TRAVERSE CITY — Singing superstar Josh Groban will return to northern Michigan this summer backed by none other than the Traverse Symphony Orchestra.
The powerhouse vocalist and jazz great Harry Connick Jr. top the 2013 Summer Arts Festival A-list at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Other acts on the festival lineup include The Avett Brothers, ZZ Top, Garrison Keillor, Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson, Melissa Etheridge, Steve Miller Band, Brandi Carlile, Dwight Yoakum and original Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks with Wilson Phillips.
The festival, June 25-Aug. 17, features 30 major performances and a slew of student shows from dance and theater to film and visual arts.
“We try to offer a really diverse (series) to take advantage of the different people we get in the summer,” said Rory Baker, interim director of Interlochen Presents. “There’s no formula. You try to put together a season that offers something for everyone.”
Besides Groban, an Interlochen Arts Camp alum whose first five solo albums went multi-platinum, Baker said he’s most excited about Connick Jr. (July 16) and the indie folk-rock-pop group The Avett Brothers (July 1), both making their Interlochen debuts.
“I think people will be really surprised by The Avett Brothers,” he said of the up-and-coming North Carolina-based band featuring another Camp alum, cellist Joe Kwon. “They’re very high energy and they put on a fantastic show. They’re selling out venues wherever they go.”
Connick has sold more than 25 million records worldwide while earning 10 number one jazz albums — more than any other U.S. jazz artist. His talent and versatility also have won him three Grammy Awards, two Emmy Awards and two Tony nominations.
Groban, known for hits like “You Raise Me Up” and “The Prayer,” requested to be backed by an Interlochen student orchestra if possible, Baker said. But the singer’s Aug. 12 show falls between Interlochen Arts Camp and Academy seasons, when student musicians are unavailable. So Interlochen turned to the Traverse Symphony Orchestra instead.