This summer, tenth-grader Daniel Solowey spent six weeks “sharp”ening his clarinet skills at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. At the program, he won a Fine Arts Award for his musical abilities.
Solowey first began his musical journey when he was 4 years old, first with the violin. According to Solowey, he quickly discovered that it was not the instrument for him and moved on to study the piano. At age 10, he wanted to learn to play the saxophone, but decided to start with the clarinet after receiving advice from a local music store.
Solowey’s parents grew up playing music themselves and both currently play in the Sarasota Orchestra. “After seeing and hearing them practice so much as a child, I wanted to be just like them,” Solowey said. They told him about the summer program and recommended it to him after his cousin participated.
To get into the Interlochen Arts Camp program, Solowey had to submit a written application and an audition tape of him playing scales as well as a few pieces of music. Once accepted into the program, he selected a few courses to study, focusing on Clarinet Performance. Solowey played clarinet in a chamber ensemble with a woodwind quintet and in a large ensemble with the World Youth Wind Symphony. His elective, known as Alexander Technique, enabled him to study how to minimize the amount of energy exerted to make simple movements, such as standing up from a chair or from laying down. Solowey said, “It was extremely beneficial because we learned about the basics of how to hold your head up, get up from chairs and from laying down without any tension in your body.”
Solowey won the Fine Arts Award by demonstrating artistry at an extreme level in his classes and performances. The award recognizes artists in the High School Division of the camp for high achievement during the six week session. The Fine Arts award was bestowed upon 56 students out of the 600 high school students present. “I felt so honored to receive this award at camp, mostly because it was my first year there and I wasn’t expecting a newbie to be recognized. As I heard my friends cheering for me when I went up on stage I couldn’t help but remember five weeks [ago] before I even knew them.”
His Pine View Band instructor, Victor Mongillo, said, “It’s easy to say Daniel is the type of student every music teacher dreams of. Not only is he a dedicated musician but he inspires all of the students around him.” He currently plays first chair clarinet for wind ensemble in the Pine View Band.
Solowey said, “I really loved being immersed in the artistry being created by the staff and students 24/7. That is a memory I’ll definitely take with me everywhere. I loved that there could be a group of people randomly jamming out right outside my cabin and they’d be improvising everything. I loved being able to see my friends perform and being blown away by their talents.”