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Percussion student taps into Interlochen's academics

"I try to practice room about three hours a day," said Percussion major Adriano Macciocchi. "It's hard because you have to balance your academics you have to study for that math test tomorrow."

Adriano Macciocchi is a junior in high school, and he's also a percussion major. The teen is from California, but is in the middle of his second year in northern Michigan attending boarding school at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He, along with students there, take math and science classes just like they would at a regular high school, but in addition to that, they receive high quality artistic training.

"I try to practice room about three hours a day," said Macciocchi. "It's hard because you have to balance your academics you have to study for that math test tomorrow."

While students are encouraged to further their musical training beyond the academy, the skills they learn here can transfer to other areas.

"People who get a deep musical training also go on to do well in other fields," explained Tom Bara, Assistant Director of the Music Department. "The amount of commitment it takes to get to where you're playing at the highest level and collaborate with other musicians, those are transferable skills that end up serving people well even if they don't end up going into music."

Macciocchi plans to double major in percussion and cultural anthropology when he gets to college.

"I want to explore social issues in other countries and use percussion to apply to that and work in slums and use music for young children to try to drive them out of the slums and give them passion to be doing something better with their lives."

Interlochen's music department has more than 250 students enrolled, each taking part in the band, orchestra, or choir.

"It's amazing," said Macciocchi. "I don't think any public school would really give you that. Everyone here is loving what they're doing, and they want to work to do that work, and they have the drive to do it."

The teachers agree that the school provides an inspiring atmosphere. Many of them started as campers and were drawn back to educate.

"Coming as a student was a life-changing experience for me," Bara affirmed. "When this position opened up and I had the potential to come back and complete the circle, so to speak, to be a teacher and provide that same opportunity for students, it was a no-brainer personally."

"It's very inspiring," said Macciocchi. "My percussion teacher is incredible. He's so passionate. You can really tell he cares about each and everyone of his students. It's special."

The percussion ensemble will be performing a concert in tribute to longtime Interlochen Arts Academy Percussion instructor John Alfieri on February 5.

That'll take place at the Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall. Tickets are ten dollars.

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