[Dixielandjazz] Interlochen

dingle dingle at baldwin-net.com
Wed Jan 5 20:25:04 PST 2005

Rob McCallum wrote:

> Hello all,
> Interesting post about the Interlochen Music Camp.  I attended a 
> session there in the mid-1980s for symphonic band and an 
> extra-curricular jazz big band.  The challenge system used by the 
> conductor did not have the students have a say, though the challenges 
> were done during rehearsals and so everyone heard the challenge.  The 
> director decided if the challenger had won, but didn't announce it.  
> The director told the participants after the rehearsal and, if 
> anything had changed, the students would be in different seats for the 
> following rehearsal.  I didn't find anything unusual about this 
> practice as this was essentially the same system employed in my high 
> school.  I can see how having the band members democratically vote 
> could be rather unobjective.
> I found the music aspect at Interlochen to be wonderful (band, 
> directors, rehearsals, private lessons and campus), but the camping 
> aspect was miserable.  When the band director announced the formation 
> of the extra-curricular big band, I jumped to sign up only to be told 
> by my college-age cabin counselor person that I wouldn't be able to go 
> because it was required that I participate in "camping" activities -- 
> swimming, soccer, cookouts etc.--a practice I called "forced fun."  I 
> protested that I was only there for a short time and it was ridiculous 
> that I couldn't join a big band because I had to be back in 
> mid-afternoon for "recess" with a bunch of people I didn't know (much 
> less like).  He said I had no choice and that it was policy!  I joined 
> the big band anyway and only showed up back at the cabin to sleep.  No 
> one ever said anything else to me about it.  Come to think of it, I 
> don't really think I associated with anyone at the camp site.  The 
> campus and the campgrounds are really like two separate worlds.
> BTW- I don't know if it's still standing, but they had a large band 
> shell where the seats for the audience were benches and it was under 
> the trees.  That's where we played our concerts.  It's been there for 
> years and someone there told me that Paul Whiteman's group had played 
> on that stage in the 1920s.
> All the best,
> Rob McCallum
Don Ingle adds:

> I live about 50 miles form Interlochen and it remains a great training 
> school for the arts -- not just music but dance and theater. It runs a 
> high hool prep school program all year and then has the fine summer 
> camp program that goes back to the 1920's.

Our occasional listmate Bib Havens attended Interlochen and he once 
mentioned that this son had gone there as well.

The bandshell you mentioned is still there but I think I recall there 
being folding chairs the last time I was up there for a summer program..

A long list of  the performing musicians today that attended this school 
would take a year to type. Many students here have gone on to Eastman, 
Julliard or other fine music schools, and a very good number of the top 
military bands  have students in them, including the President's Own 
marine band. The audition for that  and other top bands is as tough as 
it is for major symponies. My old Chicago friend Dave Remington teaches 
jazz piano there and has for several years now.
I think this is a school that has proved its worth far more than its 
founder ever hoped for.
Don Ingle


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