Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Friday

August 9, 2013

Arts camp echoes for Groban

TRAVERSE CITY — Don't expect Josh Groban to wear Interlochen blue when he performs there Monday — but don't be surprised if he sports his old Interlochen badge, either.

The multi-platinum singer attended Interlochen Arts Camp in 1997 and 1998 and has deeply etched memories of his time there.

"It was a goal of mine to go to a great theater college," said Groban, who focused on musical theater at Interlochen and partially credits his experience there for giving him the foundation that made him who he is today. "We knew, my parents and I, that Interlochen was one of the best training camps in the country. I had the most extraordinary time. It was just two summers, but there's a flood of memories from them."

Back then, there was no sign of the super-stardom to come. In fact, Groban recalls hanging around the campus picnic tables and at Melody Freeze with other campers, attending shows by artists like Willie Nelson, James Taylor and Bela Fleck, and singing the chorus role of "broom sweep number seven" in his first Interlochen production, "Sweeney Todd."

"Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be standing on the Kresge stage, performing by myself," said the Los Angeles native, who recently wrapped up three sold-out nights at The Hollywood Bowl. "Any time you go back and play where you saw shows as a kid, you kind of get a little nervous. But mostly I'm excited and happy. You just pinch yourself that you have such a full-circle moment. It's so rare."

Groban, also a songwriter, musician, record producer and actor — he currently stars in the feature film "Coffee Town" — will perform with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in a sold-out show that spans all six of his albums. The orchestra received charts about six weeks ago, but won't know which of them Groban will pull from until rehearsals before the show, said Rick Jaissle, the TSO's manager of operations and orchestra personnel.

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