Birch Creek Offers Two Music Programs for Adult Musicians

Posted May 16, 2022

EGG HARBOR, Wis. (May 16, 2022) – Birch Creek Music Performance Center, nationally known for its summer music academy for advanced student high school musicians, is again offering programming this summer to include two music programs for adults: Wind Ensemble Retreat (formerly Adult Band Camp) (August 16-19) and Chamber Music Retreat (August 22-25).

“Great facility, terrific instructors, and staff!” said Bob Gellman, 2021 Adult Band Camp student.

“Good opportunity to continue playing with an ensemble while we’re up here in Door County,” Gellman added. Now called Wind Ensemble Retreat, the program is being offered for the fifth time this summer and has attracted adult musicians from eight different states. Past attendees are community band members, band teachers and other active amateur players; all enjoy the love of music-making and the retreat setting at Birch Creek. Co-directors are Charles (Chip) Staley and Birch Creek’s Jazz Band Directors, Jim Stombres and Steve Sveum. Active instrumentalists are encouraged to apply, as there is still availability in most band sections.

Adult Band Camp at Birch Creek Music Performance Center

The Chamber Music Retreat, offered for the third time at Birch Creek, is accepting applications from adult musicians of intermediate playing ability and higher. Ricardo Castañeda, program director for Birch Creek’s Symphony Session along with assistant coordinator, Elizabeth York, faculty violinist, will head up this year’s retreat. Designed for wind, string and piano ensembles, adult musicians will study with faculty/performing artists Monday through Thursday.

Onsite dorm housing is available on a first come, first served, basis for both programs. Each program culminates with a free, public concert performance. The Wind Ensemble Retreat concert takes place on Friday, August 19 at 2:00 PM in the Dutton Concert Barn. Chamber Music Retreat musicians will perform in Juniper Hall on Thursday, August 25 at 2:00 PM.

Chamber Music Retreat

Visit for in-depth faculty bios, registration information, housing, instruction and more.

Wind Ensemble Retreat Faculty Co-Directors:

Charles “Chip” Staley, Naperville, IL is retired after 35 years of teaching. 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. This is his fifth summer with Birch Creek.

Jim Stombres, St. Charles, IL is retired after more than 30 years as director of bands in three suburban Chicago high schools, finishing his career at St. Charles North High School, St. Charles, IL. He is active in the Illinois Music Educators Association and the Illinois Chapter of International Association of Jazz Educators. This is Mr. Strombres’ 34th season with Birch Creek.

Steve Sveum, Sun Prairie, WI, is the retired Director of Bands at Sun Prairie High School in Sun Prairie, WI, where jazz ensembles under his direction were 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 19th season at Birch Creek.

Chamber Music Retreat Director:

Ricardo Castañeda
2022 marks Ricardo Castañeda’s 25th year at Birch Creek. Castañeda is currently Principal Oboist with the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Sinfonietta, and solo English Horn with The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a member of the Chicago Ensemble and Barossa Woodwind Quintet. An active freelance musician, Castañeda enjoys performing all genres of music. He has played with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater and has been principal oboist for orchestras for The Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and Joffrey Ballet, as well as numerous Broadway in Chicago shows.

Chamber Music Retreat Faculty include:

String Quartet – Birch Creek Faculty

Elizabeth York, Violin, Saint Paul, MN
Carol Dylan, Violin, Crystal Lake, IL
Amanda Grimm, Viola, Chicago, IL
Emily Mantell, Cello, Orland Park, IL

Woodwind Quintet 

Janice MacDonald, Flute, Chicago, IL
Ricardo Castañeda, Oboe, Oak Park, IL
Katherine Kohler, Clarinet, Nashville, TN
John Gaudette, Bassoon, Chicago, IL
Dan O’Connell, Horn, Chicago, IL

Susan Tang, Piano, Chicago, IL

Birch Creek Music Performance Center celebrates its 47th year as Door County’s Residential Summer Music Academy in Egg Harbor, WI, for advanced young musicians. With a performance emphasis, students are taught by nationally known performers and educators during the day and perform alongside them in concerts at night. Four sessions focus on Percussion & Steel Band, Symphony, and Big Band Jazz.