Birch Creek Music Academy Faculty

Birch Creek prides itself on its nationally-recognized faculty of performers and educators.
Faculty for all 2019 sessions is listed below and subject to change.

Roll over the faculty photo to reveal the name. Click the square to read the full bio at the top of the section.

 

Dan Moore
Percussion & Steel Band Program Director / Faculty Artist

Dan Moore is in his 21st year as a Birch Creek faculty member and has served as Director of the Percussion & Steel Band Program since 2016. Dr. Moore is Professor of Percussion and Director of the award-winning percussion program at The University of Iowa where he recently received the Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. Moore is an internationally known musician, composer, and educator. He is a Yamaha international performing artist, a signature mallet artist for Innovative Percussion, and a performing artist for Sabian Cymbals, Gon Bops Percussion, and Grover Pro Percussion. His music is published by Row-Loff Productions, Innovative Percussion, Alfred Publishing, and Cricket City Music and Media. At Birch Creek, Moore leads the faculty ensemble and teaches marimba/vibes performance, improvisation, leadership, snare drum technique, ensemble performance, and musicianship.

Web site: www.dan-moore.com

Ricardo Castañeda
Symphony Program Director | Oboe

Oak Park, IL

2019 marks Ricardo Castañeda’s 22nd year at Birch Creek. Ricardo Castañeda received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance from Northwestern University, where he was a student of Ray Still, former Principal Oboist of The Chicago Symphony. Mr. Castañeda is a winner of the Northwestern University Concerto Competition and a recipient of the Wade Fetzer award for excellence in performance. Having made his solo debut with the National Symphony of El Salvador at age fifteen, he has since appeared as a soloist in Latin America, Europe and the United States. Mr. Castañeda is currently Principal Oboist with the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Sinfonietta, and solo English Horn with The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Castañeda is also a member of the Chicago Ensemble and Barossa Woodwind Quintet. Previous positions include Principal Oboist with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Symphony Orchestra and solo English Horn with the Mexico City Philharmonic. An active freelance musician, Mr. 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.

Website: www.niu.edu/music/faculty/jrcastaneda.shtml

Jeff Campbell
Program Director & Academy Jazz Orchestra Director | Bass

Rochester, NY

2019 marks Jeff Campbell’s 31st year at Birch Creek and his 22nd as Jazz Program Director. Mr. Campbell is an Associate Professor and Chair of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music. Campbell has carved out an impressive career as bass player of extraordinary artistry, fluent in both the jazz and classical idioms. As a jazz bassist, he has performed with Marian McPartland, Gene Bertoncini, Rich Perry, Trio East, Harold Jones, and the Eastman Jazz Quartet featuring Harold Danko, and has appeared on McPartland’s Piano Jazz program on National Public Radio. In high demand across the globe, Campbell has performed at such prestigious European musical events as the Nice, Montreux, North Sea, Riga, and Parnu jazz festivals and has also appeared in the former Soviet Union and the Baltic Republics. Additionally, he is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra bass section. Campbell has numerous CDs to his credit.

Website: Jeff Campbell

Yuko Asada
Assistant Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan

DeKalb, IL

Yuko Asada is a musical instrument technician at Northern Illinois University (NIU) where she directs the NIU Community School of the Arts Steelband and contributes to the daily operations of the NIU Steelband under the direction Liam Teague. Asada attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia University (WVU), where she was first introduced to the art of steelpan building and tuning by Dr. Ellie Mannette. She earned a Master of Music degree and a Performer’s Certificate in steelpan from NIU. She gained many years of steelpan building and tuning experience as an apprentice and intern to Trinidadian steelpan builder Dr. Cliff Alexis. Asada not only builds, tunes, conducts workshops, and performs, she also serves as adjudicator for pan festivals including the Virginia International PAN Fest, and as a transcriber for several organizations including the Trinidad and Tobago Music Literacy Trust. She performed with Pastiche Steel Ensemble, a group she co-founded, for several years since its inception in 2009. Asada also co-founded the Virtual Steelband, an online performance of pannists from around the world. For her many years of work and dedication, she was the feature of a Japanese documentary show entitled Gutto Chikyubin in 2017. Recently, Asada’s composition “Opposite Attraction” was selected to be performed at this year’s Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). At Birch Creek, she assists with the Birch Creek Steelband, performs with the faculty ensemble and teaches steelpan performance, arranging and transcribing.

David Bixler
Alto Saxophone

Bowling Green, OH

Saxophonist, composer, and educator David Bixler is a multi-faceted artist, having received critical acclaim for both his playing and his writing. He actively leads several projects that serve as platforms for his diverse musical interests. As a sideman, Bixler has performed and toured the world with the orchestras of Chico O’Farrill, Lionel Hampton, and Toshiko Akiyoshi. He is also active as a composer in both the jazz and classical worlds. Bixler is the Director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. As both a Selmer and Vandoren Artist, he is active as a clinician throughout the world. A new recording, In the Face of Chaos, with his group, Bixler, Boccato, Cowherd, and Sturm was released fall of 2018. 2019 marks Mr. Bixler’s 20th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.davidbixler.com

Larry Brown
Guitar

DeKalb, IL

Larry Brown Jr. is a guitarist who holds degrees from Southern Illinois University in Jazz Performance and from Northern Illinois University, with a Master’s in Jazz Studies. A Kennedy Center Jazz Ahead Alumni, Brown has toured nationally and internationally as a composer/arranger as well as a band leader. Brown has released two records of original compositions (There Can Only Be One –  2011; The Music & The Moment –  2015). He is a contributing writer to the book Teaching Music through Performance in Jazz – Volume 2.

Scott Burns
Alto Saxophone

Chicago, IL

Scott Burns is currently a faculty member at DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, where his collective duties include jazz ensemble director, applied saxophone instructor, jazz combo coach, jazz history lecturer, and woodwind coordinator.  A native of Dayton, OH, Mr. Burns holds degrees in jazz studies from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (B.M.) and DePaul University (M.M.).  As a leader of his own groups or as an in-demand sideman with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and many other projects, he is frequently heard performing in greater Chicago’s leading jazz venues. Scott has performed alongside several international jazz artists, including McCoy Tyner, Ahmad Jamal, Clark Terry, Ira Sullivan, David Hazeltine, Tom Harrell, Eric Alexander, and Harry Connick Jr.  His latest recording, Passages (Origin Records), features his original compositions and received critical acclaim across the nation.

Website: scottburnsjazz.com

Bob Chmel
Drums

Las Vegas, NV

Mr. Chmel graduated from Kent State University with a B.S. in education and a M.A. in performance. Mr. Chmel was awarded Alumni of the Year by Kent State in 2003. He is currently performing with Frank Sinatra Jr., Jerry Lewis and Nevada Pops.  This is Mr. Chmel’s 28th year at Birch Creek.

Margaret Daly
Cello

Park Ridge, IL

Margaret Daly is a member of the Chicago Philharmonic and Lake Forest Symphony cello sections. She is often found playing in various groups around Chicago, including the Joffrey Ballet, Grant Park Symphony and Rockford Symphony. As a founding member of the string quartet 4spiel, she enjoys combining classical, American standards and jazz-influenced tunes in fresh arrangements for quartets, singers and guest instrumentalists.

Tanya Darby
Trumpet

Boston, MA

Tanya Darby is an educator, bandleader, musician, and clinician. Darby is the Chair of the Brass Department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and has previously held faculty positions at the University of North Texas, Temple University and The New School University of New York City. As an educator, Darby regularly teaches master classes and has been a clinician and adjudicator at numerous festivals, both domestic and abroad. She received her master’s degree in jazz performance from Rutgers University in 2012, and a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She is a current and veteran member of such groups as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Roy Hargrove Big Band. 2019 marks Darby’s 7th year at Birch Creek.

Jodie DeSalvo
Piano

Naples, FL

Jodie DeSalvo is a frequent soloist with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. She has toured extensively as a piano soloist appearing with the orchestras of Chicago, Geneva, Lucerne, San Francisco, Hartford and Chautauqua. DeSalvo also has a recital/lecture series at the Artis-Naples and has numerous CDs to her credit. In recent years, she has added the comedy of Victor Borge to her repertoire, with interpretations of his skits, including Phonetic Punctuation and Inflationary Language, as well as writing her own original material. 2019 will mark her 23rd year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

Anthony Di Sanza
Faculty Artist

Madison, WI

Anthony Di Sanza is a recognized international performer and educator who has performed, presented master classes, and held residencies in North America, Europe and Asia. He has appeared as a visiting artist at over 45 colleges, universities and conservatories, and has performed as soloist and chamber musician in some of the world’s most important concert halls. Di Sanza can be heard on over 15 internationally distributed recordings with various artists, including; Sole Nero-Piano and Percussion Duo, Mark Hetzler Chamber Ensemble, Linda Maxey with Galaxy Percussion and Keiko Abe and the Michigan Chamber Players. In a review of his 2011 solo recording, On the nature of…, All Music Guide writes; “Di Sanza dazzles not only in the assurance and polish of his playing but in his tremendous vitality and spontaneity.” He recently recorded Michael Udow’s multiple percussion concerto Moon Shadows. Professor of Percussion at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Di Sanza is an endorser of Encore Mallets, Black Swamp Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, and Remo Drumheads, as well as an educational endorser of Pro-Mark Drumsticks. At Birch Creek, he is a faculty performing artist, teaches a variety of world percussion styles, and directs small and large ensembles.

Barbara Drapcho
Clarinet

Chicago, IL

Barbara Drapcho holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Northwestern University. As a member of Quintet Attacca, she has performed on New York City’s Schneider Concert Series, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and numerous Chicagoland series. Drapcho is also a member of New Philharmonic, has performed as a soloist with Chicago Arts Orchestra, and is a former member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She is on faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and North Park
University.

José Encarnación
Jazz I Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director

Appleton, WI

A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, José Encarnación currently is a faculty member at the Lawrence Conservatory of music where he coordinates the jazz performance program, leads jazz improvisation classes, jazz combos and teaches jazz saxophone. He holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and Eastman School of Music where he served as Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone. Among many others, José has performed with Tito Puente, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Danilo Perez.

Website: José Encarnacion

Katie Ernst
Vocalist

Katie Ernst, Vocal Faculty, is a bassist, vocalist, and educator from Naperville, IL. She holds degrees in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied double bass under Jeff Campbell and James VanDemark. Ernst has performed at jazz festivals throughout the country, and has received critical acclaim for her latest recording project, Little Words. Ernst serves as director of the Wheaton College Jazz Ensemble in Wheaton, IL.

 

Robert Everson
Percussion

Oak Park, IL

Robert Everson is the timpanist with several orchestras in the Chicago area, including the Chicago Philharmonic, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Lake Forest Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. He earned his Bachelor and Master degrees in Percussion Performance from DePaul University, and is the percussion instructor at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois.

Website: www.cuchicago.edu/faculty/music/robert-everson/

 

Shannon Finney
Flute/Piccolo

Kansas City, MO

Ms. Finney is Associate Principal Flutist with the Kansas City Symphony. She is also a member of the Kansas City-based chamber music ensemble, Summerfest. Finney has been with Birch Creek for 15 years.

Website: www.kcsymphony.org/ContentCtl/ViewAct/Musician/46

Lennie Foy
Trumpet

Lennie Foy, Trumpet Faculty a native of Winston-Salem, NC, is Professor of Trumpet at DePauw University. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and Performer’s Certificate at the Eastman School of Music and completed extensive post-graduate studies at the Indiana University School of Music. His trumpet teachers include Charles Gorham, Barbara Butler, Vincent DiMartino, Louis Davidson, and Stanley Friedman. His jazz instructors include David Baker and Rayburn Wright.

Jeremiah Frederick
French Horn

Chicago, IL

Jeremiah Frederick holds the positions of Associate Principal Horn of the South Bend Symphony and Second Horn of the Lake Forest Symphony and plays regularly with the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis. In addition, Frederick has played with many Chicago-area ensembles including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, the Grant Park, Elgin, and Rockford Symphonies, the Joffrey Ballet and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Elizandro Garcia-Montoya
Clarinet

Chicago, IL

Elizandro Garcia-Montoya is principal clarinet of the Elmhurst Symphony and Fifth House Ensemble. He performs regularly with the Chicago Philharmonic and Chicago Sinfonietta; and during the summers at the New Hampshire Music Festival and Fresh Inc Festival specializing in new music. Garcia-Montoya has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Jacksonville Symphony, and was Principal Clarinet of the State of Mexico Orchestra and Mineria Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City.

Tom Garling
Trombone

Chicago, IL

Tom Garling’s writing and playing can be heard on albums by Maynard, Buddy Rich, Tito Puente, Dianne Schuur, Michael Feinstein, Frank Mantooth, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and the Chicago Yestet, to name a few. He has been in high demand for the past 30 years as a performer, composer, arranger, recording artist, producer, teacher, director, clinician, and professional musician at any capacity. Garling attended the Berklee School of Music and received his Master’s degree from the University of Miami, majoring in Jazz Composition and Arranging with an emphasis in studio jazz writing. He teaches both privately and in numerous institutions around the Chicago area (Elmhurst College, Roosevelt University and Northern Illinois University) in the fields of jazz composition and arranging, jazz trombone, jazz theory and jazz improvisation. Garling performs with numerous jazz groups including the Chicago Jazz Orchestra and the Chicago Yestet. 2019 is his 20th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.tomgarling.com

John Gaudette
Bassoon

Chicago, IL

Mr. Gaudette studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA. He played in the Dallas Symphony, CBC Radio Orchestra, and was assistant principal in the Vancouver Symphony. Gaudette freelances in the Chicago area with the Chicago Symphony and Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and Fulcrum Point. He currently teaches at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Renée-Paule Gauthier
Concertmaster

Willowbrook, IL

Ms. Gauthier is a passionate performer and teacher whose career has taken her across the United States and Canada as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral leader, and clinician. Dr. Gauthier joins the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra for the 2018-2019 season, and she performs with some of Chicago’s finest ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Elgin Symphony, and Chicago Philharmonic. She is the String Area Coordinator, Co-director of the Chamber Music Program, and Violin Instructor at North Park University. Dr. Gauthier blogs about creating a meaningful practice at her website, Mind Over Finger, and hosts The Mind Over Finger podcast. The podcast offers discussions on mindful music-making, efficient practice, and building a purposeful career with the performers, pedagogues, and innovators who are shaping the classical music world today.

Website: www.mindoverfinger.com/

Ann Griffin
Cello

Wheaton, IL

Ann Griffin is a founding member of the Chicago Sinfonietta and in 1992 was appointed to the position of principal cello by Maestro Paul Freeman. She has performed in many of the great concert halls of Europe, including Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Cologne, Leipzig, Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Bonn, Vienna, and the Canary Islands, also performing on two tours to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Griffin completed her Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music in Cello Performance at Roosevelt University as a student of Karl Fruh.

Amanda Grimm
Viola

Chicago, IL

Ms. Grimm enjoys a versatile career as a freelance artist in the greater Chicago area.  A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and Carnegie Mellon University, she has performed as a soloist, recitalist, and concertmaster in both the United States and abroad. Grimm is an active orchestral musician andis Principal Viola of both the Elgin Symphony and Orchestra Iowa and is Assistant Principal of the Illinois Philharmonic. A passionate chamber musician, she is also a member of the KAIA String Quartet, a Chicago-based ensemble that advocates for the music of Latin America.

Brian Groner
Symphony Conductor

Glenwood, IL

2019 marks Brian Groner’s 26th season as conductor of the Birch Creek Symphony Orchestra. This past season marked the end of his successful 23-year tenure with the Fox Valley Symphony in Appleton, WI. He is the Music Director of the Fox Valley Orchestra in Illinois and is the Artistic Director for the Midwest Mozart Festival. As a guest conductor, he has appeared on the podium for many notable ensembles including the Shenzhen Symphony (China), The San Diego Symphony, The Czech National Symphony Orchestra (Prague), and The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Maestro Groner’s concerts have been broadcasted via satellite by National Public Radio in over 50 major cities across the United States. He has also conducted the world premiers of over twenty substantial new American compositions.. Website: http://www.briangroner.com/live/

Piero Guimaraes
Percussion

Associate Faculty, Providence, RI

Piero Guimaraes stands at the forefront of a new generation of international performers specializing in orchestral and contemporary music. A native of Brazil, Guimaraes presented the Brazilian premiere of several pivotal works by influential composers including Iannis Xenakis, Steve Reich and Peter Eotvos. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University in New York. Guimaraes is on faculty at the Rhode Island Philharmonic School of Music and is a member of Iktus Percussion.

Rick Haydon
Guitar

Edwardsville, IL

Rick Haydon is Professor Emeritus of Music at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. He currently teaches private applied jazz guitar and directs the jazz guitar ensemble. In his 30 plus year career at SIUE, Haydon played a key role in the development and evolution of the jazz program, as well as the university’s recording studio. He also serves on the summer faculty of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Band Director Academy and has numerous CDs to his credit. In 2019, Haydon marks his 20th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.rickhaydon.com

Clarence Hines
Trombone

Jacksonville, FL

Clarence Hines is a trombonist, composer, and arranger who has performed with Bobby Caldwell, Maceo Parker, David Sanborn, and Diane Schuur. His festival performances include the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Recent commissions include works for the Ukranian Chamber Orchestra and the Strings Festival Brass & Percussion Ensemble. Peña Amaya, his original composition for wind ensemble, was premiered in Valencia, Spain earlier this summer (2019). Dr. Hines is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and the Interim Director of the School of Music at the University of North Florida. This is his 13th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.clarencehines.com

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks
Violin

Associate Faculty, Providence, RI

Armed with a performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctorate from SUNY Stony Brook, EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks serves on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and as principal second violinist with the New Bedford Symphony. She co-directs Rhode Island’s Newport String Project, an innovative program that combines chamber music performance with music education for underserved children.

Steve Horne
Trombone

Glenview, IL

Steve Horne‘s career spans three decades and includes working with some of the world’s most renowned entertainers. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and went on to study with John Marcellus at Catholic University of America, and continued his studies at North Texas State University. He spent 15 years in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was the lead trombonist for Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles, Julio Iglesias, Shirley MacLaine, Natalie Cole, Burt Bacharach, Liberace, Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, Dom DeLouise, Phyllis Diller, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Shecky Greene, Bob Hope, George Burns, Liza Minelli, Lido de Paris, Televised telethons, HBO specials, Las Vegas Symphony, Opera, and many more. Horne continues to work as a freelance musician performing at venues in and around Chicago. He maintains a private teaching studio at his home in Glenview, Illinois, as well as at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois and Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. Horne has been a faculty member for 18 years at Birch Creek.

Website: www.acmebone.com

Adaron "Pops" Jackson
Piano

St. Louis, MO

Adaron “Pops” Jackson holds teaching positions at St. Charles Community College, Jazz St. Louis, and is currently and adjunct professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. He has performed as a side-man and with his own ensembles throughout the United States and Europe. Jackson has performed and worked with such diverse artists as Ron Carter, Conrad Herwig, John Riley, Harry Allen, Frank Morgan, Victor Mendoza, Steve Houghton, Clay Jenkins, Tom Kennedy, Kim Richmond, LaVerne Butler, Red Holliway, Ellis Marsalis, Arturo Sanndoval, Greg Tardy, Slide Hampton, Wallace Roney, and Dave Scott. Jackson has also toured throughout the United State with the Grammy award-winning Motown legends, The Temptations, and with I Get A Kick Out Of Cole a Live Onstage Production. This will be his 5th year at Birch Creek.

Clay Jenkins
Trumpet

Rochester, NY

Clay Jenkins earned his master’s degree jazz studies from the University of Southern California. He has taught at many schools including the Foundation for the Junior Blind, the University of Southern California, California State University at Northridge and the California Institute of Arts. Jenkins has performed and presented at clinics all over the United States and Canada, as well as in Japan, Italy, Korea, Germany, Portugal, Russia and South Africa. He currently is Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Eastman School of Music. Jenkins performs with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Joe La Barbera Quintet, Trio East and the Eastman Jazz Quartet. He is a professional artist for the Edwards Instrument Company located in Elkhorn, WI. This is Jenkins’ 14th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.clayjenkins.net/

Vicki Peterson Jenks
Faculty Artist

Wild Rose, WI

Vicki Peterson Jenks is celebrating her 23rd year at Birch Creek. She recently completed her 38th year as Director of Percussion for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. In 2008, she received the highest recognition presented to any percussion educator in the world – the Percussive Arts Society’s ‘Lifetime Achievement in Education’ award and was inducted into the PAS Hall of Fame. As an active freelance percussionist, Jenks performed for 10 years with the Madison Symphony Orchestra and 22 years as Principal Timpanist with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She currently serves as Master Adjudicator for the Wisconsin Schools Music Association. Between 1985 and 2005, she owned and operated Wisconsin’s largest private percussion studio, Jenks Music Studio, with alumni who currently hold top positions in orchestras and universities around the globe. Jenks is an Artist Clinician for Yamaha, Sabian, Mike Balter, and Vic Firth. At Birch Creek, she is a faculty ensemble performer, directs large and small ensembles and teaches Yo-Chi (a mix of Tai Chi and Yoga).

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Matthew Lee
Trumpet

Elmhurst, IL

Mr. Lee performs with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Chicago Brass Quintet. He teaches at DePaul University and Elmhurst College. He performs with the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and substitutes with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This is Mr. Lee’s 25th year at Birch Creek.

Website: music.depaul.edu/FacultyAndStaff/L/mlee.asp

Betty Lewis
Violin

Wilmette, IL

Ms. Lewis is a violinist and violist in the Chicago area, performing with groups ranging from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to Broadway shows. Lewis is also a member of the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra in Door County and teaches violin and viola at the Francis Parker School in Chicago. This is Lewis’ 26th year at Birch Creek.

Marcia Henry Liebenow
Violin

Peoria, IL

Ms. Henry Liebenow is Concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Violin, Viola and Chamber Music at Bradley University. She leads a multi-faceted career as a recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist in Europe and the US. In addition to Birch Creek, she is a faculty artist at the Red Lodge Music Festival in Montana, and has performed and taught at festivals in Italy, Alaska, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Nebraska. She is a founding member of the Concordia String Trio and Peoria Lunaire new music ensemble, and has released several CDs on the Centaur label. 2019 marks Ms. Henry Liebenow’s 21st year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.marciahenry.com

Dennis Mackrel
Drums

Woodstock, NY

Dennis Mackrel is a noted jazz drummer and highly respected composer/arranger and conductor whose work has been recorded and performed by the Count Basie Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, the WDR Radio Big Band from Germany, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw from Holland, the Klüvers Big Band from Denmark, and the McCoy Tyner Big Band, whose Grammy winning CDs included Mackrel’s arrangements.

Scott McConnell
Faculty Artist

Elgin, IL

Scott McConnell is an active Steelpan/percussion performer and educator in the Chicagoland area. He works with steelpan programs at the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and William Hatch Elementary School. Scott is a co-founder of Pastiche Steel Ensemble as well as the percussionist for Orange Star, an acoustic pop group in Chicago. Scott holds a Bachelors, Masters, and Performer’s Certificates in Percussion, Steelpan, and Recording Arts from Northern Illinois University.

Nic Meyer
Jazz II Studio Band Director

Chicago, IL

Nic Meyer serves as Director of Jazz Ensembles at New Trier High School, where he oversees a comprehensive jazz program consisting of four large jazz ensembles and six jazz combos. Under his direction New Trier’s Jazz Ensemble 1 has opened for Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra at Birdland in NYC, Delfeayo Marsalis and his Uptown Jazz Orchestra at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, along with many other artists at New Trier’s annual Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival, this year featuring The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra with special guest Joey DeFrancesco. Prior to joining the New Trier faculty, Meyer was the jazz program director at Midwest Young Artists. He plays an active role in the educational programming for the Jazz Education Network, and continues to perform as a saxophonist throughout the Chicago region. This is Meyer’s 8th summer leading a band at Birch Creek.

Wesley Morgan
Faculty Artist | Bass

Brookfield, IL

Wesley Morgan is a professional bassist and educator in the Chicago area. An experienced performer on both the electric bass and double bass, he brings a high level of creativity, energy, and enthusiasm to every performance. Morgan grew up in Kansas and received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Memphis in 2008. He spent several years teaching and performing around the Mid-South before relocating to Illinois in 2013. He attended Northern Illinois University as a graduate teaching assistant, where he studied with bassists Kelly Sill and John Floeter. During his time at NIU, Wesley instructed students in the areas of music history, music technology, and jazz performance. He subsequently received his M.M. in Jazz Studies in 2015.  Currently, he resides near Chicago where he maintains an active performance schedule and serves as an adjunct faculty member at Lewis University and the College of DuPage.

Website: www.wesleymorganmusic.com

Audrey Morrison
Trombone

Chicago, IL

Audrey Morrison is the Director of Jazz Studies at the Music Institute of Chicago. She performs and teaches with the Ravinia Jazz Mentors, and plays with the jazz sextet, SHE, Ars Viva, and the Lake Forest Symphony. She teaches at Columbia College and North Park University. Morrison is a clinician for Conn-Selmer.

Website: Audrey Morrison

Peter Naughton
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer

Iowa City, IA

Peter Naughton is a percussionist, composer, and educator. As a versatile performer, he specializes in jazz keyboard improvisation, marimba literature, and contemporary solo and chamber music. Naughton currently lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where he regularly gigs with the Pandelirium Quartet.

Dan O'Connell
French Horn

Naperville, IL

Mr. O’Connell is the horn instructor at North Central College, The Merit School of Music, and maintains a private studio. As a performer, he has played with most of the Chicago area’s great orchestras and ensembles. O’Connell received a BM from The New England Conservatory and an MM from DePaul University.

Vannia Phillips
Viola

Chicago, IL

Vannia Philips has been a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 1998. She has performed with the Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Ars Viva, Lake Forest Symphony, Fulcrum Point, New Black Repertory Ensemble, Joffrey Ballet, and Elgin Symphony. She is in her third season as violist with the Evanston Chamber Opera company. Passionate about teaching, Phillips has taken Suzuki training with Edward Kreitman, Nancy Jackson, and Tom Wermuth at the Western Springs School for Talent Education, Michelle George at the Music Institute of Chicago, and Ann Montzka Smelser. She currently teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago and Music for Youth of Arlington Heights.

Dane Richeson
Faculty Artist

Appleton, WI

Dane Richeson is Professor of Music at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he has been Director of Percussion Studies since 1984. Under his direction, the Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble (LUPE´) has released two critically acclaimed CDs, and been awarded honors by the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and the Percussive Arts Society. Throughout the world he has been featured in such diverse roles as solo marimbist, contemporary chamber music percussionist, world percussion specialist and jazz drummer. Richeson has performed on numerous recordings including works on Blue Note Records, Origin Records, Klavier, Accurate, Mark, Naxos, A-Records, CRI, Albany, Innova, and A-440.

Emily Roane
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer

Neola, IA

Emily Roane is a Philadelphia-based percussion performer and employee of Steve Weiss Music. She holds degrees in music from the University of Iowa (BM) and the University of Minnesota Duluth (MM).

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Marty Robinson
Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director | Trumpet

Appleton, WI

Marty Robinson is Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Trumpet at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He leads his own jazz quintet and is also active as a jazz pianist, arranger, clinician, and trumpeter in symphony orchestras, brass quintets, and Broadway shows. A commissioned composer across genres, Dr. Robinson’s recent works have been performed by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, trumpeter Byron Stripling, saxophonist Joshua Redman, drummer Herlin Riley, and university wind ensembles and choirs. In 2016, Robinson was the Director of the Wisconsin State Honors Jazz Ensemble. He is the Director of the Jazz II Session Advanced Combo known as the Ambassadors. This is Robinson’s 20th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.uwosh.edu/music/faculty/robinson

David Scholl
String Bass

Madison, WI

David Scholl currently serves as Principal Bass for the Madison, Quad City, and Dubuque Symphonies. Scholl is the instructor of double bass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Having earned his BM and MM from Indiana University, he continued studies as principal bass of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and at the Aspen Music Festival.

 

 

Charles Schuchat
Tuba

Chicago, IL

Mr. Schuchat is a performer with the Elgin Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta, Tower Brass and the Joffrey Ballet. He is an associate professor at Northern Illinois University as well as an artist lecturer and head of brass at Roosevelt University. This year will be Schuchat’s fifth year on the faculty at Birch Creek.

Faye Seeman
Harp

Palatine, IL

Ms. Seeman, principal harpist of the Chicago Sinfonietta and Joffrey Ballet orchestras, is adjunct professor of harp studies at Wheaton College, Northern Illinois University, College of DuPage and Northeastern Illinois University. 2019 marks Seeman’s 29th year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

Website: www.fayeseeman.com/about.html

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 www.artspeaks.net. 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.

Tom Stark
Trombone, Low Brass

Schaumburg, IL

Mr. Stark performs with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Trombone Consort.  Mr. Stark is also adjunct instructor at Concordia University, Elmhurst College and Harper College. This is Mr. Stark’s 16th year at Birch Creek.

Alan Steiner
String Bass

(Symphony Week 1)
Buffalo Grove, IL

Alan Steiner is a former member of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec and the Canadian Opera Company. He was a soloist in the world premiere of Likht un Shotn with the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra. He maintains a private studio and teaches at A.E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL. Steiner has been with Birch Creek for 19 seasons.

Jim Stombres
Jazz I Studio Band 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.

Doug Stone
Tenor Saxophone

Baton Rouge, LA

Doug Stone’s career has involved work as a touring musician, primarily with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson and his band, the Big Bop Nouveau, as well as with the “world-jazz” group Panoramic, and with a number of ensembles from Chicago, IL. Stone is a published arranger and composer and has a double master’s degree in jazz performance and music education from the Eastman School of Music. He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University.

Brad Stirtz
Faculty Artist | Vibraphone

Naperville, IL

Vibraphonist Brad Stirtz has gained a reputation as an outstanding professional mallet percussionist, both onstage and in the studio. Brad’s music career has spanned the globe, with concerts in Uganda, Trinidad and throughout the U.S. He has performed or recorded with such jazz luminaries as Ed Thigpen, Patricia Barber, Jerry Goodman, Dan Haerle and Fareed Haque. He toured with the Janice Borla Group, and is featured on her recordings Lunar Octave and Agents of Change. A native of Minden, Nebraska, Stirtz earned his Master of Music degree in percussion performance at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. As a jazz/percussion educator, he has served on the faculties of the American Conservatory, Roosevelt University and North Illinois University, and is currently on faculty at North Central College. He recently received a second Master’s degree in Theology from Concordia University Chicago and now serves as Director of Music at Peace Lutheran Church in Lombard, Illinois. Stirtz has been a member of the faculty at Birch Creek for 40 years. At Birch Creek, Stirtz is a faculty ensemble performer, directs small ensembles, and teaches improvisation, music theory, and musicianship.

Website: Brad Stirtz

Michael Stryker
Piano

Macomb, IL

Dr. Stryker is Associate Professor of Jazz Piano in the School of Music at Western Illinois University. Dr. Stryker’s doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music were completed fall of 2009 with the degree awarded spring of 2010. . Past degrees include a B.S. in Biology from Purdue University in 1985 and both the B.M. and M.M. in Jazz Performance from DePaul University in 1996. Previous teaching positions include Eastern Illinois University, DePaul University, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Website: Michael Stryker

Steve Sveum
Jazz II Lab Band 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.

Joey Tartell
Trumpet

Bloomington, IN

Joey Tartell is Associate Professor of Music at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He has played with Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He is currently performing with Tromba Mundi, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. This is Tartell’s 22nd year at Birch Creek.

Website: joeytartell.com/

Liam Teague
Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan

DeKalb, IL

This year marks Liam Teague’s 24th season with Birch Creek and his fifth as Steel Band Director. Teague is Professor of Music and Head of Steelpan studies at Northern Illinois University (NIU), where he also directs the renowned NIU Steelband. He is also the recipient of an NIU Presidential Research, Scholarship and Artistry Professor Award. His commitment to demonstrating the great musical possibilities of the steelpan has taken him throughout the world, and he has received many awards from his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, including the Humming Bird National Award (Silver) and the Ansa McAl Caribbean Award for Excellence. Teague has also performed with many diverse ensembles which include: National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan National Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, Panama National Symphony and Chicago Sinfonietta. He has appeared in concert with Grammy-Award winning musicians Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels, Zakir Hussain and Dame Evelyn Glennie. Teague serves as arranger for the Nutrien Silver Stars Steel Orchestra at Panorama (the most celebrated steelband competition in the world).

Website: liamteague.com

Mardra Thomas
Vocalist

DeKalb, IL

For years, Vocalist/Actress Mardra Thomas has painted a musical and historical picture on stage of the life and legacy of Billie Holiday. Mardra was recently nominated for Chicago’s Black Theater Alliance’s 2018 Lena Horne Award: Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the Evanston, IL production of “Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill.” Her sultry voice is well suited to showcase Holiday’s sculptured phrasing that stamped a signature style on jazz singing. You’ll see her in theaters, concert halls, jazz festivals and premier clubs. Her music career was sparked in the St. Louis area when she performed for the opening of Dizzy Gillespie’s 70th Birthday Concert. Shortly thereafter she found herself trading scat solos with world-class trumpeter Clark Terry while performing with the East St. Louis Lincoln HS Big Band led by Ronald Carter. Mardra can be heard in radio and TV spots as well as educational and musical recordings.

 

Reggie Thomas
Bass

DeKalb, IL

Pianist/Organist Reggie Thomas for four years has been Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, after three years as Professor of Jazz Piano at MSU and 20 years as Professor of Music at SIU-Edwardsville. Reggie fronts his own groups including the Mardra/Reggie Thomas Ensemble, OGD on Hammond organ and with other artists including Vincent Gardner, Will Matthews, Ann Hampton Callaway and Carl Allen/Rodney Whitaker. He is on faculty for Carnegie Hall’s Inaugural Jazz National Youth Orchestra and a member of The Count Basie Orchestra, and a rhythm section accompanist for the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competitions. Reggie has been a longtime consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center for the Essentially Ellington Program and Band Director Academy. His most recent recording is “Matters Of The Heart”(MRTJazz).

 

Rodrigo Villanueva
Faculty Artist

Janesville, WI

Drummer and composer Rodrigo Villanueva holds a bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas. As a composer, he has arranged and/or sequenced music for pop artists and has published several original compositions for jazz big band (ASCAP). As an educator, Villanueva has taught drumset courses, clinics and workshops at many institutions in Mexico, Peru, Korea, Japan and the U.S. He is currently professor of jazz studies at Northern Illinois University where he teaches jazz drums, jazz arranging and directs the NIU Jazz Lab Band. Villanueva performs regularly with his jazz trio and quartet, the Eddie Gomez Trio, the NIU Jazz Faculty Group Nucleus, Liam Teague’s Panoramic, Daniel Wong Trio and Anders Svanoe Trio. He endorses Sabian Cymbals, Yamaha Drums, Evans Drumheads, Vic Firth drumsticks and Latin Percussion. At Birch Creek, Rodrigo is a faculty ensemble performer, and teaches drumset and percussion.

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Website: www.rodrigovillanueva.com

Gil Wukitsch
Jazz I Lab Band Director | Trombone

St Charles, IL

Gil Wukitsch has been teaching at St. Charles East High School since 1997, where he teaches Jazz Band, Wind Symphony and AP Music Theory. Along with his teaching duties, Gil serves as the Lead Teacher for Fine Arts, overseeing the Drama, Music and Visual Arts departments. Wukitsch has a degree in music education from DePaul University, as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. While at DePaul, he was a member of the nationally recognized Jazz Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra, and studied trumpet with Ross Beacraft and Bob Lark. Gil began attending Birch Creek as a student in 1989 and since then has been a member of the Academy Big Band as both a teaching assistant and faculty member, as well as serving as the Lab Band and Studio Band Director.

Jim Westhoff
Bassoon

Associate Faculty, Ann Arbor, MI

Mr. Westhoff holds degrees in music performance and theory/composition from the Peabody Conservatory and Wichita State University. He has held positions with the Annapolis, Wichita, and Kenosha Symphonies, as well as the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Westhoff currently plays with the Jackson and Adrian Symphonies. As an educator, he teaches bassoon at Concordia University and the Plymouth-Canton, Saline, Chelsea, and Tecumseh school districts in southeast Michigan.

Website: www.jimwesthoff.com

Todd Williams
Tenor Saxophone

McCordsville, IN

Todd Williams is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Indiana Wesleyan University where he serves as director of the IWU Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo, among many other teaching responsibilities. He is pursing his doctoral degree in music education from Indiana University in Bloomington. Williams has performed at most every prestigious venue from multiple dates at the White House to Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. Extensive recording with Wynton Marsalis and guest appearances with such artists as Sir Roland Hanna, the Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, and 2012 Grammy Award winner, Christian McBride, decorate his list of accomplishments. Williams is a four-time recipient of ASCAP’s Plus Award for Composers and has recently been honored to be a regional Essentially Ellington festival adjudicator and artist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was a recent featured artist with the Christian McBride Big Band in its New Jersey Performing Arts Center Concert. He was also a featured artist with the Herlin Riley Band at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (NYC) in April 2018 and is sought as a saxophonist, clarinetist, flautist and clinician.

Elizabeth York
Violin

Saint Paul, MN

Elizabeth York holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in violin and viola from Stony Brook University. She lives in St. Paul, MN where she is an active performer and teacher. She is Associate Principal Second Violin of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and is the newly appointed violin faculty at College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. York performs on baroque violin with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, where she also serves on the board of directors.

Dan Moore
Percussion & Steel Band Program Director / Faculty Artist
Ricardo Castañeda
Symphony Program Director | Oboe
Jeff Campbell
Program Director & Academy Jazz Orchestra Director | Bass
Yuko Asada
Assistant Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan
David Bixler
Alto Saxophone
Larry Brown
Guitar
Scott Burns
Alto Saxophone
Bob Chmel
Drums
Margaret Daly
Cello
Tanya Darby
Trumpet
Jodie DeSalvo
Piano
Anthony Di Sanza
Faculty Artist
Barbara Drapcho
Clarinet
José Encarnación
Jazz I Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director
Katie Ernst
Vocalist
Robert Everson
Percussion
Shannon Finney
Flute/Piccolo
Lennie Foy
Trumpet
Jeremiah Frederick
French Horn
Elizandro Garcia-Montoya
Clarinet
Tom Garling
Trombone
John Gaudette
Bassoon
Renée-Paule Gauthier
Concertmaster
Ann Griffin
Cello
Amanda Grimm
Viola
Brian Groner
Symphony Conductor
Piero Guimaraes
Percussion
Rick Haydon
Guitar
Clarence Hines
Trombone
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks
Violin
Steve Horne
Trombone
Adaron "Pops" Jackson
Piano
Clay Jenkins
Trumpet
Vicki Peterson Jenks
Faculty Artist
Matthew Lee
Trumpet
Betty Lewis
Violin
Marcia Henry Liebenow
Violin
Dennis Mackrel
Drums
Scott McConnell
Faculty Artist
Nic Meyer
Jazz II Studio Band Director
Wesley Morgan
Faculty Artist | Bass
Audrey Morrison
Trombone
Peter Naughton
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer
Dan O'Connell
French Horn
Vannia Phillips
Viola
Dane Richeson
Faculty Artist
Emily Roane
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer
Marty Robinson
Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director | Trumpet
David Scholl
String Bass
Charles Schuchat
Tuba
Faye Seeman
Harp
Charles "Chip" Staley
Adult Band Camp Co-Director
Tom Stark
Trombone, Low Brass
Alan Steiner
String Bass
Jim Stombres
Jazz I Studio Band Director
Doug Stone
Tenor Saxophone
Brad Stirtz
Faculty Artist | Vibraphone
Michael Stryker
Piano
Steve Sveum
Jazz II Lab Band Director
Joey Tartell
Trumpet
Liam Teague
Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan
Mardra Thomas
Vocalist
Reggie Thomas
Bass
Rodrigo Villanueva
Faculty Artist
Gil Wukitsch
Jazz I Lab Band Director | Trombone
Jim Westhoff
Bassoon
Todd Williams
Tenor Saxophone
Elizabeth York
Violin