Culver Girls Academy junior Olivia Martinez (Lowell, Ind.) spent six weeks playing the French horn a minimum of six hours every day – and loving every minute of it.
August 28, 2013

Martinez received a scholarship from the Artistic Fund, sponsored by Paul ’49 and Ellen Gignilliat, and went to the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. The camp, located at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a few miles southwest of Traverse City, Mich., gave Martinez the opportunity to immerse herself in her music.

Her days were spent practicing with the orchestra for more than two hours, then attending an elective music theory class, and ending with her assigned woodwind quintet for another two hours. There were some private lessons squeezed into the schedule as well. In the evenings, she would practice on her own or with a group of friends for another 90 minutes, Martinez said.

Olivia Martinez '15

Olivia Martinez ’15

“There were 15 horns at the camp, so were divided into three groups,” she said. “Ten of us also formed a horn choir.” Her woodwind quintet was comprised of a French horn, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, and flute.

But it wasn’t an all-work summer camp, she added. There was time to learn how to sail, go swimming in the camp’s two lakes, fish, and go to Lake Michigan for some time on the beach. She even found time to stay in shape for cross country – even though it wasn’t very long and came very early in the morning.

“There was a running club, so we would take off at 6:10 (a.m.) before everything started,” she said. With a normal day beginning at 6:45 and not slowing down until evening, her training time was limited.

Martinez’s biggest take-away from the six weeks was more mental than any special technique. And that mental approach sounds a lot like one a runner would take into a race. It came from camp instructor Kelly Drifmeyer and a quote she used from retired Chicago Symphony legend Dale Clevenger, also a horn player.

“We just talked for an hour. She gave me a different perspective,” Martinez said. “Playing at a high level is 90 percent mental. You have to think out the piece you are playing and be confident that 99 percent of the time you are going to hit that one note you need to.”

Her Interlochen experience reminded her of Culver Academies in many ways, she added. Both institutions have rich traditions and the students have the same drive. But where Interlochen is focused on the fine arts, Culver is more “whole person” oriented, she said, and she enjoys that balance.

“I am super grateful for the experience,” she said. “I would never have been able to go there, otherwise. I made a lot of new friends who are interested in the same thing I am. I can’t even keep track of all my new (Facebook) connections.”

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Posted in Alumni Culver Academies Fine Arts Student Life
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