Adult Band Camp

August 12 – 15, 2021
Music. Learning. Escape.

Tuition $300

Registration opens January 4, 2021.

Experience the joy of learning and enhancing your music reading and performance skills in the supportive, encouraging, and peaceful environment at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, WI.

Known nationally and internationally for its summer music academy for aspiring young musicians, the Adult Band Camp at Birch Creek will branch out to serve the music performance desires of the adult learner. With a full daily schedule of band warm-ups, rehearsals, sectionals and masterclasses and ensembles, you will refine your music performance skills and still have time to enjoy the allure of quintessential Door County in late afternoon into the evenings. Study and perform music by day, and explore the County by taking in a show, concert or nature by night.

NEW THIS YEAR! Jazz Ensemble will be added to the Small Group option hour, in addition to an evening rehearsal each night. Led by Marty Robinson, Jazz Faculty Director of the academy’s Jazz Ambassadors during the Jazz II session, this ensemble will perform on the concert, on Sunday, August 15.  Be sure to list your first and second instrument, as well as your interest in being part of this ensemble on your application.


Adult musicians of intermediate or medium skill level or higher are encouraged to apply. Applications are accepted first come, first served. Audition assessments will take place for part rotation assignments. This will include major scales, sight reading, and an optional short prepared selection. This non-competitive program will foster skill-building and performance opportunities for the intermediate/medium level musician. Community band members and band directors are encouraged to apply.

Graduate Credit Option
If you are a teacher seeking graduate credit, VanderCook College of Music will be offering 3 graduate credits for a blended course entitled “Best Practices from the Podium.” Contact if you are interested. See following Course Description. To maintain the dynamic of the Adult Band Camp, the credit option will be available to only 20 percent of attendees.


Birch Creek Music Performance Center is located in Egg Harbor Wis., about an hour north of Green Bay, WI, in the tourist destination of Door County.  The campus is situated on 40 acres of property, where performances will be held in a century-old performance barn.

Check-in begins at 9:00 AM on Thursday, August 12, 2021 followed by auditions / interviews, lunch, orientation and the first class session on Thursday afternoon.

Each day begins with 8:00 AM breakfast followed by Warm-Up from 9:00-9:30 AM. Classes continue through the morning and afternoon, with appropriate breaks for meals, rehearsals, etc. Camp concludes with a final performance in the Dutton Performance Barn on Sunday, August 15, 2021. Participants may depart on the final day following the 2:00 PM concert, or choose to stay one more night, if staying onsite. Upon registration, you will be given a complete Daily Schedule for the four days of Adult Band Camp.

$300 (which includes instruction, breakfast and lunch for duration of session). All applications must be accompanied by a $75 non-refundable registration fee, which is applied to the basic fee. Balance of the fee must be paid by July 16, 2021. If written notice to withdraw arrives by August 1, 2021, all payments made, less the $75 deposit, will be considered for refund. Early registration is recommended.

Camp Policies
Birch Creek is a 501 c(3) with a mission to provide performance-based instruction to promising young musicians. Camp policies are in place to protect the health and well-being of all stakeholders, including adults and the public, and to protect Birch Creek property. Birch Creek is a smoke-free, vape-free, alcohol-free, drug-free environment. Weapons are not allowed.


Instructional Facilities
Participants will study, perform and learn in a number of campus rooms. Birch Creek offers an array of practice rooms, classrooms, lounges and the Dutton Performance Barn.


Limited housing is available on campus in hotel-style rooms located in our faculty dorm building and in student dorms (bunk-style). Rates for faculty housing rooms are $80 per night; bunk style beds are available for $30 per night. All rooms are available on a first come, first served basis. Spouses may stay onsite.

For participants who choose to stay offsite, you are advised to search for rooms/camp sites in Door County. Accommodations for participants are available at We strongly recommend early reservations as Door County is a very popular tourism destination in the summer, especially on the weekends.

Continental breakfasts and lunches are provided in the fee. Participants dine with Birch Creek instructional faculty in the campus dining room. Spouses of camp participants may purchase a meal package for a $50 fee. Dinners are on your own, off-site. Door County is known for its dining options, from very affordable to high end culinary experiences, many within a short driving distance from the campus.


Charles "Chip" Staley
Adult Band Camp Co-Director

Recently retired after 35 years of teaching. A National Board Certified Teacher with degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois, Staley continues to be a tireless advocate for music education. Staley founded ARTSpeaks, a grassroots organization dedicated to cementing the role of music as an essential component of a comprehensive education Staley also founded the Music and Memory Program for Metropolitan Family Services in DuPage. Staley is the recipient of the ASBDA Distinguished Band Director Award, the ILMEA Mary Hoffman Excellence in Teaching Award, the CYSO Music Inspiration Award, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Flag of Honor and the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jim Stombres
Jazz I Studio Band Director | Adult Band Camp Co-Director

St Charles, IL

2019 is Jim Strombres’ 31st season with Birch Creek. Stombres retired in 2015 after more than 30 years as director of bands in three suburban Chicago high schools, finishing his career at St. Charles North High School in St. Charles, Illinois. He holds a diploma in sacred music from the Moody Bible Institute, a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois State University, and a Master of Music Education degree from Northwestern University. He is active in the Illinois Music Educators Association and the Illinois Chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators. Under Stombres’ direction, the Naperville North Wind Ensemble performed at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival and received the DownBeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Wind Ensemble. Stombres is also a co-director of Birch Creek’s Adult Band Camp.

Steve Sveum
Jazz II Lab Band Director | Adult Band Camp Co-Director

Sun Prairie, WI

Steve Sveum is Director of Bands at Sun Prairie High School in Sun Prairie, WI, where jazz ensembles under his direction have been selected twelve times as finalists in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Essentially Ellington” national jazz competition, placing third three times. Sveum has been a faculty member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Band Director Academy and has worked as a clinician at festivals around the United States. He was also a 2014 recipient of the DownBeat Jazz Education Achievement award. This is Sveum’s 18th season at Birch Creek. He is also a co-director of Birch Creek’s Adult Band Camp.

Charles "Chip" Staley
Adult Band Camp Co-Director
Jim Stombres
Jazz I Studio Band Director | Adult Band Camp Co-Director
Steve Sveum
Jazz II Lab Band Director | Adult Band Camp Co-Director

Faculty subject to change.