Education and Engagement

Our Commitment

The Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival is proud of its dedication to a positive influence in the broader community of Detroit and the metro area. That commitment manifests itself in many ways, reaching a broad spectrum of residents, from pre-school to senior citizens. We are committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The Festival is actively cultivating new audiences and supporting diverse and emerging artists with our pre-concert events that go beyond patronage to partnerships. We believe that the result of these efforts will broaden our reach within Southeast Michigan and position us as a “connector” of culture and community.

Intern Programs

The Festival is also dedicated to fostering the next generation of arts administrators. For the past several years, our organization has hired college-age interns to assist with administrative tasks in Marketing and Development, Box Office and Production during the Festival each summer. With support from MCACA’s “New Leaders Arts Council of Michigan Retention and Engagement” program, opportunities for professional development have flourished through this grant funding–not only to help underwrite stipends, but to give them greater access to resources that teach them about interviewing, donor engagement and public speaking.


Three of our current staff members were first introduced to us as interns or apprentices.

Activities During the Festival

As the Festival has grown, so too has our responsibility to the community in which we live and work. The 2021 Festival included activities in many non-traditional spaces:


·         A concert in cooperation with Southwest Solutions at Piquette Square, a residence for homeless veterans in Detroit

·         Educational services for elementary students in the Pontiac Schools, in partnership with Accent Pontiac, with support from the Filmer Trust

·         Performances at numerous senior citizen centers throughout metropolitan Detroit

·         A concert for doctors, patients, staff and families in Henry Ford Hospital

·         A concert and luncheon at Detroit’s St. Matthew’s & St. Joseph’s Church, one of Detroit’s oldest African-American congregations

·         A seminar, open rehearsal and question/answer session on non-verbal communication with Viano String Quartet for medical students at Wayne State University


The Festival maintains an ongoing relationship with the Sphinx organization. Each year, Sphinx provides a young ensemble to act as apprentices, participating along with Shouse ensembles in coachings and performance opportunities. For 2021, the role was filled by the Ivalas Quartet, four wonderful young string players from the University of Michigan.

These activities are an extension of services that the Festival has taken over the last several years to spread more thoroughly throughout our community. For example, in the summer of 2018, we partnered with such disparate organizations as Holy Redeemer Church (Southwest Detroit), Slow Roll and the Charles H. Wright Museum. At the latter, we commissioned an African American classical composer, a jazz trio, a hip-hop artist and an electronic musician to each create their take on a seminal piece of art in the Museum’s collection.

Activities During the Year

Festival artists participate throughout the year in a number of educational and engagement activities. Recent education programs include residencies in the Bloomfield Hills, Pontiac and Dearborn Schools. In the latter, the Festival delivered a program entitled “Code to Compose,” simultaneously teaching students how to write music and computer code. Festival musicians also provided services at Detroit’s Holy Redeemer School. Funding for these programs has come from a variety of sources, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Filmer Trust and a number of generous individual donors.