Summer 2013

Blue Lake expands its Musical Instrument Museum; adds keyboard exhibit and studio

Blue Lake’s Instrument Museum expansion, May 2013

One of the least-known, but interesting features of Blue Lake is its Musical Instrument Museum, which stands just a few yards away from Stewart Shell.  The Museum offers support to the camp’s curriculum by introducing campers to the developmental history of wind, string, and percussion instruments, as well as examples of instruments from around the world.

The Museum was founded in the very first year of the camp’s existence by Gilbert Stansell, the father of Blue Lake’s Founder and President, Fritz Stansell.

This Spring, Blue Lake completed a large expansion of the Museum which adds more than 750 square feet of space to the building’s footprint.  It will be used to house a keyboard exhibit and to act as a studio space for small groups of piano majors or other ensembles from time to time.  The centerpiece of this room will be a recently acquired Henry Willis Scudamore organ.

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Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp receives grants for scholarships, programs

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp has received a number of grants from the State of Michigan, the federal government, and private and community foundations for the support of its programs during the 2013 season.

Blue Lake received one of 312 grants approved by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for the fiscal year 2013.  The Council awarded a total of $5,675,400 to arts organizations across the state.  A portion of Blue Lake’s award was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Blue Lake’s Opera Department presents Bizet’s Doctor Miracle     

Lonel Woods and Susan Ruggiero in Blue Lake’s 2012 production of Puccini’s La bohème.

Now in its eighth season, the Blue Lake Opera Department, under the direction of Dr. James Niblock, will present a production of Georges Bizet’s one act comic opera, Le docteur Miracle (Doctor Miracle), during the 2013 season. The Stage Director for the production is David Little, a member of Blue Lake’s Theater faculty.  Ramon Catalan is Assistant Conductor and Pianist.  Two performances will be given at Blue Lake’s Miller Theater during each of the camp sessions.  The opera will be sung in French with English supertitles.

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Walter Verdehr and Friends to present two recitals at Blue Lake’s Rose Theater

Violinist Walter Verdehr will return to Blue Lake during the 2013 season for two recitals at the Rose Theater.  The first will take place on Sunday, June 30, at 7:30 p.m.  Dr. Verdehr will be joined by German violinist, Ulf Hoelscher.  On Monday, July 15, at 7:15 p.m., special guest cellists Carl Donakowski and Hamilton Berry will be Dr. Verdehr’s collaborators, along with Blue Lake Faculty members Igor Kalnin, concertmaster of the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra, and violists Roman Kosarev and Mikhail Bugaev.  At both recitals, selections from the works of William Shakespeare will be recited by Ken Beachler.

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Grand Rapids Symphony and Blue Lake Monster to present benefit concerts for Blue Lake Public Radio

The annual appearance of the Grand Rapids Symphony and two concerts marking the triumphant return of the Blue Lake Monster jazz big band will be given for the benefit of Blue Lake Public Radio during the 2013 Summer Arts Festival.

BLPR 30th logo.jpgThe Grand Rapids Symphony, conducted by Music Director David Lockington, will perform an Italian-themed program on Saturday, July 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Blodgett Recital Hall.  “The Return of the Monster: A Night of Classic Big Band Jazz” will be presented at Stewart Shell on the evenings of Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10, at 7:30 p.m.  Under the direction of Bill McFarlin, the Monster will be joined by acclaimed jazz vocalist Edye Evans Hyde.

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Remembering Blue Lake’s Friends. . . .

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp would like to pay tribute to the memory of these friends who have contributed significantly to its success through the years.  We are grateful for their support, dedication, and enthusiasm.  They will be greatly missed.

Kovats photo.tif Dan Kovats (1931-2012)
Dan Kovats was Blue Lake’s founding orchestra conductor and led the 1976, 1978, and 1981 European tours of the Blue Lake International Youth Symphony Orchestra and the 1982 tour of the International Concert Band.  Dan’s composition, Blue Lake Forever, now played annually at camp, was premiered in 2001.  “I taught at Blue Lake for 23 summers,” Kovats remembered in 2010.  “All of them were wonderful.” 
West photo.tif Dr. George West (1931-2013)
“Doc” West founded Blue Lake’s Jazz Program in 1971 and remained a member of the faculty here for 35 years.  George led 15 different Blue Lake Jazz ensembles on tours of Europe for the International Exchange Program.  Hundreds of talented Blue Lake campers benefited from his tutelage, many of whom went on to successful careers as jazz musicians and educators.
Jansma photo.jpg Ray Jansma (1920-2013)
During Blue Lake’s early years, Ray was frequently seen on camp, often providing graphic design work, including the first comprehensive map of the camp.  Ray’s remarkable creativity extends to all his children and grandchildren.  Three generations of Jansmas have been enthusiastic participants at Blue Lake.  Their oldest son, Tim, a distinguished violin maker, is a member of Blue Lake’s Board of Trustees.

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Blue Lake’s 2013 Summer Arts Festival offers band and orchestra concerts, recitals, and Haydn’s The Creation

The 2013 Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Summer Arts Festival Season will open with the presentation of Franz Joseph Haydn’s oratorio The Creation.  The performance will take place in William Stewart Memorial Shell on Friday, June 14, at 7:00 p.m.  The Blue Lake International Choir, Alumni Choir, and International Youth Symphony Orchestra will be led by Michael Klaue.  The soloists will be soprano Sabrina Laney Warren, tenor Zachary Vanderburg, and baritone Joseph Roberts.

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Blue Lake announces its third Alumni Day taking place on Saturday, August 3

Blue Lake campers, ca. 1968

A special invitation is extended to past Blue Lake campers, staff and faculty for our third annual Alumni Day. Scheduled for Saturday, August 3, 2013, Alumni Day will provide the opportunity to renew old friendships, tour the camp’s new facilities, and show your support for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

Alumni Day attendees are encouraged to register in advance at or by calling (800) 221-3796.  Registration is free and family members are welcome!


1:00 p.m. Registration Opens. Student Arts Center Lobby
  Guided Tours.  Departing from Student Arts Center lobby with last tour
commencing at 5:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m. Department Tours. Guided visits to camp departments will depart from the Student Arts Center lobby. An opportunity to observe one of our camp departments in action.
5:00 p.m.   Goldsworthy Park Band. A special Alumni Day concert by the Goldsworthy Park Band directed by Dr. Nancy Vogt. Gilbert Stansell Bandstand
6:00 p.m.  Blue Lake Alumni Reception.Student Arts Center Lobby
8:00 p.m. Haydn Creation. . Performed by the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra, Staff Choir, Alumni Choir and International Choir, under the direction of Michael Klaue.

Don’t miss Experience Blue Lake, coming to Ann Arbor July 22-24, 2013

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp’s fifth Experience Blue Lake event will be held at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium July 22-24, 2013. This annual event will feature performances by the Blue Lake International Youth Symphony Orchestra, International Choir, and International Jazz Orchestra.  The centerpiece of Experience Blue Lake will be a performance on Tuesday, July 23, of Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation by the Blue Lake International Choir, Alumni Choir, and International Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Klaue. The soloists will be soprano Sabrina Laney Warren, tenor Zachary Vanderburg, and baritone Joseph Roberts.

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A New Health Lodge for Blue Lake

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is proud to announce plans to break ground on a new Health Lodge in the Fall of 2014.

The long-awaited 4,500 sq. ft. facility will address the significant limitations of our current 40-year-old building and serve the expanding health and first aid needs for more than 6,000 student campers each summer.

With an estimated cost of $1,000,000, more than $150,000 has been raised to-date through the generous support of Blue Lake parents, alumni and donors. An additional $500,000 has been committed by the Blue Lake Board of Trustees, with a balance of $350,000 needed to complete funding for the project.

How You Can Help

To make a pledge or to learn more about the new Blue Lake Health Lodge, log on to

Naming opportunities are available and all contributions are fully tax deductible. Thank you for considering a gift as we work to complete funding for this critically needed facility.