BY LORAINE ANDERSON landerson@record-eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — INTERLOCHEN — Alternative country/folk rock singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile and Chicago blues maven Shemekia Copeland kick off the 2013 Interlochen Summer Arts Festival with back-to-back concerts, just as 2,500 students begin arriving from all over the world to attend the Interlochen Arts Camp.
The Carlile concert starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kresge Auditorium with opener Lone Bellow, an Americana/country/folk trio based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Copeland, who was crowned “Queen of the Blues” at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival, appears Wednesday night, also at 8 p.m. in Kresge.
The eight-week summer series runs to mid-August and features a wide variety of artists, among them Harry Connick Jr. and former Interlochen camper Josh Groban, whose performance with the Traverse City Symphony Orchestra already is sold out.
The series runs concurrently with the Interlochen Arts Camp, which attracts some 2,500 aspiring artists in grades 3 to 12 for programs in art, music, theater, dance, writing and motion picture productions. Programs range from one to six weeks long and most take place between June 22 and Aug. 5, during which students will be involved in more than 400 presentations.
Students, faculty and staff come from all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
Carlile, 32, started singing and performing in Seattle when she was 7. In 2004, she persuaded her twin brothers, Phil and Tim Hanseroth, to form a band with her and said she’d have a contract within a year, a promise she kept when the signed with Columbia Records. Her most recent album is “Bear Creek.”
Copeland grew up with the blues. Born in New York’s Harlem in 1979, she is the daughter of the late Texas guitarist Johnny Schemekia. She went on the road with her father at age 15 when his health began to fail and, three years later, cut her first album, “Turn Up the Heat,” with Alligator.
She is known for what reviewers have called her soulful “huge blast-furnace voice” and “volcanic delivery.” She has shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton and appeared in 2010 as an opening act for Taj Mahal. Her most recent album is “33 1/3.”
Groban isn’t the only Interlochen alum to appear on this year’s Summer Arts Festival. Former Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson, Avett Brothers cellist Joe Kwon and actor Torsten Johnson — all alumni of either Interlochen Arts Camp or its school-year sister, Interlochen Arts Academy, also will perform on the series.
Johnson joined the production of “Twelfth Night” for the inaugural year of the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival before going on to study at the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater program. Since graduating with his bachelor’s degree a year ago, he has performed in several productions with the American Players Theater in Wisconsin and most recently a production of “Much Ado About Nothing” with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.
He will play Hamlet in the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival scheduled for June 27-29 and July 3, 5 and 6.
Tickets for all shows are available online at http://tickets.interlochen.org or at the box office at 800-681-5920 or 231-276-7800. For more information on the festival, visit http://www.interlochen.org.