Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for the Birch Creek Community

This page will be updated regularly to keep our patrons informed about the latest news from the Birch Creek campus.

Message from Birch Creek Executive Director, Mona Christensen, and Board of Trustees President, Miriam Erickson

April 24, 2020

After careful review of available information relating to the impact of COVID-19, the Birch Creek Board of Trustees and Executive Director have unanimously voted to cancel Birch Creek’s 2020 summer season, including all events, programs, sessions, and performances from June 1 through August 10.

Birch Creek administrative staff, and the board members who guide them, have always had at the heart of their decision making the safety of the students who study there, the communities who visit their campus, attend concerts, teach, work, and volunteer there.

The health and safety of those who live on Birch Creek’s campus and those from the larger community of music lovers who join them each summer was the board’s highest priority when making this difficult decision to close. In any given summer, talented students, staff, and faculty from across the nation convene on the Egg Harbor campus in the heart of Door County to collaborate in a life-changing teaching-learning environment. Birch Creek offers 30 concerts in eight weeks, plus numerous free outreach performances off-campus throughout Door County. In all, Birch Creek reached over 17,000 people between paid and free concerts last year. The impact of a Birch Creek summer academy cancellation in the Door County community is profound. “We are heartbroken,” said Executive Director Mona Christensen.

In 2019, Birch Creek enrolled 173 students from eight states and six countries; employed 87 summer faculty from 15 states; and hired 20 interns and counselors from around the Midwest. Students and faculty travel to Birch Creek from across the US and abroad. The massive speed and spread of COVID-19 has caused the music academy to rethink the efficacy of long-distance travel, residential living accommodations, and bringing large audiences together. Even with the most stringent health and safety protocols in place, the organization cannot fully mitigate risk. These safety issues, together with widespread concern facing Birch Creek’s constituencies of older populations and the families of students, point to significant challenges in maintaining the high-quality programming for which Birch Creek is known.

Students are the heart of Birch Creek’s mission and safety at the core of its operations. The overarching guidance from the Board of Trustees is to follow a response to the coronavirus pandemic that plans wisely for both the immediate season and the economic health of the coming years. For 44 years, Birch Creek has given young artists a most powerful environment to connect with one another, study with world-class faculty and build life-long friendships. “We are devastated that we will not have the opportunity to share that Birch Creek legacy this summer,” began Christensen, “but we are prepared to meet this challenge with creativity, with families, students, patrons, donors, faculty, sponsors and volunteers in mind.”

Cancellations and Postponements

  • Summer Concerts – June 18 – August 8 – Cancelled
  • Legacy Circle Gathering – June 20 – Postponed, new date to be determined

Summer Academy Sessions 2020 (June 14 – August 10)


Birch Creek Online – Summer Academy

The 2020 Residential Academy was closed this summer, however, from June 22 – July 31, we offered online music instruction for young music students in Percussion & Steel Band, Symphony, Jazz I and Jazz II.  We invited students to join us in Birch Creek Online, a virtual music and performing experience and the results were inspiring. Birch Creek faculty transformed on-campus program rehearsals, masterclasses and lessons into virtual experiences that combined the joy and intensity of the Birch Creek campus setting with an interactive experience of summer music instruction.

Birch Creek Online – Studio Sessions

New program offerings for today’s musician! Whether you are a music student preparing for a musical career, an amateur musician wanting to learn more, or a professional  musician wanting to glean from cohorts in the trenches, these studio classes will provide current, relevant and important information for you! Taught by nationally and internationally known professional musicians, you will take away valuable insights and practical tips for all musical genres. Join us for one or all of these upcoming classes. $35 per one hour class; $120 for all four Jazz  sessions. Now accepting registrations!

October 17 – Effective Mindful Practice with Renée-Paule Gauthier

October 24 – From Artifacts to Artistry in Jazz with Todd Williams
October 31 – From the Practice Room to the Stage with Doug Stone
November 7 – Getting a Grip on Harmony with David Bixler
November 14 – The Blues and Other Elements in Improvisation with Clay Jenkins

Adult Programs 2020

Adult Band Camp (August 13-16) and Chamber Music Retreat (August 19-22) have been cancelled due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. We look forward to our next season of adult music programs in 2021! Please join us next year.

Fall Concert Series

The Birch Creek Fall Concert Series has been cancelled.