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.