochen.
As you know, this core capacity is one of The Interlochen 5, the defining characteristics of the Arts Academy education. Alumni often tell me the encouragement they received at Interlochen to explore arts disciplines beyond their own is what they value most about their experience. Opportunities for experimentation with new art forms arise organically on our multidisciplinary campus, sparking the curiosity and discovery that propels personal growth.
As always, Festival will feature presentations and performances by students from each of our seven arts disciplines, as well as rich multidisciplinary collaborations. For example, students in this spring's Music, Dance, and Film class joined forces to create a work of video art that seamlessly combines music, movement, and moving image.
Under the leadership of conductor Dr. Matthew Schlomer, as well as Katie Dorn, instructor of contemporary dance, and Michael Mittelstaedt, director of film & new media, students from all three majors listened to composer Jonathan Dove's "Figures in the Garden" as a starting point for collaboration. In sharing their responses to the music through their respective mediums, each artist continuously informed the others, eventually leading to a unified expressive work.
In this way, Interlochen students often transcend what may seem like limitations to find new ways of thinking and creating art.
Fittingly, at Commencement later this week, an exemplary interdisciplinary artist will address our graduating seniors. Sydney James Harcourt (IAA 94-97), a Grammy Award-winning stage and screen performer known for starring roles in the Broadway production and film version of Hamilton, started out at Interlochen as a voice major but discovered his love for dance when he was offered the opportunity to perform in a fully staged production of The Nutcracker. "It blew my mind open," Sydney said recently in a video interview with Director of Interdisciplinary Arts Clyde Sheets.
Sydney's passion for interdisciplinary projects inspire his frequent returns to our campus to work with students and spark their interest in multiplatform collaborations. Most recently, he joined Clyde in producing and directing "One," a multidisciplinary work that was performed by students at Miami's New World Center in March of 2020.
In describing Interlochen, Sydney calls it "a place for people who think way outside the box, and are always dreaming of some new and crazy and big idea or fantasy—because that's the only way to manifest a change in your life."
His words speak to the power of interdisciplinary perspective and collaboration. Over the course of your lifetime, drawing connections across artistic disciplines and other fields of discovery will be the basis for breakthrough ideas and innovative partnerships—not only in the arts, but across industries and sectors. As creative changemakers, you'll be poised to help address some of our greatest opportunities and most pressing challenges.
When you take part in Festival this week and cheer on your classmates, I hope you'll take the chance to celebrate the convergence of artists and art forms that happens here at Interlochen.
I have no doubt that your growing interdisciplinary perspective will foster visionary thinking to add color and meaning to our world.
With best wishes,
Creative capacity is a mindset that allows you to tap into your own wellspring of creative thought—not just through the arts, but as an approach to life—and it is a distinctive part of the Academy.
Theatre students stage a production of Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman's musical The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes.
Dear Students and Families,
As you know, the development of creative capacity is a central component of The Interlochen 5, the defining characteristics of an Arts Academy education. In a world increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence and automation, creative capacity will remain essential and enduring across all professions. It’s a mindset that allows you to tap into your own wellspring of creative thought—not just through the arts, but as an approach to life—and it is a distinctive part of the Academy.
The more you exercise this core capacity, the more you’ll reflexively draw upon creativity to meet both challenges and opportunities. Indeed, creative solutions will generate the breakthroughs we need to solve many of the complex challenges our world faces. And as the path toward your vision is anything but a straight line, let creativity guide you toward your ultimate goals.
Interlochen Arts Academy alumni often remind me of the transformative power of creative capacity. As you learn more about our alumni community, you’ll find leaders whose capacity for creativity endows them with unmatched versatility and the ability to lead positive change across fields and industries.
One recent interdisciplinary arts alumna, for example, Melanie Chitwood (IAC 09-10, IAA 10-12), applies skills she acquired at Interlochen to a career in public health. A research associate in the Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, Melanie helps to develop life-saving statistical analyses and public health modeling for hospitals. Recently, Melanie acknowledged how arts training at Interlochen prepared her for work in epidemiology: “At Interlochen, you stay in the practice room until you get it right. I do the same thing as an epidemiologist: I stay at my computer until the model comes out right. That drive is something I fondly remember, and I think it is what has made me so successful in this field.”
Recent Arts Academy musical theatre graduate Jackson Gifford (IAA 17-20, IAC 17) draws on his creative capacity to pursue a broad vision: Producing accessible theatre for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. As the producing artistic director of Southern Plains Productions, Jackson oversees both the operations and artistic vision of the company, which will open its first production, a play by Drama Desk Award winner Bess Wohl, this month.
These are just two examples of the many Interlochen alumni whose creative capacity helps them lead enriching careers that improve our world. It is my hope that through the study of the creative process practiced across the Academy’s disciplines, you too will begin to apply this capacity to all aspects of your lives.
None of us would have chosen the unusual circumstances of this Academy year, but I’ve seen firsthand how the constraints of our safety protocols have already deepened your creative capacity. From our actors and dancers finding new ways to express intimacy and connection without physically touching and our musicians mastering new repertoire for smaller ensembles, to our visual artists and creative writers illuminating this moment in history through their works, you’ve stretched your creative muscles to make art in new ways.
Three exhilarating days of performances and presentations, our upcoming Festival tradition will celebrate and showcase your creative capacity. This year in particular, your creative energy will bring joy to our campus community and friends around the world as we revel in your dedication to the arts through difficult times, and envision a post-pandemic future. Encourage your family and friends to join us virtually as we celebrate one of humanity’s greatest gifts: the gift of creativity.
In the months and years ahead, your creative capacity will continue to help you grow more adaptable, independent, and curious, setting you on a lifelong path of discovery. I can’t wait to see what you do next—here at Interlochen and long beyond.
Yesterday, after a three-week trial, the judicial process confirmed what we all witnessed on May 25, 2020. Derek Chauvin, charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, was found unanimously guilty on all three counts.
Nearly one year ago, George Floyd lost his life at the hands of the police, killed in broad daylight, in front of bystanders, during an attempted arrest for passing a counterfeit $20 bill. His murder galvanized a movement like no other, as people came together and called for justice in communities and workplaces across the nation and around the world.
This past year has been challenging, as we watched weeks turn into months, waiting anxiously for due process to unfold. Yesterday, after a three-week trial, the judicial process confirmed what we all witnessed on May 25, 2020. Derek Chauvin, charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, was found unanimously guilty on all three counts. In this history-making verdict, we hope George Floyd's family can find some measure of peace.
Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "We cannot understand the moral Universe. The arc is a long one, and our eyes reach but a little way; we cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; but we can divine it by conscience, and we surely know that it bends toward justice." I believe we saw the moral universe bend in the right direction yesterday. A single verdict represents but a step toward real progress, but it was a vital step. Now the work continues. We must continue to move with deliberate fortitude toward ending racism and bolstering equality for all.
Citizen artistry serves as a powerful current through our community. Through dialogue, reflection, and exchange, the arts can shift perspective, create empathy, and change the world. I am proud to be part of our Interlochen community, as I know the work we do here, to grow, to support one another, and to advance our ideals, truly will make a positive impact on the world—today and long into the future.
I invite you to help refine Vision 2028, the strategic priorities that will guide Interlochen towards our Centennial.
The spring flowers starting to bloom across the Interlochen campus feel especially fitting as a post-pandemic world inches into view. A season of new beginnings can be felt in energetic preparations for Festival, Interlochen Arts Academy’s end-of-semester showcase of artwork and performances and in joyful planning for the historic return of campers to Interlochen Arts Camp this summer, with robust health-and-safety protocols in place. We are also eagerly anticipating our Arts Academy students ages 16 and older receiving their first COVID-19 vaccinations this month as part of Grand Traverse County’s rollout.
Buoyed with optimism for the future, we also look towards a momentous milestone on our horizon: Interlochen’s Centennial.
In 2028, just a few short years from now, Interlochen Center for the Arts will mark its 100th anniversary. Our centennial presents an extraordinary opportunity not only to celebrate Interlochen’s pioneering leadership in arts education, but also to rally our community behind ensuring Interlochen’s future as the premier destination for young artists.
As we approach our second century, we begin an exciting new chapter. The addition of our new Dance Center, as well as the first dedicated rehearsal and performance space for Interdisciplinary Arts, paired with the opening of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House this fall, will mark the completion of a campus master plan that has guided 14 major campus improvement projects over the past 30 years. We will emerge from the pandemic with artistic, academic, and residential facilities that reflect the excellence of our programs, allowing us to focus fully on the people and programs that power Interlochen’s world-class educational offerings.
To guide Interlochen’s continued growth amid an increasingly competitive camp and high school landscape, we’ve crafted a set of strategic priorities known as Vision 2028. Simply put, our ambitious vision outlines how we plan to enhance the student experience, make Interlochen accessible for all deserving young artists, and recruit a diverse and global student body.
I invite you to learn more about Vision 2028 as part of a one-of-a-kind virtual roundtable discussion series, Envision Interlochen at 100. This unique series offers the opportunity to hear firsthand about Interlochen today, and to visualize all Interlochen could achieve by our centennial in 2028.
During each Envision Interlochen at 100 event, you’ll hear directly from me and select members of our board of trustees as well as from students and faculty. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in a live Q&A session and, after each meeting concludes, you’ll be invited to tell us what you think of Vision 2028 through a short survey. Please join us for one of the following sessions:
Thursday, April 29, 2021 | 1 - 2:15 p.m. EDT | Register Here With faculty and student panelists from the Academic, Dance, and Interdisciplinary Arts divisions
Thursday, May 6, 2021 | 8:30 - 9:45 p.m. EDT | Register Here With faculty and student panelists from the Academic, Music, and Visual Arts divisions
For those of you who are especially passionate about Interlochen Public Radio, sessions this spring will be scheduled that will focus exclusively on IPR.
The success of Vision 2028 depends on the commitment and support of people like you who care deeply about Interlochen. From the first summer of the National Music Camp in 1928 to the launch of Interlochen Online last summer and countless milestones in between, each defining moment at Interlochen has come about through the passion and dedication of our extraordinary community of alumni, friends, students, faculty, and staff.
This interactive series will also give you an insider’s perspective on this unprecedented year. Our current students and faculty will inspire you with their resilience, creativity, and focus. You’ll be moved by student panelists such as Arts Academy film and new media major Maya Shah (IAA 19-20, IAC 14-16, 18), who shared during our first Envision Interlochen at 100 session why she chose to come to Interlochen.
“I want to make films that can change the world,” Maya said. “If my films don’t get to 100 million people, I want to get to at least one person and make them feel something, or make them feel not alone. That’s one of my huge goals with my art, and was ultimately one of the reasons I came to Interlochen.”
Together, we can ensure that Interlochen propels creative changemakers like Maya toward realizing a more just, vibrant, and empathetic future for us all. We can accomplish a great deal as we envision Interlochen thriving into its second century and beyond.
With best wishes,
In these difficult times, the strength of our community offers inspiration and hope.
Theatre students stage a production of Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman's musical The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes.
Ten hours before a state-issued emergency order took effect requiring all Michigan high schools to pivot to virtual learning, our Arts Academy dance students rushed to the stage to perform and film their new production of The Nutcracker, four weeks ahead of schedule. The heroic, last-minute performance, along with efforts across the Academy’s artistic divisions to adapt to new constraints, ensured that many end-of-semester webcasts of student performances would stream as scheduled.
This Saturday, I hope you’ll tune in to this poignant performance of The Nutcracker and then join us again on Tuesday for the perennial holiday favorite, Sounds of the Season. Created with equal parts tenacity and talent, they are a testament to the dedication and discipline of our entire community. We are deeply honored that this year, for the first time, Detroit Public Television, the largest public television station in Michigan, will broadcast Interlochen’s Nutcracker. Viewers can tune in on Friday, Dec. 25, at 8 p.m. (or after the program, on demand at dptv.org.)
Since the Arts Academy’s fall semester began Aug. 10, students, faculty, and staff have adapted to rigorous health-and-safety protocols with fortitude and finesse, creating new ways to stage productions, conduct private lessons, exhibit art, share performances, and so much more, all while adjusting to new formats and technologies. Twenty current students and one recent alumna were recently announced as 2021 YoungArts Award winners, showcasing once again the artistic excellence for which we are known. This tradition of excellence extends to the Academy’s academic classes as well, where extraordinary teachers nurture our next generation of citizen artists.
At the same time, faculty and staff are making the Interlochen experience accessible to even more students. Our first-ever virtual College Audition Boot Camp recently welcomed nearly 60 music and theatre students from across the country, and in January, Interlochen Online’s inaugural after-school programs launch with virtual offerings for students in grades 2 through 12 in music, visual arts, creative writing, film and new media, dance, theatre, and interdisciplinary arts. We’re excited Interlochen Online will expand our reach to creative students eager to develop their skills and build community with other young minds who share their interests.
I can't let this moment pass without thanking our students, faculty, and staff for going to extraordinary lengths to support the health and wellness of our community. Astonishingly, over the course of the longest uninterrupted semester in the history of the Academy, we’ve conducted nearly 5,000 COVID-19 tests, with a 0.3% positivity rate and no instances of community transmission on our campus. In every way, our community has risen to meet a daunting obstacle and I could not be more proud.
The challenges we’ve faced this season can make it difficult to focus on the future, but the day will come when we look back at the pandemic and marvel at the music, art, and friendship that sustained our Interlochen community. Thanks to you, we are getting through these historic times together.
I wish you a happy, healthy, and restorative holiday season.
With the opening of our state-of-the-art Dance Center, Interlochen edges closer to realizing an ambitious campus master plan developed over 30 years ago.
The newly opened Dance Center at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Yesterday, I watched our Interlochen Arts Academy dance students experience their first rehearsals in our newly opened state-of-the-art Dance Center. Although masks veiled their smiles, their delight in the new facility was palpable.
Expertly designed with the needs of young dancers in mind, the Dance Center will revolutionize how we teach dance at Interlochen. Larger rehearsal spaces will accommodate large-scale works. New technology will enable students to connect with performers and choreographers around the world. Higher ceilings allow dancers to soar—both on their own and in tandem with others.
The opening of the Dance Center coincides with the completion of our newly renovated Interdisciplinary Arts Space, a black box theatre and new classroom on the lower level of Stone, which are primed to foster collaborations and partnerships. These new spaces mark not only new chapters for dance and interdisciplinary arts, but also serve as a milestone for Interlochen as a whole. Each arts discipline at Interlochen now has a designated “home,” with facilities that reflect the excellence of our programs.
These “homes” fulfill a major objective of the 1990 Sasaki Associates Campus Master Plan, which has guided our campus improvement projects for the past 30 years. Initiated by former Interlochen Center for the Arts president Dean Boal and funded by former Interlochen trustees Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow’s eponymous foundation, the plan aimed to create a physical environment worthy of Interlochen’s global reputation and to pave the way for its second century as a leader in arts education.
Three decades later, the Sasaki Plan is nearly complete. Nine world-class arts facilities—the Phoenix Theatre, the Harvey Theatre Complex, the Edward P. and Jessie Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building, the Writing House, DeRoy Center for Film Studies, the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts, the Upton Morley Pavilion, the Music Center, and the Dance Center—now enhance the incredible instruction that has always been central to the Interlochen experience. The expansive Mallory-Towsley Center for Arts Leadership, home to Interlochen College of Creative Arts, opened in 2010. And in recent years the Dennison Center for Recreation and Wellness and Corson Park, as well as substantial improvements to Corson Auditorium, have enriched life at Interlochen for thousands of students, staff, and guests.
Looking back on our successes, I am humbled by the remarkable generosity of our community, without whom none of these accomplishments would be possible. Over the last 30 years, $83 million in gifts to bring the Sasaki Plan to fruition have remade the artistic face of our campus.
As we enter the final stages of the Sasaki Plan—the renovation of the Hildegarde Lewis Dance Building and the construction of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow House—we have a challenge grant offering a 1:1 match of gifts and pledges up to $400,000 made between now and August 1. I invite you to join the hundreds of others who have supported these and other projects over the last three decades. If you would like to support Dow House or Phase 2 of the Dance Center project, please contact our Philanthropy team at 231.276.7623 or visit interlochen.org/give.
Thanks to your support, we stand on the cusp of our second century prepared to meet and exceed the needs of tomorrow’s creative changemakers. Together, we can ensure that Interlochen will serve as a beacon of transformation, innovation, and collaboration for generations to come.
President Trey Devey shares how Arts Camp and Arts Academy traditions are pivoting to online platforms.
Trey Devey chats with a student during the Street Beat festival.
With our culminating Arts Academy celebrations upon us, and our online camp programs launching in June, Interlochen is bursting with activity. Even as we continue to work and collaborate with one another virtually, the tremendous excitement and anticipation felt by our students, faculty, staff, and administrators is palpable. This uniquely challenging time has brought into sharp relief the remarkable spirit of ingenuity that powers our Interlochen community.
Ingenuity and innovation have been integral to the Interlochen mindset since 1928, when pioneering music educators Joseph E. Maddy and TP (Thaddeus) Giddings first convened high school musicians from across the country on our campus. They put their faith in a completely untried idea: that young artists crave regular opportunities to practice, perform, and grow together.
Today, as we discover new ways to pivot rather than pause in the face of this unprecedented global health crisis, we are seizing new opportunities to expand our creative capacities and to fulfill Interlochen’s mission.
This month, we are introducing virtual formats for some of our most important end-of-year Arts Academy traditions. A wonderful benefit of virtual programming is that many more alumni and friends from around the world will be able to join us—and we hope you will!
Our annual celebration of Academy students kicks off next week with a three-day, nearly continuous celebration of student artwork and performances known as Festival. We are honored to welcome three extraordinary alumni as virtual hosts: Josh Lederman (IAC 00-01, IAA 02-03), national political reporter for NBC News; Alexandra Silber (IAC 95-99, IAA 99-01), Grammy Award-nominated actor, singer, and author; and Anthony McGill (IAC 91, 93, IAA 94-96), principal clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic.
We have also transitioned our Honors Convocation and Commencement online and are thrilled that Aaron Dworkin (IAA 86-88), founder of the Sphinx Organization and professor of arts leadership and entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan, will be our commencement speaker. A social entrepreneur, performing artist, philanthropist, and educator, Aaron is an exemplary leader who will surely uplift and inspire our next generation of creative changemakers.
In June, our 93rd Arts Camp season will continue through Interlochen Online. At a time when children and teens need the community and skill-building confidence the arts instill more than ever, we will provide a safe space for them to learn and draw inspiration from world-class artists, to take part in our supportive community, and to foster resilience and adaptability—qualities essential to thriving through this challenging period.
Like many of you, I am disappointed that we won’t gather together on campus this summer during Camp or during the Arts Academy’s Reunion Weekend that previously had been scheduled for October. Yet I am energized by plans for our first virtual Academy reunion. If this platform encourages more alumni to seize the opportunity to reconnect with one another, it will be a remarkable celebration of our Interlochen spirit—and a profound source of comfort during this difficult time.
Of course, our virtual programming is no substitute for walking along the lake together in the land of stately pines, with music and art all around. But until it is safe to gather together in person, we continue to serve our mission, and to celebrate the unbreakable bonds that define our Interlochen community.