2019 Chapman Stick Workshop

Personal note from Glenn


Boys of AS Cabin #1, 1977
Hello again everyone,

It's really been almost ten years since the first Interlochen Stick Workshop in 2009. I still remember it as if it had just happened. Emmett Chapman and Greg Howard were our instructors. Mallory-Towsley hadn't been built yet so we split our workshops between The Shed and The Writing House. I also remember that it poured rain for the duration of the event. In the end though, it was still a monster success. So now we get ready to celebrate 10 years at Interlochen. For my old friends who've attended prior workshops, hopefully it's an experience you just can't get enough of and your chomping to get back. For those who haven't attended, let me present my customary background letter.

The Interlochen Center for the Arts serves as both an accredited high school for performing arts as well as a summer arts camp for young arts students. Founded in 1928, Interlochen has been home to visitors from all over the world for nearly 100 years. As a young music student in Michigan, the opportunity to attend the summer arts camp was something we spent the school year striving for. The school music program in my home town offered partial scholarships for students who qualified to attend the camp. In my freshman year of high school, I was fortunate enough to be one of those students and in 1977, I made my first of three summer visits north to the Interlochen campus.

The environment was like no other place I had been or have been to since. The student body was made up of kids from all over the world. We immersed in music. The buglers blew reveille at the crack of dawn every day and after our breakfast on the beautiful shores of Duck Lake, we were off to rehearsals. We had two full ensemble rehearsals a day as well as sectional rehearsals and private lessons. We took breaks from the schedule in the afternoon for rest and physical activities (usually soccer) and also for our own practice time. In the evening, we either attended concerts or social gatherings. The concerts ranged from campus ensembles to national touring acts. In all of my years since then, I have always looked back at my summers at Interlochen as some of the greatest musical experiences of my life.

As an adult, I partnered up with Steve Osburn at Oz's Music to organize Stick Seminars in Ann Arbor and we made these an almost annual event from 1998 through 2008. During a visit to the Interlochen campus in 2008, I approached the then director of the Interlochen College of Creative Arts Matt Wiliford about holding a seminar on campus. Matt suggested we make the workshop part of their official curriculum and we kicked off the first one in 2009. The inaugural event featured Emmett Chapman and Greg Howard.

In order to keep the event fresh, Matt and I made the decision to make the Stick workshop a biennial event holding additional workshops in 2011, 2013, and 2015, and 2017, with instruction from Greg Howard, Bob Culbertson, Steve Adelson, Tom Griesgraber, Steve Osburn, and myself. Each event was a unique experience in and of itself and each was a great success. During the course of the long weekend, attending Stick players get to share the Interlochen campus with around 2500 top music students from all over the world ages 8 to 18. At all times of the day, there are students practicing in the woods, ensembles rehearsing in the various performance spaces, and performances happening all over campus. There is literally music everywhere. After the 2009 event, Emmett Chapman described Interlochen as "a Brigadoon". In 2011, Bob Culbertson described it as "Hogwartz for musicians".

Now in 2019, Betsy Braun is the director of the College of Creative Arts. The Stick event is still a biennial event and the next workshop will mark 10 years at Interlochen and 50 years of Emmett Chapman's "Free Hands" playing technique. To help celebrate, Emmett himself will be returning to Interlochen along with master players and teachers Steve Adelson and Greg Howard. The workshop will once again be held in the heart of the summer arts camp season and if the weather cooperates, we'll be able to take our meals on the shore of Green Lake and get in some social time in the north woods.

So please come join us in July. You might not want to go home afterward.

Sincerely,
Glenn Poorman

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