Interlochen Summer Arts Stats
I awake to the sound of the PA system in Junior Boys resounding through the pine forest. At the crosswalk, hundreds of boys in blue and white cross with the crossing guards, nametags clinking as they go. By evening, it becomes clear to me that a literal city has popped up overnight. Welcome, Ladies and Gentelmen, to Interlochen Center for the Arts’ 83rd Summer Arts Camp!
There are literally thousands of people gathered for tonight’s opening ceremonies. I hear them cheering and stomping from ½ mile away. This summer, there are 49 states and 43 countries represented among the campers. Interlochen describes itself as the “oldest, most comprehensive and finest institution of the arts for all ages,” which might sound boastful until you realize that 27% of these campers here today will go on to be professionals in their arts areas (music, theatre, dance, visual arts, writing, motion picture arts).
This summer, the camp will go through 10,000 gallons of gas transporting people to and from the airport or the sand dunes; 20,000 rolls of toilet paper; serve 7,000 meals per day; scoop 26,000 ice cream cones; and fry 4 tons of French fries. It employs 260 faculty members (that’s me!) and 688 staff representing 41 states and 13 countries.
It’s Sunday, so we have to wear white shirts along with all our other uniform attire. The students additionally marked as follows: Day Students wear white belts, Junior Boys wear navy belts, Junior Girls wear navy knee-highs, Intermediate Boys wear red belts, Intermediate Girls wear red knee-highs, High School Boys wear light blue belts, High School Girls wear light blue knee-highs. For tonight’s ceremony, group pride is high and enthusiasm abounds.
The Intermediate Girls, in particular, have established a reputation for toggling a spare pare of red knee-highs like pom-poms above their heads. Their counselors lead the way, wearing red socks as headbands, red socks as wrist bracelets, red socks in addition to…you name it. Whenever someone says their group name or uses the word red, they leap and shriek and toggle their knee-highs, as evidenced here:
[This captures about 1/3 of the audience size]
Yup, those are my campers—Intermediate Writing Majors. We start with the basics tomorrow, then classes on Tuesday. Onward, ho!