Community Outreach

In addition to Birch Creek’s nightly and matinee schedule of 30 ticketed concerts, 33 free community concerts were held in summer 2022 with audiences of more than 4,225. Community concerts directly serve our performance-based mission by broadening the number of performance opportunities and venues for Birch Creek students. These outreach concerts enhance our commitment to community and accessibility for all to the arts. The business and civic associations of nearby Door County towns and villages host Birch Creek’s free concerts and promote them as cultural events that support area tourism and expose local residents, without cost, to enriching musical experiences. In addition to larger concerts in town parks, a small jazz combo performs for local businesses, senior centers, farmers markets and area non-profit organizations on the Door County peninsula.

Artists in the Schools

Birch Creek independently sustains an outreach program that reaches Door County public school music students each year. Birch Creek faculty members conduct seminars, perform, and demonstrate techniques based on the students’ learning levels. The willingness of our summer faculty members and public school music teachers to partner together for student learning has made this educational outreach program a success.

Since 2002, Birch Creek’s Artists in the Schools outreach program (AIS) has brought nationally acclaimed Birch Creek faculty members back to Door County after the summer performances have concluded to serve as clinicians for local public school music students. Faculty members offer powerful insights into music practice and performance, and through hands-on teaching demonstrate techniques that are immediately applied in the classroom. In 2022 Artists in the Schools was named after retired educator, Birch Creek volunteer, past board president and member, Lolly Ratajczak.

Artists in the Schools was launched in 2002 with the support of a grant from the Peninsula Arts Association and has continued as a Birch Creek outreach program each year since then. The program continues to bring nationally recognized musicians into Door County schools for hands-on workshops.

Faculty Members in the Schools

Since 2002, the following Birch Creek faculty members have participated in Artists in the Schools:

2022 (October)
Jazz Combo
Jeff Campbell (Jazz I & Jazz II Program Director and Bass Faculty), Rick Haydon (Jazz II Guitar Faculty) and Reggie Thomas (Jazz II Faculty)

2019 (October)
Jazz Combo
Jeff Campbell (Jazz I & Jazz II Program Director and Bass Faculty), Rick Haydon (Jazz II Guitar Faculty) and Reggie Thomas (Jazz II Faculty-at-Large)

2019 (February)
A Tribute to Jazz
Katie Ernst (Jazz, Vocalist & Bass Performer), Tom Vaitsas (piano), Dustin Laurenzi (tenor saxophone) and Neil Hemphill (drums)

Classical, Contemporary and Broadway Musicals
Jodie DeSalvo (Symphony Faculty, Piano) and Jonathan Zeng (Guest Artist, Tenor)

The Language of Jazz
Birch Creek faculty members Jeff Campbell, Ben Wahlund and Ricardo Castaneda
Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon (Jazz Faculty)

Jeff Campbell Returns to Door County
Jeff Campbell, Jazz Program Director

World Percussion
Ben Wahlund, Jeff Stitley & Mike Mixtacki (Percussion & Steel Band Faculty)

The Sounds of Music
Jeff Campbell (jazz faculty), Ben Wahlund (Percussion & Steel Band faculty) & Ricardo Castañeda (symphony faculty)

Jazz Grooves
Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon (jazz faculty)

Jazz in Juniper
Jeff Campbell, Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon (jazz faculty)

Building Jazz Timing
Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon (jazz faculty)

The Rhythm of Jazz
Jeff Campbell, Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon (jazz faculty)

Time/Feel and Groove
Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon
(jazz faculty)

2006 (November)
Life Beyond the Blue Scales
Reggie Thomas & Rick Haydon (jazz faculty)

2006 (February)
Afro-Cuban & Brazilian Drum Circles and the Three Rs of Musicianship
Vicki Peterson Jenks (percussion & steel band faculty)

Jazz Bands and Flute Ensembles
Jeff Campbell & Kaye Wagner (jazz faculty and executive director)

Brass Clinics and the Art of Productive Performance
Greg Flint (symphony faculty)

Brass Ensembles and Marimbas
Fred Strum & Dane Richeson (percussion & steel band faculty)

World Music and Steelpan
Liam Teague & Robert Chappell (percussion & steel band faculty)