Summer Music Academy

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is a Residential Summer Music Academy on the beautiful Door County peninsula of Wisconsin. Founded in 1976, Birch Creek is a unique academy that provided talented students (ages 13-19) advanced training and mentorship as well as the opportunity to perform publicly alongside top music professionals from the United States and abroad.

Birch Creek offers four 2-week residential summer sessions in Symphony, Percussion & Steel Band, and Jazz (two sessions). The student-faculty ratio of 2-to-1 ensures that students receive hand-on mentoring from top music educators and performers. Additionally, students have numerous public performance opportunities before appreciative audiences who have come to expect only the best from Birch Creek.

Please note: Birch Creek will be following CDC and local public health guidelines at the time of programming. Programs are subject to change. This website will provide current updates so please check back for the latest news.

Registration begins January 4, 2021.

2021 Percussion & Steel Band

PERCUSSION & STEEL BAND – June 13-26, 2021

Immerse yourself in a world of percussion and emerge a more confident performer, knowledgeable musician, and inspired person. Learn successful practice strategies, effective time management, and problem solving; hone your organizational and leadership skills; and get tips on auditioning and career guidance. Birch Creek is a fun, supportive, and challenging environment that helps students learn to do their best work.

Senior Track – June 13-26, 2021
A two-week Percussion Intensive for Students Ages 14-19

Junior Track – June 13-19, 2021
A one-week Percussion Experience for Students Ages 13-15

Areas of Study

  • Concert Percussion – Fine tune your fundamental percussion skills on snare drum, keyboard instruments, timpani, and accessory instruments (tambourine, triangle, cymbals, etc.).
  • Mallet Percussion – Fine tune your fundamental percussion skills on snare drum, keyboard instruments, timpani, and accessory instruments (tambourine, triangle, cymbals, etc.).
  • Percussion Ensemble – Under the guidance of some of the most knowledgeable conductor/teachers, you will engage with important music for percussion ensemble— from classic repertoire to the newest compositions, world music, and novelty selections.
  • Steel Band – The Birch Creek Steel Band provides an exciting opportunity to perform with, and learn from, steel pan virtuoso Liam Teague. You will learn performance techniques, steel pan history, and composing and arranging for steel pans.
  • Composition – Birch Creek gives you the unique opportunity to learn about composing for percussion. You will learn composition and arranging techniques and even have the chance to write your own music under the guidance of Composer in Residence Brian Nozny as well as other faculty and guest composers.
  • Drum Set – Learn new musical styles and techniques that will fine tune your skills.
  • World Percussion – Experience a variety of music of the world. Birch Creek Faculty Artists have a wide range of expertise in musical styles from around the world.

Birch Creek Percussion & Steel Band Faculty* includes:
Dan Moore, Birch Creek Percussion & Steel Band Program Director; University of Iowa
Liam Teague, Birch Creek Steel Band Director; Northern Illinois University
Yuko Asada, Northern Illinois University
Anthony Di Sanza, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Peter Naughton, Professional Musician, Naughton McFarland Percussion Duo
Brian Nozny, McNeese State University
Emily Roane, Professional Musician, Steve Weiss Music, Philadelphia, PA
Brad Stirtz, Peace Lutheran Church, North Central College
Rodrigo Villanueva, Northern Illinois University
Additional Faculty TBA

* Faculty subject to change

Tuition:  $2,100 for Senior Track; $900 for Junior Track

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

Registration begins January 4, 2021.

2021 Symphony

SYMPHONY – June 27-July 10, 2021

The Symphony Program is unique in symphonic and chamber music education in that it incorporates a student/mentor approach in virtually every aspect of training. Students rehearse and perform alongside their teachers, receiving an abundance of personal attention. In such a nurturing environment, students develop excellent practice habits, rehearsal skills and progress at an amazing rate. Seven public performances of four different orchestral programs are given over the two-week session.

Areas of Study

  • Repertoire – A mixture of standard orchestral literature and light classics are rehearsed and performed.
  • Orchestra Rehearsals – 2 – 4 hours daily depending on performance schedule and repertoire
  • Sectionals – 1 hour daily. In classes of like instruments, students learn from experienced faculty how to prepare difficult orchestral passages in a short time for the next rehearsal or concert.
  • Chamber Ensembles – 1 hour daily. Students experience another facet of the professional musician’s life with performance opportunities during concert preludes and intermissions.
  • Daily Techniques– 2 hours daily. Technique and seminars on topics pertinent to the music profession round out the weekly schedule.

Birch Creek Symphony Faculty* includes:
Ricardo Castañeda, Birch Creek Symphony Program Director and oboe instructor; Principal Oboist – Chicago Sinfonietta; Northeastern Illinois University / University of Illinois at Chicago, adjunct faculty
Jodie DeSalvo, Piano Soloist with numerous orchestras
Robert Everson, Timpanist – Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, Elgin Symphony Orchestra; Concordia University, percussion instructor
Shannon Finney, Associate Principal Flute – Kansas City Symphony
John Gaudette, Freelance Bassoonist in the Chicago area; Northern Illinois University / University of Illinois at Chicago, bassoon instructor
Amanda Grimm, Principal Viola – Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Iowa
EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, Principal Second Violinist – New Bedford Symphony; University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, violin instructor
Katherine Kohler, Assistant Principal and E-flat Clarinet – Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Matt Lee, Principal Trumpet – Chicago Sinfonietta; Elmhurst College, trumpet instructor
Marcia Henry Liebenow, Concertmaster – Peoria Symphony Orchestra; Bradley University, professor of violin, viola and chamber music
Emily Mantell, Cellist – Chicago Sinfonietta, Illinois Philharmonic
Dan O’Connell, Freelance French Horn – Chicago area; North Central College / Merit School of Music, french horn instructor
Charles Schuchat, Tubist – Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta; Roosevelt University, tuba instructor and head of brass department
Faye Seeman, Principal Harpist – Chicago Sinfonietta; Wheaton College / Northern Illinois University, harp instructor
Tom Stark, Trombone – Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony; Concordia University / Elmhurst College / Wheaton College, trombone instructor
Alan Steiner, Bassist – Chicago Sinfonietta

* Faculty subject to change

Tuition:  $2,100

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

Registration begins January 4, 2021.

2021 Jazz I

JAZZ I – July 11-24, 2021

The Jazz Program offers students a unique learning experience at levels of jazz performance not found in most other jazz programs in America. Our program gives students an effective combination of experiences to help them master the fundamentals of jazz while establishing professional attributes. This includes top-flight instruction during the day, and hearing instructors perform in the Birch Creek Jazz Orchestra at night. The only difference between Jazz I & Jazz II are the dates and the faculty. Jeff Campbell is the Program Director for both Jazz sessions.

Areas of Study

  • Instrumental Technique – Classes are given by master teachers three times per week and cover the fundamentals of effective playing skills and efficient practice.
  • Jazz Combo – Classes cover music theory and improvisation skills, basic to advanced, in a performance-based ensemble.
  • Large Ensembles – Student Big Bands are directed by outstanding professional educators. Ensembles rehearse daily and perform regularly during the evening concerts.
  • Ambassador Combo – Made up of advanced students and serves as Birch Creek’s liaison to the community. “The Ambassadors” perform widely throughout Door County and are featured on many campus concerts. Audition required.
  • Seminars and Business Workshops – Role-playing experiences in different aspects of the music business.

Birch Creek Jazz I Faculty* includes:
Jeff Campbell, Birch Creek Jazz I Program Director, Eastman School of Music, bass
Larry Brown, Professional Musician, guitar
Scott Burns, DePaul University / Loyola University / Columbia College-Chicago, alto saxophone
Tom Garling, Elmhurst College / Roosevelt University / Northern Illinois University, trombone
Dennis Mackrel, Queens College, Aaron Copland School of Music, drums
Audrey Morrison, Music Institute of Chicago, trombone
Doug Stone, Louisiana State University, tenor saxophone
Joey Tartell, Indiana University, trumpet

* Faculty subject to change

Tuition:  $2,100

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

Registration begins January 4, 2021.

2021 Jazz II

JAZZ II – July 25-August 7, 2021

The Jazz Program offers students a unique learning experience at levels of jazz performance not found in most other jazz programs in America. Our program gives students an effective combination of experiences to help them master the fundamentals of jazz while establishing professional attributes. This includes top-flight instruction during the day, and hearing instructors perform in the Birch Creek Jazz Orchestra at night. The only difference between Jazz I & Jazz II are the dates and the faculty. Jeff Campbell is the Program Director for both Jazz sessions.

Areas of Study

  • Instrumental Technique – Classes are given by master teachers three times per week and cover the fundamentals of effective playing skills and efficient practice.
  • Jazz Combo – Classes cover music theory and improvisation skills, basic to advanced, in a performance-based ensemble.
  • Large Ensembles – Student Big Bands are directed by outstanding professional educators. Ensembles rehearse daily and perform regularly during the evening concerts.
  • Ambassador Combo – Made up of advanced students and serves as Birch Creek’s liaison to the community. “The Ambassadors” perform widely throughout Door County and are featured on many campus concerts. Audition required.
  • Seminars and Business Workshops – Role-playing experiences in different aspects of the music business.

Birch Creek Online Jazz II Faculty* includes:
Jeff Campbell, Birch Creek Jazz II Program Director, Eastman School of Music, bass
David Bixler, Bowling Green State University, alto saxophone
Clay Jenkins, Eastman School of Music, trumpet
Dennis Mackrel, Queens College, Aaron Copland School of Music, drums
Reggie Thomas, Northern Illinois University / Jazz at Lincoln Center, Essentially Ellington, piano
Todd Williams, Indiana Wesleyan University, tenor saxophone

* Faculty subject to change

Tuition:  $2,100

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

Registration begins January 4, 2021.