Birch Creek Jazz II

Registration for the 2021 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. This website will provide current updates so please check the COVID-19 page for the latest news.

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, international applicants will not be accepted to the 2021 Summer Music Academy.

Jazz II Academy Session

July 25-August 7, 2021 | Tuition: $2,100

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

2021 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 axophonist, composer and educator David Bixler is a multi-faceted artist, having received critical acclaim for both his playing and his writing. 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. 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.”

Bixler is the host of LINER NOTES with David Bixler, a podcast centered on conversations with jazz musicians. He also serves as 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 and performer throughout the world. 2021 is Bixler’s 22nd year at Birch Creek.

Website: www.davidbixler.com

Phillip Crews
Student Band Director

Chicago, IL

Phillip Crews received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the VanderCook College of Music, Chicago, IL. He directed the band programs at Thornton High School and is starting his 18th year as band director at Rich Central High School. Crews was recognized in 2009 for excellence in teaching by the Illinois State Board of Education receiving the “Those Who Excel” award and was honored with the Mary Hoffman Award of Excellence in recognition of teaching excellence in music education at the 2018 Illinois Music Education Conference. He was inducted into Phi Beta Mu, the International Bandmasters Fraternity in 2017. Crews was a Birch Creek student in 1989 and is joining us for an 8th season as a faculty member.

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 been a Birch Creek faculty member for 21 years.

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

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/

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. He has won numerous awards including Who’s Who in Music, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for composition, and Outstanding Alumni from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Mackrel is also an experienced jazz educator who conducts master classes, seminars and workshops throughout Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States and is currently an assistant chair and professor of jazz studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in Flushing, NY. Dennis has been on the Birch Creek faculty for 12 years.  Website: www.dennismackrelmusic.com.

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. This is Robinson’s 21st year at Birch Creek.

Mardra Thomas
Vocalist

DeKalb, IL

Vocalist/Actress Mardra Thomas marks her 25th year performing with the Birch Creek Jazz Orchestra. For years, she has painted a musical and historical picture of the life of Billie Holiday. Thomas 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. She 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. Thomas performs with an illustrious number of talented musicians and fronts his Chicago based group, Trio Nexus, with George Fludas and Dennis Carroll. He 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 a 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 29 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. 2021 marks Todd’s fifth year at Birch Creek.

Jeff Campbell
Program Director & Academy Jazz Orchestra Director | Bass
David Bixler
Alto Saxophone
Phillip Crews
Student Band Director
Tanya Darby
Trumpet
Rick Haydon
Guitar
Clarence Hines
Trombone
Steve Horne
Trombone
Clay Jenkins
Trumpet
Dennis Mackrel
Drums
Marty Robinson
Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director | Trumpet
Mardra Thomas
Vocalist
Reggie Thomas
Piano
Todd Williams
Tenor Saxophone

VIEW ALL SUMMER MUSIC ACADEMY FACULTY BIOS