TRAVERSE CITY — The connection between poetry, music and water will be on full display when a local cellist and writer-come-fisherman pool their talents to raise money for FLOW, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes.
“In Praise of Water: The Mad Angler meets the Mad Cellist” features cellist Crispin Campbell and author Michael Delp, both of whom are retired faculty from the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
The event will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cathedral Barn at the Grand Traverse Commons. Tickets are $60 in advance and $70 at the door and include a commemorative CD with cover art by local artist Glenn Wolff.
All proceeds will support FLOW (For Love of Water) programs.
Delp will read from his collection of poetry and prose, while Campbell will play mostly improvised music that reacts to Delp’s poetry.
The nonprofit has hosted musical events in the past, but this is the first collaboration of Delp and Campbell, who both share a passion for the Great Lakes, said Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW.
“It was just a natural fit,” she said.
Delp, who was Interlochen’s creative writing director for many years, lives in Interlochen but spends much of his time at his cabin on the Boardman River, where he indulges his love of fly fishing. He comes by his Mad Angler nickname honestly.
“I’m mad about the state of the environment and the rivers,” Delp said. “Practically every river is under some kind of stress in the country.”
Campbell and Delp’s performance is the culmination of a recording project that the former co-workers have talked about for years.
“Last year we finally did some cuts in the studio,” Delp said. “It was really fun. I’m just mesmerized by Cris’ playing.”
Campbell taught at Interlochen for 38 years, mentoring students in classical cello and chamber music. He continues to teach at the academy’s summer cello institute and at several summer programs around the country. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Manitou Music Festival.
“I really believe in the principles that FLOW stands for,” Campbell said. “I think Mike’s poems relate very directly to the issues we’re facing with water.”
Founded in 2011, FLOW is involved in water privatization, infrastructure and pipeline issues, and works to raise awareness of the need to protect groundwater. The Traverse City-based organization advocates for statewide monitoring of septic systems, stopping or preventing the diversion of Great Lakes water to bottling companies and other states, the use of water refilling stations and more.
Music, poetry and stories work to create a sense of community that is needed to ensure the health of the Great Lakes, Kirkwood said.
“We feel very strongly that the arts play a fundamental role in connecting people with their love for the lakes,” she said.