Thursday, February 19, 2009

Higher Purpose

There is a place in Northern Michigan nestled beneath the pine trees where children ages 10-18 go to spend their summers and study music, theatre, dance, and the arts. The camp is well off the beaten path between the shores of two small lakes. Unless you were looking for it, you probably wouldn't really notice the spot as anything special if you were just driving by.

The campers are there for six to eight weeks to study their craft. They live fourteen kids to a cabin that sits on cinder blocks with windows that do not close. There are no televisions, computers, or cell phones. Northern Michigan mornings are cold and there are no air conditioners to help you escape from the July heat. Every morning they wake up at 6:30am to the sounds of revelry and have to jog to their tennis courts for calisthenics and announcements. After breakfast in the cafeteria, they are off to classes which take place in more cabins or their private lessons that occur in little more than a hut with a concrete floor.

The musicians practice for hours upon hours every day. Theatre students have rehearsal from 8:30-11:00am before it's off to acting class and then rehearsal from 6:30-9:00pm. There isn't a lot of play time or time to enjoy their summers.

But the music that drifts on the wind from every corner of the campus is heavenly. When the two high school orchestras play their concerts every week, and every week with new repertoire, you could mistake their performance for that of many major symphonies. The theatre students perform with such energy, dedication, and passion that their audience cannot help but be electrified by what they are witnessing.

These students are truly dedicated to their art. They understand what passion and self-sacrifice is. They are hungry to learn their craft in a way that most public school will always leave them unfulfilled. And while they may not end up as professional artists, there are many doctors, lawyers, and accountants whose live have been enriched by their summers at Interlochen.

Happy Birthday: David Garrick (1717-1779) & Jeff Daniels (b. 1955)

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