Adapting and advancing

  • The Baumeister family poses in front of Corson Auditorium.

  • Recent recipients of the Joseph and Ethen Horwitz Scholarship: Top row, left to right - Elijah John Burnley (2017) and Rayme Aquino (2018). Bottom row, left to right: Natalie Avila (2018) and Audrey Chung (2019).

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to adapt to a new way of living.

Our homes became our workplaces and our schools. Birthday parties, happy hours, and game nights moved to online interfaces.

All of these adjustments were part of a larger effort to find normalcy and celebrate the moments that matter in the face of unprecedented circumstances.

Interlochen, too, has adapted its rhythms to ensure the health and safety of our community. As Fiscal Year 2020 drew to a close, we were grateful for the new ways that both regular and first-time donors supported our mission even while our campus was closed.

In April, Interlochen Arts Academy students received the news that they would not be able to return to campus to finish the spring semester. Interlochen’s finance team issued refunds for the final two months of room and board payments. Many families, however, decided to return the funds as a donation to Interlochen.

Those generous families included Julie and Dan Baumeister. "Dan and I appreciate all that Interlochen has done for our son, Jackson, in his first year at the Academy,” Julie Baumeister said. “While we find ourselves in extraordinary times, it was an easy decision to make an additional gift to support Interlochen's mission.”

Later, we made the difficult decision to move the 93rd season of Interlochen Arts Camp online. Enrolled students were given a variety of options: Enroll in Interlochen Online, defer their admission to Camp 2021, or receive a refund of their tuition deposit. Many of the families who opted for a refund chose to return their deposits to Interlochen as a donation.

After the announcement of Interlochen Online, the Advancement team began working with donors and admission representatives to pivot Camp funds and create scholarships for Interlochen Online. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to those who gave new gifts, several donors reallocated their Camp scholarship funds to Interlochen Online or the Interlochen Annual Fund.

David Horwitz, an Interlochen Arts Camp alumnus and regular Interlochen College of Creative Arts Adult Band Camp attendee, was among those who reallocated his family’s annual Camp Scholarship to the Interlochen Annual Fund. “My high school summer experiences at Interlochen were not only rewarded with lasting trombone performance expertise and a love of classical music, but with meaningful personal skills that aided me in my career in academic medicine,” Horwitz said. “It is important for Interlochen to have the resources to prepare aspiring young artists for their future careers."

While Interlochen’s campus has been closed, Interlochen Public Radio has stayed on-air and has become a lifeline for the northern Michigan community. IPR News reporters have worked tirelessly, often from makeshift studios in their own homes, to bring the latest coronavirus and other local coverage to the citizens of northern Michigan. Classical IPR has become the constant companion of hundreds of listeners working, learning, and teaching from home. Despite the challenges of working remotely, Classical IPR has launched three new series during the pandemic: Notes from Home, Making the Rounds with Kevin LaRose, and GAMEPLAY. In response, donors from across the region and around the globe poured out their support during the station’s incredibly successful Spring Drive for Listener Support.

These are just a few of the ways that our donors have continued to keep the mission and vision of Interlochen alive and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interlochen is resilient, and we can weather this storm just as we weathered the Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 recession, and dozens of other societal and economic challenges.

Thanks to your support, we can continue to preserve, protect, and push forward an institution that has been at the forefront of arts education for nearly a century.

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