Birch Creek Music Academy Faculty

Birch Creek prides itself on its nationally-recognized faculty of performers and educators.

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

 

Carol Dylan
Violin

Crystal Lake, IL

Carol Dylan comes from a family of professional musicians and has played violin most of her life. She received her Bachelor of Music degree, magna cum laude, from North Park University in Chicago where she was a pupil of Edgar Muenzer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and where she was elected by the faculty to receive the University’s Lincoln Medallion award. She was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for six seasons, spending two years as its co-concertmaster and winning the coveted Louis Sudler Award. She received her Master’s degree in Violin Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York as a scholarship pupil of Charles Castleman and attended the Aspen Music Festival as the recipient of a three-year fellowship to study with Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki. Carol has been the assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 1994 and has participated in its numerous European and American tours, as well as in recordings with that group on the Fanfare and Cedille record labels. Carol is a member of the first violin section of the Elgin Symphony and performs frequently as part of that orchestra’s educational chamber concert series, serving as the first violinist of the orchestra’s string quartet, ESQ. Carol is also the Assistant Concertmaster of the Midwest Mozart Festival Orchestra and can be heard on WFMT’s broadcasts of that group’s performances. A sought-after chamber musician and coach, Carol was first violinist of the Lyra String Quartet for 14 years, performing throughout the Midwest and also serving as quartet-in-residence at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She was a member of the adjunct music faculty at North Park University in Chicago for 20 years and currently teaches violin at Elgin Community College in Elgin, along with coaching many area youth orchestra ensembles and chamber groups.  Carol performs frequently with jazz and society bands in Chicago and also enjoys playing in theater orchestras, appearing with Chicago Opera Theater and ballet companies such as the Joffrey Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater and the Bolshoi Ballet, as well as in many Broadway musicals and shows. As a freelancer, Carol performs with several orchestras in the Chicago area including the Ravinia Festival Orchestra and, in the past, the Woodstock Mozart Festival; she also plays in ensembles accompanying such stars as Luciano Pavarotti, Il Divo, and The Eagles.

Janice MacDonald
Flute

Chicago, IL

Performing as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player, Chicago native Janice MacDonald has appeared on national and international stages, including Mexico, Ethiopia, Mali, and throughout Europe. She is principal flute of the Chicago Sinfonietta, a member of the Chicago Philharmonic, and former solo piccolo of the Lake Forest Symphony. She was a longtime member of the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra and has performed with Music of the Baroque, the Grant Park Orchestra, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, Concertante di Chicago, and Ars Viva.

Janice is on the faculty of Loyola University Chicago, and has been a guest artist/clinician at Northwesten University, DePaul University, Cal State Sacramento, Bowling Green University, Columbia College, Southern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Wheaton College, and Roosevelt University.

An alumna of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, she holds a BM from DePaul University and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Her teachers include Donald Peck, William Bennett, David Shostakovich, and Keith Underwood.

Susan Tang
Piano

Chicago, IL

Susan Tang is Associate Professor of Piano at Northeastern Illinois University, artistic director of the Chicago Chamber Music Festival (an intensive summer workshop for young artists) and a founding member of Keys to Inclusion (an multi-institutional initiative to explore the piano repertoire of Black American composers).

An active professional performer, Susan enjoyed a successful New York solo piano debut at Carnegie-Weill Hall.  New York Concert Review has described her playing as having “well-grounded technique…fluid, elegant readings…highly effective interpretations” a pianist “with an assured playing that sparkled” by the Baltimore Sun and a “fluent pianist” by the Chicago Tribune. In a recent piano duo performance the Chicago Classical Review noted, “The piano four hands team of Louise Chan and Susan Tang literally threw themselves into their amplified instruments, making the dislocated rhythms, explosive roars, glistening high notes and low rumbles speak with acute beauty and concentration.”

Susan Tang received her BM and MM degrees from the Eastman School of Music studying with Nelita True and DMA from Manhattan School of Music with Nina Svetlanova.  

Taka Matsunaga
Symphony Guest Conductor

Elmhurst, IL

Taka Matsunaga is currently the Director of Orchestras and Assistant Professor of Music at Elmhurst University, where he conducts the University Orchestra. He is also a Founder and Music Director of the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra in Schaumburg, Illinois. 

Matsunaga came to the United States in 1998 to pursue his violin studies with David Taylor, Joseph Golan and Robert Chen while attending Roosevelt University and Northeastern Illinois University, where he received his master’s degree in music. From 1999-2001, Matsunaga was a regular member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, a training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In March 2000, he performed at Carnegie Hall under the baton of Maestro Daniel Barenboim. While playing in the Civic Orchestra, Matsunaga has played with world-renowned conductors including Neeme Järvi, Christoph Eschenbach, Osmo Vänskä, Pierre Boulez and Pinchas Zukerman, to name just a few. 

As a conductor, Matsunaga made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2018 with the Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra. He has conducted in Vienna, Salzburg, Detroit and at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in Chicago. Matsunaga presented his conducting workshop for young conductors at the Illinois Music Education Conference virtually in April 2021, and also in January 2022 in Peoria, Illinois. Matsunaga is a member of the College Orchestra Directors Association (CODA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA), and American String Teachers Association (ASTA). 

 

Alan Snow
Concertmaster

Alan Snow was appointed 2nd Associate Concertmaster of the Omaha Symphony in July of 2021. Since his performance with the Oistrakh Symphony Orchestra at age 13, Alan has performed solo and chamber works internationally, including appearances at Chicago’s Symphony Center, London Symphony Orchestra St. Luke’s, la Sala Manuel M. Ponce in Mexico City, and others. Previous concertmaster appointments include the Evansville Philharmonic, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Festival Napa Valley Music Academy, Britten-Pears Young Artists Program, Indiana University’s top orchestras, Carmel Symphony and Music Academy of the West. Alan has worked closely with esteemed concertmasters Glenn Dicterow, Alexander Kerr, and Jorja Fleezanis and has performed under the baton of conductors and leaders such as John Williams, Sir Simon Rattle, Joshua Bell, Nicholas McGegan, JoAnn Falletta, James Gaffigan, Edward Gardner, Stéphane Denève, and Gustavo Dudamel.

Alan has won several competitions as soloist and chamber musician, including being a semifinalist at Windsor Festival International Strings Competition, grand prizes at the Walgreens National Concerto Competition, the LAMC Recording Competition, the Saint Paul String Quartet Competition, the Discover Chamber Music Competition, second prize at the Rembrandt Chamber Players and honorable mention at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. As a winner of the Keston MAX Fellowship, Alan played under Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2019. Previous chamber collaborations include performances with Rachel Barton-Pine, James Buswell, Martin Chalifour, Mindy Kaufman, Desmond Hoebig, Jorja Fleezanis, Robert Vernon, Steve Wyrczynski, and Eric Kim.

An avid chamber player, Alan studied closely under the Pacifica Quartet and the Takács Quartet and has recorded two chamber music albums, one as a member of the Chicago Panamerican Ensemble called, “Voices of Mexico’s Past and Present” and one with pianist, Joanne Chang called, “Dialogos.” Both albums explore the rich landscape of classical music in Mexico. Alan also served as First Violin of the Eykamp String Quartet from 2018-2021. This past 20-21 season, the Eykamp String Quartet spearheaded a series called, “Connect and Celebrate: New Traditions,” which featured over a dozen composers of color and women composers over the course of 9 recitals in Indiana. Additionally, Alan is an active chamber music coach and teacher, having served on faculty at the Anchorage Chamber Music Festival, the University of Evansville Music Department, and the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Recent and upcoming solo engagements include performing Piazzolla’s Four Seasons and the Brahms Double Concerto as soloist with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, performances at the New Harmony Music Festival, a radio broadcast on Chicago WFMT Radio, solo and chamber recitals at the University of Evansville, guest appearing at the Chicago Latin Music Festival, and performances at the Omaha Chamber Music Society and Anchorage Chamber Music Festival.

A Chicago native, Alan participated at Midwest Young Artists for nine years, where he received intensive orchestral and chamber music training. He studied with Gerardo Ribeiro at Northwestern University before receiving his Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University under Sibbi Bernhardsson of the Pacifica Quartet and Alexander Kerr, concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Alan, was a student at Birch Creek in 2010 and a winner of Birch Creek’s concerto competition.

Jeremy Attanaseo
String Bass

Elgin, IL

Jeremy Attanaseo is the assistant principal bass of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. He performs often with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also principal bass of International Chamber Artists, and previously principal bass of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, assistant principal bass of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra.

Jeremy teaches applied lessons and bass pedagogy at DePaul University and Northern Illinois University. He has taught bassists of all ages and levels for almost 25 years and enjoys helping students reach far beyond their goals.

Dan Moore
Percussion & Steel Band Program Director | Faculty Artist

Iowa City, IA

Dan Moore is in his 23rd 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 & Chamber Music Retreat Program Director

Oak Park, IL

2022 marks Ricardo Castañeda’s 25th year at Birch Creek and his 22nd year as Symphony Session Program Director. Castañeda received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance from Northwestern University. He is a winner of the Northwestern University Concerto Competition and a recipient of the Wade Fetzer award for excellence in performance. He has appeared as a soloist in Latin America, Europe, the United States and more recently Japan. Castañeda is currently Principal Oboist with The 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. Castañeda is on the faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University. Ricardo is integral to the development and oversight of Symphony session programming.

Website: Chicago Sinfonietta – Ricardo Castañeda

Jeff Campbell
Program Director & Academy Jazz Orchestra Director | Bass

Rochester, NY

2021 is Jeff Campbell’s 33rd year at Birch Creek and his 25th as Jazz Program Director. Campbell is Professor of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media and department chair at Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY. Jeff has carved out an impressive career as a bass player 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. In high demand across the globe, Jeff 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, Jeff is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra bass section. He has numerous CDs to his credit.

Website: Jeff Campbell

David Bixler
Alto Saxophone

New York, NY

Alto saxophonist, composer, and educator David Bixler has recently embarked on an artistic reemergence with the release of three new recordings: In the Face of Chaos (2019) with Bixler, Boccato, Cowherd, and Sturm, Blended Lineage (2020) with the Bixtet, and Inside the Grief (2020) with trio incognito. A traumatic brain injury suffered by his youngest son necessitated a shift in Bixler’s priorities during the last decade—a period in which his family devoted much of its energy to the care of its youngest member. Because of this new lens, Bixler’s repurposed creative approach is evident in his most recent output.

For the recording In the Face of Chaos, Bixler assembled pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Ike Sturm and percussionist Rogerio Boccato who are sensitive interpreters of Bixler’s music. Their combined effort produces music that is challenging for the listener without being afraid to embrace beauty. In All About Jazz, Dan Bilawsky writes In the Face of Chaos marks a re-emergence, if not a complete artistic rebirth, for David Bixler. It serves as a true inspiration, drawing beauty from pain, and peace from personal struggle . . . In the face of chaos, with Bixler’s knowing horn leading the way, wisdom and wonder win out.”

Blended Lineage, a four-movement work for nine musicians was included in Jay Miller’s Best of 2020 in The Patriot Ledger. The recording features trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Luke Sellick, percussionist Fabio Rojas, and a string quartet comprised of violinists Judith Ingolfsson, Heather Martin Bixler, violist Josh Kail, and cellist Rubin Kodheli.  Marco Cangiano, writing about Bixler’s playing in New York City Jazz Record states, “There is no rush, no instance on patterns, just the careful choice of the right note and an unusual openness to what the other musicians have to say.”

His latest recording, Inside the Grief, is a product of the trifecta of 2020: COVID-19, systemic racism, and the presidential election. Bixler went into the studio in the fall with bassist Gregg August and Venezuelan percussionist Fabio Rojas and created a set that captures the searing urgency of this time.

2022 is Bixler’s 23rd year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.davidbixler.com

Larry Brown Jr.
Guitar

Chicago, 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. He 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. 2021 is Brown’s 12th year with the Birch Creek faculty.

Scott Burns
Alto Saxophone

Chicago, IL

Scott Burns is currently a faculty member at DePaul University and Loyola University Chicago, where his collective duties include jazz ensemble director, a jazz improvisation instructor, applied saxophone instructor, jazz combo coach, and jazz history lecturer. A native of Dayton, OH, Burns holds degrees in jazz studies from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (BM) and DePaul University (MM). 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. Burns has been with Birch Creek for nine years.

Website: scottburnsjazz.com

Bob Chmel
Drums

Las Vegas, NV

Bob Chmel graduated from Kent State University with a BS in education and a MA in performance. Chmel was awarded Alumni of the Year by Kent State in 2003. He has performed with numerous artists and ensembles throughout the years, including the bands of Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Bob Anderson, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Doc Severinson, Carl Fontana, and Buddy Childress, to name a few. Bob has worked and played with the best jazz combos and bands in Chicago for 20 years and world-renowned musicians in Las Vegas for 25 years. This is Chmel’s 30th year at Birch Creek.

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. 2021 marks Darby’s 8th 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. 2021 will mark her 25th year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

Anthony Di Sanza
Percussion Faculty Artist

Madison, WI

The summer of 2021 will mark Anthony Di Sanza’s seventh year with Birch Creek. Di Sanza is a Professor of Percussion at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and 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.” 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.

Katie Ernst
Jazz I Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director / Vocalist

Chicago, IL

Bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst is an active bandleader and musician in Chicago’s jazz/improvised music community. She travels throughout the US as a guest artist/clinician for young musicians, directs the jazz ensemble at Wheaton College, and teaches at Birch Creek Music Academy for the Jazz I summer program. Ernst holds a BM in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music. 2021 is Katie’s 10th year with the Birch Creek faculty.

 

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 Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Joffrey Ballet Orchestra. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Percussion Performance from DePaul University, and is the percussion instructor at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois. 2021 is Everson’s 21st year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

www.cuchicago.edu/faculty/college-of-theology-arts–humanities/music/robert-everson/

 

Shannon Finney
Flute/Piccolo

Kansas City, MO

Shannon Finney is Associate Principal Flute 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 17 years.

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

Lennie Foy
Trumpet

Greencastle, IN

Lennie Foy, 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.

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

John 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 at Chicago. John has been a Birch Creek faculty member for 16 years.

Amanda Grimm
Viola

Chicago, IL

Amanda 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 and is 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

2022 marks Brian Groner’s 27th season as conductor of the Birch Creek Symphony Orchestra. 2019 marked the end of his successful 23-year tenure with the Fox Valley Symphony in Appleton, WI. Formerly, Groner was the Music Director of the Fox Valley Orchestra in Illinois and 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.

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 has served on the summer faculty of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Director Academy. Haydon has numerous performance CDs to his credit with his most recent 2020-21 project as co-producer of John Pizzarelli’s Better Days Ahead. Haydon has a twenty-plus year connection with Birch Creek. Website: www.rickhaydon.com

Clarence Hines
Trombone

Jacksonville, FL

Clarence Hines is the Director of the School of Music and Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of North Florida where he teaches jazz trombone and arranging. He has performed with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Bobby Caldwell, Maceo Parker, David Sanborn, and many others. His recent works were premiered at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, World Association of Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) Conference, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. He is an artist/clinician for Conn-Selmer and plays C.G. Conn Trombones. 2021 is his 14th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.clarencehines.com

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks
Violin

Providence, RI

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks is a freelance musician and educator, passionate about chamber music, orchestral playing, traditional music and improvisation. Dr. Holmes-Hicks is on faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, serves as principal second violinist of the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Cape Symphony and performs regularly on the South Coast Chamber series and with Verdant Vibes New Music Collective. This is Holmes-Hicks 18th year on the Birch Creek faculty.

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, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Julio Iglesias, Natalie Cole, Burt Bacharach, Smothers Brothers, 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 20 years at Birch Creek.

Website: www.acmebone.com

Clay Jenkins
Trumpet

Rochester, NY

Clay Jenkins’ career as a jazz artist has covered a wide range of musical experiences and responsibilities, bringing him to the forefront of the jazz performing and teaching arenas. His experience as a performer began at an early age playing with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, Harry James, Buddy Rich, and finally, the Count Basie Orchestra. Since moving to Rochester, NY, to become Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Eastman School of Music in 2000, Jenkins has maintained a busy performing, recording, and teaching schedule. He continues to perform and record with the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, of which he is a charter member. He has also been a member of the Joe La Barbera Quintet for 25 years. Jenkins has released eight solo recordings. In 2018, Jenkins initiated “The Snooky Young Endowed Scholarship” at the Eastman School of Music in honor of the great trumpet artist Eugene “Snooky” Young. This scholarship is specifically intended to benefit students of under-represented minorities. 2021 is Clay’s 16th year at Birch Creek.  Website: www.clayjenkins.net/

Vicki Peterson Jenks
Percussion Faculty Artist

Wild Rose, WI

Vicki Peterson Jenks, native North Dakotan, received her musical training at Minot State University, UW-Stevens Point, and Baylor University.  In 1976, she founded the percussion program at UT- Paso and ‘Repercussion’, a professional marimba band.

Upon her move to Madison, Wisconsin in 1980, she created and developed the Education Department at Ward-Brodt Music Company, one of the Midwest’s premiere retail music stores.  Under her guidance, and in just three years, student enrollment increased from 20 to 400!

As an active freelance percussionist, Vicki 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.

From 1985-2005, Vicki owned and operated JENKS MUSIC STUDIO, Wisconsin’s largest private percussion studio.  Studying her ‘Total Percussive Musicianship’ curriculum, her students perennially filled the percussion sections of Wisconsin Honors Bands and Orchestras, the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, and Carnegie Hall’s National Wind Ensemble.  JENKS MUSIC STUDIO alumni currently hold top positions in orchestras and at universities around the globe with extremely successful private studios of their own.

Vicki’s great ‘passion’ is serving as Director of Percussion for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO) located in Madison, Wisconsin.  This is her 41st year with WYSO.

Under her direction, her WYSO Percussion Ensembles have received national recognition from PAS, MENC, the National Band Association, Wisconsin Music Educators Association, and the prestigious Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic.  Her ensembles have performed throughout Argentina, Great Britain, Peru, Japan, and Taiwan.  The WYSO Percussion Ensemble’s annual EXTRAVAGANZA raises important funds for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, the American Red Cross in Wisconsin, and Ronald McDonald House.

In 2004, Vicki was nominated for the ATHENA AWARD, sponsored by the Business Forum, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of Dane County.  Nominees help other women attain their full potential, demonstrate professional excellence, and provide philanthropic leadership and business savvy.

In 2005, Vicki was one of only three percussion educators in the world chosen to lecture at PASIC in Columbus, Ohio.  In 2008, Vicki received the highest recognition presented to any percussion educator in the world—the ‘Lifetime Achievement in Education’ award and was inducted into PAS’ Hall of Fame.

Vicki is a member of the Wild Rose Kiwanis Club.  She is an active church pianist, performs at area nursing homes, retirement villages, and the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, Wisconsin.

Since 2007, Vicki has served as a Red Cross DISASTER ACTION TEAM volunteer in Northeast Wisconsin.  DAT teams respond to all manner of disasters, but primarily, residential FIRES.  In addition, Vicki is Community Volunteer Leader for the Wisconsin American Red Cross, serving on their Northeast Board of Directors as an Emeritus Member.

In the fall of 2011, she received the Clara Barton Honor Award, the most esteemed award presented to any American Red Cross volunteer in the USA.  The well-known HEROES Musicalessm, co-founded by Vicki and her husband (John), have raised well over $600,000 for local disaster relief and Service to the Armed Forces.

In the fall of 2011, she was named “Citizen of the Year” in Waushara County, Wisconsin.

This past September (2021), Vicki began studies at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA, to become a Deacon-Chaplain in Word and Service.  She hopes to serve on the Red Cross Integrated Care and Condolence Team and in hospice environments.

2022 marks Vicki’s 26th year at Birch Creek.

Russ Johnson
Trumpet

Milwaukee, WI

Russ Johnson is an active performer, educator and clinician. Johnson is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He has been involved in over 80 recordings and appeared in the 2018 DownBeat critics poll as a rising star in the trumpet category. He has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in jazz, recorded and/or performed with numerous prominent international jazz artists and performed in more than 40 countries.

Katherine Kohler
Clarinet

Nashville, TN

Katherine Kohler joined the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2018 as Assistant Principal and E-flat Clarinet. From 2016-2018 Katherine was the second clarinetist of the Phoenix Symphony, and previous to that she spent three years with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and since 2011, the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.

During the summer of 2015, Katherine participated in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, performing under Alan Gilbert as a clarinetist on Mozart’s Gran Partita and E-flat clarinetist on Messiaen’s Des Canyons Aux Étoiles, the latter of which was released in 2016 on the Koch Label. As a chamber musician, Katherine has also performed with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, Downtown Chamber Series, Chamber Music Milwaukee, and with the Roma Trio.

She started her orchestral training in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Encore Chamber Orchestra. At the age of seven, Katherine began her clarinet studies with David Boyd, followed by studies with Todd Levy from 2005-13. She graduated from the Peck School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee. Katherine is a Selmer Artist, performing on Selmer Signature Clarinets.

Matthew Lee
Trumpet

Elmhurst, IL

Matthew Lee, trumpet, is an active freelance musician and teacher in the Chicago area.  In addition to performing with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Mr. Lee is also Principal Trumpet of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, a member of the Chicago Brass Quintet, the Millar Brass Ensemble and Tower Brass of Chicago.  He is a regular substitute and extra musician with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Holding a BA in Music Education from Western Illinois University and a MM degree in Trumpet Performance from Northwestern University, his primary teachers have included William DeJong, Vincent Cichowicz and Adolph Herseth.  As a soloist, Mr. Lee was the winner of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Concerto Competition and was a semi-finalist in both the Concert Artists Guild of New York City and Maurice Andre International Competition in Paris.

Mr. Lee is on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago he is both a teacher and mentor for the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative and the SEED program through Chicago Sinfonietta, serving musicians from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.  During the summer, for the past twenty three years, Mr. Lee has served on the faculty of the Birch Creek Music Academy in Door County, WI.

He has performed on two Grammy Award winning recordings with the Chicago Symphony, as well as a Billboard Magazine top classical crossover CD with the Millar Brass Ensemble.  Other CDs include those with the Chicago Brass Quintet, Tower Brass of Chicago, the Elgin (IL) Symphony, Chicago Opera Theatre, Chicago Sinfonietta and Sones de Mexico.

Betty Lewis
Violin

Wilmette, IL

Betty Lewis received her B.M. from Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt University as a student of Elaine Skorodin. She is an active violinist and violist in the Chicago area performing with groups as diverse as Broadway in Chicago and as an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Lewis teaches violin, viola and piano and conducts the high school orchestra at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. She is also the violin teacher at the Chicago School of Violin Making. In the summer, Lewis is a member of the Peninsula Music Festival, also in Door County, Wisconsin. 2021 is Lewis’ 27th year at Birch Creek.

Marcia Henry Liebenow
Concertmaster

Peoria, IL

Marcia Henry Liebenow is Concertmaster of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and teaches violin, viola and chamber music at Bradley University. She leads a multi-faceted career as a teacher, recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist across the U.S. and abroad. She is a member of the Concordia String Trio and Peoria Lunaire, a new music ensemble. In the summer, in addition to Birch Creek, Marcia is a faculty artist at the Red Lodge Music Festival in Montana, and has performed and taught at festivals in Italy, Alaska, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Vermont. She has three CDs on the Centaur label – the Grieg Violin Sonatas with internationally acclaimed pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and two Concordia String Trio CDs — American Vistas and Viennese String Trios. Her work has been recognized with the Outstanding Studio Teacher Award from Illinois ASTA, and she was named a Distinguished Alumni of Ohio University School of Music. Marcia earned degrees in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and Ohio University. 2021 marks her 23rd year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.marciahenry.com

Emily Mantell
Cello

Orland Park, IL

Emily Lewis Mantell is a busy freelance cellist in and around Chicago. She is a member of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta. She teaches adjunctly at local colleges and from her home studio in Orland Park, IL. Mantell has been a Birch Creek faculty member for 27 years, and she is delighted that her daughter, Sonia, a Birch Creek alumna and now a cellist in the Minnesota Orchestra, will be returning as cello TA at Birch Creek this summer.

Scott McConnell
Percussion Faculty Artist

Chicago, IL

Scott McConnell will be celebrating his seventh year working with Birch Creek during the 2021 season. 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. McConnell is a co-founder of Pastiche Steel Ensemble as well as the percussionist for The Four Star Brass Band, a New Orleans-style brass band. He holds a Bachelors, Masters, and Performers’ Certificates in Percussion, Steelpan, and Recording Arts from Northern Illinois University.

Wesley Morgan
Percussion Faculty Performer | Bass

Brookfield, IL

Wesley Morgan is a bassist, audio engineer, and educator in the Chicago area. An instructor at Lewis University on topics related to music technology and jazz history, he also performs with a variety of groups covering a range of musical styles, with a particular emphasis on jazz and popular music. He has recently commenced an archival project in which he is recording a large swath of modern jazz and improvisational musicians, primarily from the Chicago area, while fulfilling the roles of bassist and production engineer on the recordings. [The goal of the project is to document current approaches to improvised music while giving a nod to the notable contributions to jazz history made in Chicago nearly a century ago.] Morgan has performed with Birch Creek since 2015, making 2021 his sixth season.

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 Faculty Artist

Iowa City, IA

Peter Naughton is a percussionist, composer, and educator. As a versatile performer, he specializes in jazz keyboard improvisation, Latin Percussion, marimba literature, and contemporary solo and chamber music. Naughton currently lives in Iowa City, IA where he regularly gigs with the Pandelirium Quartet. He is Professor of Percussion at Monmouth College and has been teaching and performing at Birch Creek for six years.

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. 2022 is Meyer’s 9th summer leading a band at Birch Creek.

Brian Nozny
Composer in Residence

Lake Charles, LA

Brian Nozny is in demand as a performer, composer, and educator throughout the United States. His compositions are regularly programmed around the world and have been featured on multiple international recordings. As a performer, Nozny has worked in a diverse number of settings; currently, he performs in the BRN Duo with his wife, flutist Rachel Nozny, as a member of the percussion group JP3, and regularly freelances throughout the Southeast United States. He is Assistant Professor of Percussion at McNeese State University. In 2021, Nozny will be celebrating his sixth season at Birch Creek.

Dan O'Connell
French Horn

Chicago, IL

Dan O’Connell is the horn instructor at North Central College 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. 2022 is Dan’s eighth year on the Birch Creek Symphony faculty.

Emily Roane
Percussion Faculty Artist

Philadelphia, PA

Emily Roane is a Philadelphia-based percussion and steel pan performer. Roane holds a Bachelor’s of Music degree from the University of Iowa and a Master’s of Music degree from the University of Minnesota. She currently teaches steel band at Springside-Chestnut Hill Academy and performs with the Philadelphia Pan Stars Steel Orchestra and the Plenty Pepper Band. 2021 marks Roane’s fifth year at Birch Creek.

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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, 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. Robinson is in his 23rd year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

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.

Charles Schuchat
Tuba

Chicago, IL

Charles Schuchat is a performer with the Elgin Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, Tower Brass and Joffrey Ballet. He is  a tuba instructor and head of the brass department at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University. This will be Schuchat’s ninth year on the faculty at Birch Creek.

Faye Seeman
Harp

Palatine, IL

Faye 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. 2020 marks Seeman’s 30th year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

Website: www.fayeseeman.com/about.html

Charles "Chip" Staley
Wind Ensemble Retreat Co-Director

Charles “Chip” Staley is 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

Tom Stark performs with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and Northwest Indiana Symphony. Stark is also trombone instructor at Concordia University, Elmhurst University and Harper College. This is his 17th year at Birch Creek.

Jim Stombres
Jazz I Studio Band Director | Wind Ensemble Retreat Co-Director

St. Charles, IL

Jim Stombres taught for 37 years and is in his sixth year of retirement as Band Director at St. Charles North High School. He is currently an adjunct professor and co-director of the Symphonic Band at Wheaton College.

Mr. Stombres holds a Diploma in Sacred Music from Moody Bible Institute, a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Illinois State University, and a Masters in Music Education from Northwestern University. He has been active in the Illinois Music Educators Association, and served as All-State Jazz Audition Chairman for 25 years. He has served as ILMEA Jazz Chair for District I, VII, and IX.

Mr. Stombres completed the third trip to Germany in March of 1997 with the Jazz Ensemble from Naperville North High School, and performed at the 1997 Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic with the Naperville North Wind Ensemble and colleague Brian Wis. He traveled to Germany in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2014 with colleague John Wojciechowski and the St. Charles North Jazz Workshop. The St. Charles North Jazz Workshop, with colleague Mark Dahl, was selected as a finalist in the Essentially Ellington Competition, performing at the Lincoln Center in May of 2004, and with colleague John Wojciechowski in 2011. They were also selected to perform at the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in 2006 and 2011. They performed at the 2007 IAJE Conference in New York, and the 2008 and 2013 ILMEA All-State Conference.

Mr. Stombres has been a guest director for many District level ILMEA Festivals, and conducted the 1999 All-State Jazz Band. He was the recipient of the 2018 John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, and has served on the faculty of the Birch Creek Music Academy for the last 33 summers.

Stombres is also a co-director of Birch Creek’s Wind Ensemble Retreat (formerly 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
Percussion Faculty Artist | Vibraphone

Naperville, IL

Brad Stirtz will be celebrating an amazing 42nd year with Birch Creek for the summer 2021 session. 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 the 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. At Birch Creek, Stirtz is a faculty ensemble performer, directs small ensembles, and teaches improvisation, music theory, and world music.

Website: Brad Stirtz

Michael Stryker
Piano

Chicago, IL

Michael Stryker is Clinical Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. 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 Western Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, DePaul University, and the University of California at Berkeley.

 

Steve Sveum
Jazz II Lab Band Director | Wind Ensemble Retreat Co-Director

Sun Prairie, WI

Steve Sveum 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. He is also a co-director of Birch Creek’s Adult Band Camp.

Joey Tartell
Trumpet

Bloomington, IN

Joey Tartell is 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 27th season with Birch Creek and his seventh 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. In April of 2022, Teague was selected as the school of music’s 2022 NIU Board of Trustees Professor. 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

Vocalist/Actress Mardra Thomas has been performing for more than twenty years with the Birch Creek Jazz Orchestra. For years, she has painted a musical and historical picture of the life of Billie Holiday. Mardra was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical by Chicago’s Black Theatre Alliance’s Award for her portrayal of Billie in Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Mardra can be seen on the theater stage, concert halls, jazz festivals and premier clubs. Mardra’s latest recording Matters Of the Heart is with her husband pianist Reggie Thomas. Website:www.mrtjazz.com

Reggie Thomas
Piano

DeKalb, IL

Pianist/Organist Reggie Thomas is Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, and has taught at Michigan State University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Reggie performs with an illustrious number of talented musicians and fronts his Chicago based group, Trio Nexus with George Fludas and Dennis Carroll. Reggie is Ensemble Coach for NYO Jazz Orchestra, the national youth jazz orchestra of Carnegie Hall and is host of their NYOJazz Instagram Show “Reggie Interviews”. He has held “The Count’s Seat” as member of The Count Basie Orchestra and rhythm section accompanist for the Herbie Hancock International Jazz Competitions.  For years he was a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center for their Essentially Ellington Program and Band Director’s Academy. Reggie has a number of recordings and has been performing at Birch Creek for over thirty years. Website:www.mrtjazz.com

 

Rodrigo Villanueva
Percussion Faculty Artist

Janesville, WI

Rodrigo Villanueva-Conroy is a Professor of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University (NIU). He teaches jazz drumset, jazz arranging, and directs the NIU Jazz Ensemble. Villanueva has presented master classes at many higher learning institutions and performed concerts at jazz venues and festivals across the United States, as well as in Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, and South Korea. He has played and recorded with many leading jazz and classical artists including Jangeun Bae, Craig Butterfield, Frank Caruso, Eddie Gomez, Fareed Haque, Stefan Karlsson, Alex Mercado, Hiro Morozumi, Jon Nelson, Ed Saindon, Rodolfo Sanchez, Ben Sidran, Anders Svanoe, Liam Teague, and Takayoshi Yoshioka. Villanueva performs frequently with the Eddie Gomez Trio, the Alex Mercado Trio, the NIU jazz faculty group, Nucleus, and the Anders Svanoe Trio, as well as his own jazz trio. He has been featured at the Jazz Education Network, the Percussive Arts Society International Conference, and the Midwest Clinic. He was recently awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholar for research and teaching in Brazil, 2020-2023. 2021 is Villanueva’s 11th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.rodrigovillanueva.com

Gil Wukitsch
Student 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

Jim 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, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Jim currently plays with the Jackson and Adrian Symphonies, and teaches bassoon at Concordia University and the Plymouth-Canton, Saline, and Tecumseh school districts in southeast Michigan.

Website: www.jimwesthoff.com

Elizabeth York
Violin

Saint Paul, MN

Violinist Elizabeth York is Associate Concertmaster and Personnel Manager of South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and performs on baroque violin with Lyra Baroque Orchestra. She teaches at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and St. Cloud State University. York holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in violin and viola performance from Stony Brook University in New York. 2021 is her eighth year at Birch Creek.

Carol Dylan
Violin
Janice MacDonald
Flute
Susan Tang
Piano
Taka Matsunaga
Symphony Guest Conductor
Alan Snow
Concertmaster
Jeremy Attanaseo
String Bass
Dan Moore
Percussion & Steel Band Program Director | Faculty Artist
Ricardo Castañeda
Symphony Program Director | Oboe & Chamber Music Retreat Program Director
Jeff Campbell
Program Director & Academy Jazz Orchestra Director | Bass
David Bixler
Alto Saxophone
Larry Brown Jr.
Guitar
Scott Burns
Alto Saxophone
Bob Chmel
Drums
Tanya Darby
Trumpet
Jodie DeSalvo
Piano
Anthony Di Sanza
Percussion Faculty Artist
Katie Ernst
Jazz I Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director / Vocalist
Robert Everson
Percussion
Shannon Finney
Flute/Piccolo
Lennie Foy
Trumpet
Tom Garling
Trombone
John Gaudette
Bassoon
Amanda Grimm
Viola
Brian Groner
Symphony Conductor
Piero Guimaraes
Percussion
Rick Haydon
Guitar
Clarence Hines
Trombone
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks
Violin
Steve Horne
Trombone
Clay Jenkins
Trumpet
Vicki Peterson Jenks
Percussion Faculty Artist
Russ Johnson
Trumpet
Katherine Kohler
Clarinet
Matthew Lee
Trumpet
Betty Lewis
Violin
Marcia Henry Liebenow
Concertmaster
Emily Mantell
Cello
Scott McConnell
Percussion Faculty Artist
Wesley Morgan
Percussion Faculty Performer | Bass
Audrey Morrison
Trombone
Peter Naughton
Percussion Faculty Artist
Nic Meyer
Jazz II Studio Band Director
Brian Nozny
Composer in Residence
Dan O'Connell
French Horn
Emily Roane
Percussion Faculty Artist
Marty Robinson
Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director | Trumpet
Dane Richeson
Faculty Artist
Charles Schuchat
Tuba
Faye Seeman
Harp
Charles "Chip" Staley
Wind Ensemble Retreat Co-Director
Tom Stark
Trombone, Low Brass
Jim Stombres
Jazz I Studio Band Director | Wind Ensemble Retreat Co-Director
Doug Stone
Tenor Saxophone
Brad Stirtz
Percussion Faculty Artist | Vibraphone
Michael Stryker
Piano
Steve Sveum
Jazz II Lab Band Director | Wind Ensemble Retreat Co-Director
Joey Tartell
Trumpet
Liam Teague
Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan
Mardra Thomas
Vocalist
Reggie Thomas
Piano
Rodrigo Villanueva
Percussion Faculty Artist
Gil Wukitsch
Student Band Director | Trombone
Jim Westhoff
Bassoon
Elizabeth York
Violin