Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen Center for the Arts

Interlochen Center for the Arts is a privately owned, 1,200 acre (5 km²) arts education institution in Interlochen, Michigan, roughly 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Traverse City. Interlochen draws young people from around the world to participate in intensive academics with additional study of music, theater, dance, visual art, creative writing, motion picture arts, and a brand new program of comparative arts. Interlochen Center for the Arts is the umbrella organization for Interlochen Arts Camp (formerly the National Music Camp, founded 1928), Interlochen Arts Academy (founded 1962), Interlochen Public Radio (founded 1963), and the "Interlochen Presents" performing arts series.

Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen center for the arts.png
Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship
Through the Universal Language of the Arts
Interlochen, MI, USA
Type Educational institution, privately owned
Established 1928
President Jeffrey S. Kimpton
Enrollment Camp (summer): 2000
Academy (school year): 475
Campus 1,200 acres (4.9 km2), wooded, rural, between two lakes, and immediately adjacent Interlochen State Park



From the State of Michigan historical marker on Interlochen's Osterlin Mall:[1]

Ottawa Indians once lived in the pine forest between lakes Wahbekaness and Wahbekanetta. In the late 1800s white men came and cut the pines, leaving only a small forest between the lakes. This virgin pine was purchased in 1917 by the state and became part of one of the first state parks. When the lumber era ended, the Wylie Cooperage mill occupied the Indian village site, making barrels until the hardwood ran out. Willis Pennington's summer hotel, opened in 1909, was popular with fishermen until automobiles and better roads drew them elsewhere. Then in 1918, Camp Interlochen, one of Michigan's first girls' recreation camps, was opened, followed in 1922 by Camp Penn Loch for boys. In 1928, by arrangement with Willis Pennington, Joseph E. Maddy and Thaddeus P. Giddings established the National High School Orchestra Camp. It grew rapidly in scope, size, and reputation, becoming the National Music Camp in 1931, and affiliating with the University of Michigan in 1942. Interlochen Arts Academy was chartered in 1960 to provide year-round training in the creative arts.

From the book Interlochen, The First 25 Years:

In 1926, Joe Maddy was asked to organize and conduct the First National High School Orchestra for the Music Supervisors' National Conference (now known as the Music Educators National Conference) in Detroit. Its resounding success led to an invitation to duplicate the experience at the Dallas, Texas convention of the National Education Association's Department of Superintendence in 1927. The exuberant young musicians pled for the chance to work and play together longer than the few days the convention appearance afforded. Joe Maddy promised them a music camp! In June, 1928, at Interlochen, Michigan, in the midst of a magnificent stand of virgin pine trees between two lovely lakes, The National High School Orchestra Camp opened its doors. On leased land, with the old Hotel Pennington, several cottages, 29 new camper cabins, a hospital, water and sewer system, the new Interlochen Bowl, and $40,000 debt, this brave experiment was launched.

Interlochen becomes the inspiration for the 1941 Paramount motion picture There's Magic in Music (AKA "The Hard Boiled Canary").[2]

In 1962, Interlochen Arts Academy is founded.

In 1963, WIAA-FM, later to become Interlochen Public Radio, begins broadcasting.

From 2000 to 2007, Interlochen Center for the Arts owned and operated the K-8 Interlochen Pathfinder School in Traverse City, MI.[3] Pathfinder had approached Interlochen about a potential link-up in the late 1990s after Pathfinder encountered financial and operational difficulty. Believing that operational and administrative synergies between Interlochen and Pathfinder might allow Pathfinder to continue operating, Interlochen ran Pathfinder for 7 years before determining that Pathfinder was not a financially viable entity. Pathfinder parents and the local community reacted negatively to the decision to shutter Pathfinder, and Interlochen agreed to turn over the school to a group of parents when several benfactors stepped forward to provide supplemental financial support. Pathfinder has since resumed operation as an independent entity.

Interlochen Arts Camp

Interlochen Arts Camp (formerly the National Music Camp) is an annual summer camp for approximately 3,000 students ages 8 to 18. It was founded in 1928 by the late Dr. Joseph E. Maddy as the National High School Orchestra Camp. Today, students participate in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, creative writing, or motion picture arts. Camp admission is competitive, and auditions are required in most cases. Programs range in length from one to six weeks, and participants are divided into three divisions: Junior (grades 3-6), Intermediate (grades 6-9), and High School (grades 9-12). As another alternative, students may apply to one-week advanced institute programs that take place the week prior to the typical summer camp season; within the past few years, there have been institutes for oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, and percussion. The Interlochen All-State program, which formerly consisted of two-week band, orchestra, and choir programs for Michigan high school students, was dropped in 2009. There are adult programs as well as part of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts.

Camp traditions and hallmarks

Camp uniform

One of the camp's most distinguishing features is its distinctive performance uniform which traces its origins to the camp's earliest years, and which is worn by all campers, faculty, and staff; its main components are a light blue shirt (white shirt on Sunday and a choice of a white or blue shirt on Monday), red sweater, corduroy pants with color-coded belt (male; dark blue for Juniors, red for Intermediates, and light blue for High School), and corduroy knickers with color-coded knee socks (female; again, dark blue for Juniors and Counselors, red for Intermediates and light blue for High School). Interlochen's founder, Joe Maddy, initially proposed Interlochen's uniform to blur class distinctions, free members of the camp community from the distraction of picking out clothes each day, and to foster an environment where individuals could express and distinguish themselves primarily through their art form.

Interlochen Theme

The Interlochen Theme, an excerpt from Howard Hanson's Symphony No. 2, is played at the conclusion of every Interlochen Arts Camp concert. It is conducted by the concertmaster for orchestra performances and by the first chair oboe player for band concerts. In recent years it has been accepted for any member of the band to conduct the theme during the summer camp. At the end of the Interlochen Theme, audience members are requested not to applaud and to depart in quiet reflection.

"Do More in Less Time"

From its beginning, Interlochen has been a place where talented young people have been able to focus on their craft in a community of like-minded peers without the distractions that they might encounter at home or during the school year that might burden them or impede their progress. As a result, there is an electric level of intensity that permeates Interlochen and allows for an incredible level of accomplishment in a very short amount of time. Many people refer to this as the "Magic of Interlochen." A spirit of friendly competition has always been an integral part of the Interlochen experience, allowing those who work hard and perform best to receive recognition for their efforts. Before the Jessie V. Stone building was refurbished into the Camp and Academy music and academic library in 2005, there were signs on either side of its stage proscenium which read, "Curriculum Geared to Talent" and "Promotion Geared to Attainment." These values are still central to Interlochen's success today.

Camp life

In addition to participating in artistic endeavors, campers also are able to take part in traditional summer camp activities such as swimming, canoeing, sailing, camping, crafts, ping pong, billiards, cook-outs, mixers, trips to Lake Michigan, and playing sports such as soccer and softball in organized leagues, as well as tennis and basketball. Campers live in rustic cabins with up to 16 campers and one or two counselors. High School and Intermediate campers begin their day with a bugle call at 6:30 AM,and Junior campers are woken at 6:50. Each division ends their day with "taps," typically played on trumpet, around 9:00 PM.

International community

Interlochen campers come from all 50 of the United States, Canada, and other countries in North America, there are typically also more than a few campers who come from South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. In a typical summer, over 40 countries are represented within the camp community. This geographic diversity within the camp population reinforces the motto painted over the stage in Kresge Auditorium which states simply, "Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship Through the Universal Language of the Arts".


The mid-summer collection of performances in which every discipline represented at the camp is displayed. This occurs during the middle of the third week of camp.

Les Preludes

The final camp performance each summer in which almost all Interlochen High School music campers participate features Les Preludes by Franz Liszt. The concert is always a standing-room-only event and attracts an audience of over 5,000 people.

Interlochen Arts Academy

The Interlochen Arts Academy was founded in 1962 as an independent boarding school dedicated to the arts. As of 2007, it has 300 faculty and staff, and roughly 475 students. While more than half the students major in music performance, IAA also offers majors in creative writing, dance, theatre arts, motion picture arts, and visual arts. Beginning with the 2005 school year, IAA (along with Interlochen Arts Camp) established a major in motion picture arts, and beginning in 2011 began offering comparative arts. The vast majority of students at Interlochen Arts Academy are boarding students, including many international students; some day students who live in the vicinity also attend. As Interlochen Arts Academy moves away from a direct focus on the arts in favor of a prep school model, the school has been noted for its academic rigor, as IAA expects students to excel in the classroom as well as artistically. Upon graduation, most IAA graduates continue to universities or conservatories for further study in the arts or academics. Conservatories that often admit Interlochen students include Juilliard, Eastman, Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM), School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Curtis, New England Conservatory, Oberlin, Manhattan School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Peabody, and CalArts. Interlochen Arts Academy graduates also matriculate at many other colleges and universities that do not have a primary focus on the arts.

Comparative Arts

Comparative Arts is a new major in the 2010-2011 school year. It is designed for students who desire a mix of strong academics with introductory courses in a variety of arts areas. They are given the opportunity to take a wide variety of art classes each year, instead of just focusing on one. (Not an arts concentration.)


The Interlochen Alumni Organization Board serves as the liaison between Interlochen's global alumni community and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Members are elected from the Camp and Academy alumni population and serve two year terms. More information about the IAO Board is at

There are nearly 70,000 alumni of Interlochen Arts Camp and Interlochen Arts Academy living all over the world. Many of them have achieved fame for their artistic abilities or because of other achievements; some of their names are listed below.

See more at

Interlochen Public Radio

Interlochen Center for the Arts is home to Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio member station with studios on the Interlochen campus and multiple broadcast locations that allow the station's signal to reach most of Northern Michigan as well as parts of eastern Wisconsin.

When it was founded in 1963, WIAA (note the similarity between the station call letters and the "IAA" abbreviation for Interlochen Arts Academy) was envisioned as a logical extension of the long-running "Music From Interlochen" program that had been heard for many years on the NBC radio network, and which helped to spread word about the activities at the then-named National Music Camp and the then-fledgling Interlochen Arts Academy. The station performed so poorly in its early years that there was talk of shutting down the operation. Today, however, Interlochen Public Radio thrives and includes both a music service and a news service.

Despite being one of the smallest NPR members, IPR boasts one of the highest rates of per capita contributions of any public radio station in the United States.[8] The station's classical service is broadcast from 88.7 FM in Interlochen, 88.5 FM in Mackinaw City, and 100.9 FM in East Jordan/Charlevoix. In 2000, it began offering a separate news service on 91.5 FM in Traverse City. Interlochen is currently investigating acquisition of additional licenses so that IPR can reach larger, more geographically-diverse audiences.

Interlochen Presents

Interlochen Presents has a summer festival running from June through August (schedule announced in April) and a performing arts series from September through May coinciding with the Academy school year (schedule announced in August). It features concerts, plays, art exhibits, readings, film screenings and dance productions presented by students, faculty, and staff, as well as both well-known and obscure guest artists. Interlochen Presents events are held in numerous venues around campus. The list of recent guest artists includes Steely Dan, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Joshua Bell, Jason Mraz, Bonnie Raitt, Olga Kern, Sara Bareilles, Dierks Bentley, Norah Jones, Martha Graham Dance Company, Ra Ra Riot, Bob Dylan, Jewel, Carol Jantsch, Josh Groban, Tiempo Libre, Paula Poundstone, Nathan Gunn, Chris Thile, and Bela Fleck. Interlochen Presents and Interlochen Public Radio serve as the primary channels by which Interlochen Center for the Arts connects with the northern Michigan region.

See current concerts and events at

Campus features

Performance venues

  • Upton-Morley Pavilion (2011) - seasonal, outdoor venue for theatre, music and dance performances
  • The Interlochen Bowl - capacity 5,000 on benches and lawn seating, summer only, open air (1927) The Bowl has been recently renovated to include chairs instead of benches.
  • Grunow Theatre - capacity 200, seasonal (1927, demolished and reconstructed 2004)
  • Kresge Auditorium - capacity 3,929, seasonal, open air covered (1948, expanded and roof added 1964)
  • Corson Auditorium (Grand Traverse Performing Arts Center) - capacity 958, year-round (1975)
  • Dendrinos Chapel - capacity 230, year-round (1982)
  • Charlie's Shack - summer only (1982, moved and reconstructed 2007)
  • Harvey Theatre - capacity 173
  • Phoenix Theatre
  • The Writing House (2002)
  • The Shed (also serves as home to Athletic Services)
  • DeRoy Center for Film Studies (2006)
  • Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for Visual Arts (2008)
  • Dance Building
  • Fine Arts Building

Other major campus structures

  • Cafeterias - Stone, Lochaven, Pinecrest
  • Dormitories - McWhorter, Mozart-Beethoven, Picasso, Hemingway, DeRoy, Thor Johnson
  • Instructional buildings - Mott Rotunda, Dow Rotunda, Liberal Arts Rotunda, Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building, Organ Building, DeRoy, The Writing House
  • Recreation facilities - Marge Hammes Pavilion, Braeside Recreation Building, Lee Cabutti Athletic Field, Ropes Course and Climbing Wall, The Shed
  • Maintenance, Housekeeping, and Warehouse complex
  • Stone Student Center Hotel (offers lodging as well as cabins for visitors to campus)
  • Admissions Office
  • Scholarshop, Melody Freeze, and Box Office
  • Design & Production Building for theatre and motion picture sets
  • Hastings Nature Museum
  • Interlochen Public Radio broadcast and recording studios
  • Bonisteel Library (2007, originally built in 1962 as the Jessie V. Stone recreation building)
  • Dance Building
  • Uniform building
  • Stage Services and Program Office building
  • Main Infirmary, Boys Camp Infirmary, Girls Camp Infirmary

Awards and accolades

Related publications


External links

Coordinates: 44°37′45″N 85°46′06″W / 44.62927°N 85.76820°W / 44.62927; -85.76820

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • School of the Arts — is the name of several schools (usually high schools) that are devoted to the fine arts, including:* Brooklyn High School of the Arts, Brooklyn, New York * Charleston County School of the Arts, Charleston, South Carolina * Coronado School of the… …   Wikipedia

  • High School for the Performing and Visual Arts — The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA for short) is a secondary school located at 4001 Stanford Street in the Montrose district of Houston, Texas. The school is a part of the Houston Independent School District.The school… …   Wikipedia

  • Interlochen, Michigan — Interlochen is an unincorporated community within Green Lake Township, Grand Traverse County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The community is noted for the internationally renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts.HistoryBefore the arrival of… …   Wikipedia

  • Interlochen Public Radio — Infobox Radio station name = IPR Music Radio WIAA, WIAB, WICV city = WIAA: Interlochen, Michigan WIAB: Mackinaw City, Michigan WICV: East Jordan, Michigan area = WIAA: [ bin/pat?call=WIAA service=FM status=L… …   Wikipedia

  • Interlochen — ▪ Michigan, United States  unincorporated resort village, Grand Traverse county, northwestern Michigan, U.S., located in a fruit growing region about 15 miles (25 km) south of Traverse City. The village (whose name means “between the lakes”) was… …   Universalium

  • Michigan Youth Arts Festival — The Michigan Youth Arts Festival (MYAF) is an annual festival in Michigan where over 900 students from grades 9 12 participate in showcases, concerts and workshops in any of the represented disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Film, Vocal music …   Wikipedia

  • National Medal of Arts — La National Medal of Arts …   Wikipédia en Français

  • National Medal of Arts — Awarded for Outstanding contributions in Arts Presented by National Endowment for the Arts Location …   Wikipedia

  • National Medal of Arts — National Medal of Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Gestaltung: Robert Graham, 1984 Die National Medal of Arts ist die bedeutendste Auszeichnung, die durch den Kongress der Vereinigten Staaten an Künstler und Förderer der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Music schools in the United States — In the United States, there are four types of music schools. Three of them follow the more traditional formats of music education. The last one is more informal and includes schools that teach the history and performance of world music. Contents… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.