For Dan Trahey (All-State 1992, 1995, tuba), “Interlochen is more than a summer memory. It’s a benchmark.”
Every year, he re-evaluates his artistic passion at the Interlochen Bowl, making sure it isn’t less than when he was at Camp. This past summer, however, Trahey wasn’t alone. He was joined by 10 eager first-time Camp students from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “OrchKids.”
Trahey is the artistic director of OrchKids—a year-round music program for pre-K through high school-age students. He has been with the program since the Orchestra’s music director, Marin Alsop, founded it in 2008. Now in 2015, OrchKids benefits nearly 825 inner-city children at five Title I public schools in West and East Baltimore.
Along with community partners like the Baltimore City Public Schools, OrchKids provides instruments, academic instruction, music education, daily meals, and mentorship and performance opportunities. It is both a social program and music program, with a mission that shifts depending on the community’s needs.
The OrchKids’ have many accomplishments, from performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to touring ten states. They have performed with Renée Fleming, Roger Waters, Hilary Hahn, Pink Martini, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and have been featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” on PBS and in The New York Times. The program also received a 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.
Trahey, raised in Traverse City, understands the importance of this Interlochen opportunity. “All-State was my first experience working with diverse students from another culture and race; it was my first exposure to diversity,” he said.
Trahey said he has high hopes for the OrchKids this fall. He hopes their leadership skills improve and their individual playing and commitment to instruments become stronger. He also hopes they learn that people all over the world play the same instruments and that the OrchKids are not alone. And when they return to Baltimore, Trahey hopes they will become even stronger mentors to their fellow students.
Interlochen Admissions and Financial Aid Director Jerrod Price said Interlochen is the perfect place to realize such hopes. “Interlochen is a place where, whatever your social and cultural background, if you have the talent, you will find success. OrchKids have the talent and training,” Price said. “It is a joy to watch students from varied cultural backgrounds learn from each other and make each other better.”
Trahey, when asked whether he envisions bringing more students next summer, said he plans to bring a busload—plus another bus for their parents—so that parents can see their children play side by side with students from across the world.