This project originated in 1992 when I was 14 years old; ready to attend the Interlochen Arts Camp for the first time. I grew up a short distance away in Ludington Michigan, coming to Interlochen and meeting young musicians from not only all over the state but the world was tremendously life-changing. Even more transformative was spending two weeks in a life-altering experience of choral singing that my young brain had never experienced with a man named Jerry Blackstone.
Fast forward to September of 2017, I see a Facebook post of Jerry holding a sign that says, "LAST First day of school". I had the crazy idea to contact him to pursue if there were any projects about his career in the works. Long story short, there was not, and this project began at that moment!
Though I only spent about ten short weeks of combined time singing with Jerry in High School, it has had a lasting impact on my life. The music-making experience I was exposed to has changed me forever, elevating my perception of what is possible not just in music, but in creating relationships and community. The thousands of people he has inspired would agree that the world needs to know him too.
- Brian Gaukel, Director