It's Never Too Late to Give
Many young musicians find their way to Interlochen thanks to the encouragement of their beloved music teachers back home, but Sue Walter's (IAC/NMC '56–57) Interlochen story began a little differently.
"I flunked out of sixth grade choir," Sue says, describing her early music experience. She went home in tears and quit piano lessons, ready to give up on music forever. Thankfully, her mom pushed her to explore other possibilities, and in seventh grade Sue learned to play double bass, alongside seven high school boys. "I had a blast," Sue recalls, and her love of music was reborn.
A few years after she embraced the double bass, Sue spent two summers at Interlochen attending National Music Camp, where she felt like she had come home. For the first time, she says, "I realized I didn't have to be a pom-pom girl and go to football games, and I wasn't alone." More than 50 years later, Sue says that Interlochen changed her life.
An Experience of a Lifetime
Just as Sue learned that it's never too late to pick up a new instrument and start over, she recently learned that it's never too late to rethink her charitable giving plans. When an oil company approached the family about drilling for oil on their small wheat farm in Kansas, Sue realized that she might have more to give than she thought and began to think about setting up a trust. When her attorney asked if there were any organizations that she wanted to name as beneficiaries, Interlochen rose to the top of her list.
"Interlochen sets the standard for excellence in all aspects of life," Sue says. "Interlochen exposed us to the value of learning, of working hard and applying oneself. At Interlochen, we worked together to create beauty, we learned to appreciate the incredible talents of others regardless of race or creed, and we learned to support each other. Interlochen recognizes the spirit within people and gives them the opportunity for that to come out."
The values that took root at Interlochen have shaped Sue's life. As the mother of a young child in the 1960s, she led a grassroots effort to start Denver's first public television station, and she spent much of her career marketing and raising money for nonprofits and community organizations, including the Denver Public Library. She continues to work as a ski instructor and plays double bass with the Littleton Symphony Orchestra. She passed on her love of Interlochen to her daughter, Laura Landrum (IAC '79–80), who is also a camp alumna.
By sharing her story, Sue hopes others will see that including Interlochen in their estate plans is a simple way to make a difference, no matter the size of the gift. The chance to attend Interlochen was truly a gift for Sue in her youth. Her hope is that her planned gift today will help Interlochen continue to provide that gift for young artists in the future.