Birch Creek Jazz II

Registration for the 2022 Jazz II Academy is now open!

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 and Jazz II are the dates and the faculty. Jeff Campbell is the Program Director for both Jazz sessions.

Please note: Birch Creek will be following CDC and local public health guidelines at the time of programming. Programs are subject to change. Students must be fully vaccinated (as described by the CDC) at the start of the session. A negative test is required within 48 hours of arrival. This website will provide current updates so please check the COVID-19 page for the latest news.

Jazz II Academy Session

July 31 – August 13, 2022 | Tuition: $2,200

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

2022 grant support has been provided by The Les Paul Foundation.

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.

Apply Now

Birch Creek Jazz – Jack Mulvey

Jack Mulvey, Trumpet, speaks on his experience with the Academy.

Jazz II Faculty

Subject to change

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

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.

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. 2022 is Hines’ 15th year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.clarencehines.com

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. 2022 marks 21 years as a Birch Creek faculty member.

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. 2022 is Clay’s 17th year at Birch Creek.  Website: www.clayjenkins.net/

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. 2022 marks Jackson’s 6th year at Birch Creek.

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.

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 22nd year as a Birch Creek faculty member.

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

 

Todd Williams
Tenor Saxophone

McCordsville, IN

Dr. Todd Williams hails from among the finest woodwind artists in today’s music scene. As such he is sought as a saxophonist, clarinetist, flautist and clinician. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Indiana Wesleyan University where he serves as director of the IWU Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and many other duties. Williams has appeared as a guest lecturer and conductor for the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and he has recently earned his doctoral degree in music education at the Jacob School of Music, Indiana University.

Originally known for his saxophone and clarinet work with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Williams has been honored with such positions as Assistant Professor at Queens College in New York City and Music Director of Times Square Church where he has penned a wide variety of contemporary gospel choral works. His flagship composition, “We Proclaim Him,” has been a featured international favorite since 2003. The same may be heard, among other originals, on the TSC Music label.

Williams has performed at most every prestigious venue in the U.S. and abroad from multiple performances at the White House to Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. Williams is a four-time recipient of ASCAP’s Plus Award for Composers. His latest jazz recording, Lift Up Your Heads, is now available on Amazon. 2022 marks Williams’ sixth year at Birch Creek.

Website: toddmaxmusic.com

Jeff Campbell
Program Director & Academy Jazz Orchestra Director | Bass
David Bixler
Alto Saxophone
Tanya Darby
Trumpet
Rick Haydon
Guitar
Clarence Hines
Trombone
Steve Horne
Trombone
Clay Jenkins
Trumpet
Adaron "Pops" Jackson
Piano
Nic Meyer
Jazz II Studio Band Director
Marty Robinson
Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director | Trumpet
Mardra Thomas
Vocalist
Reggie Thomas
Piano
Todd Williams
Tenor Saxophone

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