Birch Creek Offers Two Music Programs for Adults

Posted June 14, 2019

Birch Creek Music Performance Center, nationally known for its summer music academy for advanced student high school musicians, has expanded its programming to include two music programs for adults: Adult Band Camp (August 15-18) and Chamber Music Retreat (August 22-24.)

“Wow! What a fantastic experience I had at Adult Band Camp,” said Carl Rauch, 2018 Adult Band Camp Student.

The Adult Band Camp, offered for it’s third time this summer from August 15-18, has attracted adult musicians from five 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, 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.

The Chamber Music Retreat, offered for the first time at Birch Creek on August 22-24, is accepting applications from adult musicians of an intermediate playing ability and higher. Ricardo Castañeda, program director for Birch Creek’s Symphony Session along with Emmalee Holmes-Hicks, faculty violinist, are program coordinators. Designed for wind, string and piano ensembles, adult musicians will study with faculty/performing artists Thursday through Saturday.

Onsite dorm housing is available on a first come first served basis for both programs. Both programs culminate with concert performances that are free and open to the public. The Adult Band Camp concert takes place on Sunday, August 18 at 2:00 PM in the Dutton Concert Barn. Chamber Music Retreat musicians will perform in Juniper Hall on Saturday, August 24 at 7:00PM.

See the Birch Creek website, for in depth faculty bios, registration information, housing, instruction and more.

Adult Band Camp Faculty Co-Directors:

Chip Staley, Naperville, IL recently 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 third 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’ 31st season with Birch Creek.

Steve Sveum, Sun Prairie, WI is the Director of Bands at Sun Prairie High School where jazz ensembles under his direction have been selected 12 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 Mr. Sveum’s 17th season as a faculty member at Birch Creek.

Members of New Horizons International Music Association are eligible for a discounted registration.

Chamber Music Retreat Faculty include:

String Quartet – Birch Creek Faculty*

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, Violin, Providence, RI*
Elizabeth York, Violin, Saint Paul, MN*
Vannia Phillips, Viola, Chicago, IL
Margaret Daly, Cello, Park Ridge, IL

Woodwind Quintet

Shannon Finney, Flute, Kansas City, MO*
Ricardo Castañeda, Oboe, Oak Park, IL*
Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, Clarinet, Chicago, IL
John Gaudette, Bassoon, Chicago, IL*
Jeremiah Frederick, French Horn, Chicago, IL


Jodie DeSalvo, Piano, Naples, FL*

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is located in Egg Harbor, Wis. The residential summer music academy features faculty performing artists, and advanced student musicians from around the country. Concerts are offered all year round.  For more information: