Opportunity Scholarship recipients thrive

“Interlochen has taught me two things. One: I can totally learn from college and not go crazy; and two: when life presents me new challenges, I don’t have to run away. All I have to do is face it head on with courage.”

Daniel, the musical theatre student quoted above, is one of nearly 800 students who have attended Interlochen Arts Camp 2018 through scholarship support. New partnerships funded by leadership donors and an outpouring of support through the Create Amazing Opportunities Challenge helped 120 of those students attend Camp.

As a result, this summer generous supporters have helped Interlochen distribute the largest amount of financial aid in Interlochen’s recorded history.

Ensuring that promising and talented youth can attend Interlochen regardless of their family’s financial circumstances has been a tenet of Interlochen’s philosophy since its founding. Under Interlochen President Trey Devey’s leadership, scholarships have become even more of a focus, with fundraising efforts intensifying.

In addition to sponsoring scholarships in targeted geographic areas including Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles and Maui, donors have supported recruiting young artists through new partnerships which include the:

  • Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra Nouveau Chamber Players
  • Harmony Program in New York City
  • Miami Music Project
  • Omaha Conservatory of Music
  • Riverdale Children’s Theatre in The Bronx
  • Youth Orchestra Los Angeles.

Daniel is one of the eight talented actors who came to Interlochen through the Riverdale Children’s Theatre. In his first summer, he played the supporting role of Mayor Shinn in The Music Man.

The Chormann Family Foundation, of which Interlochen Trustee Cindy Hann (AS 78-79) is Vice President, made this partnership possible. “When I first learned about the Opportunity Scholarship initiative at Interlochen, I immediately thought of my family friends Becky Lillie-Woods and her husband Derek Woods, who run the Riverdale Children’s Theatre in The Bronx,” Hann said. “I knew these very gifted students from The Bronx could benefit from a summer camp experience at Interlochen. These talented actors often don’t have access to summer programs, so this experience helps fill a void. It’s been so exciting to see them thrive at Interlochen this summer, and I’m glad my family could play a role in their continued success.”

Interlochen theatre arts faculty couldn’t have been more excited to welcome these students. “Opportunity Scholarships allow us to target mission-appropriate students and bring them to Interlochen,” said Director of Theatre Arts Bill Church. “The cost of tuition should not keep talented young artists away from our campus and the rich learning opportunities offered by our programs and productions. The Theatre Department strives to bring in students of all backgrounds and is greatly appreciative of scholarship assistance.”

For the Miami Music Project, the scholarships made possible by Daniel R. Lewis and M:X (Miami Experimental), have covered all tuition, travel, boarding and uniform expenses for nearly 50 musicians. “Interlochen senior staff deftly anticipated, prepared and were responsive, resulting in remarkable experiences for talented students from underserved communities,” Lewis noted during a recent visit. “The 46 Miami students were effusive in their appreciation for the opportunity, shared the staff’s delight in their artistic progress, loved the friendships made and Camp experience, and left with increased confidence and conviction in pursuing their craft. The students returned to Miami committed to apply what they’ve learned to help their peers in Miami.”

Based on this success, Trey Devey would like to see more partnerships evolve. “Everyone is enriched through these partnerships,” Devey said. “Some students are in a rural area of Michigan for the first time, while others are meeting students from the heart of Detroit and New York City for the first time. These talented youth are thriving among the best young artists in the world. For example, one Miami Music Project student worked his way to the associate principal viola seat in the World Youth Symphony Orchestra for the final concerts. We need to do all we can to create more opportunities like this.”

If you have any questions about supporting opportunity scholarships, please contact Interlochen Advancement at advancement@interlochen.org or 231.276.7623.