Birch Creek Percussion & Steel Band Program

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.

If you are ready to take your percussion playing to the next level, Apply Now.

Percussion & Steel Band Academy

Senior Track | June 14 – 27, 2020  |  Tuition: $2,100
A two-week Percussion Intensive for Students Ages 14-19

Junior Track | June 14 – 20, 2020  |  Tuition: $900
A one-week Percussion Experience for Students Ages 13-15

Need-based and merit scholarships are available.

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Detailed admissions information can be found in the Application Instructions on the Apply Now page.
$100 Application Fee due upon registration, applied to tuition.

Areas of Study

Concert 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 internationally-known, 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.

Drum Set
Learn new musical styles and techniques and fine tune your chops.

World Percussion
Experience a variety of world music styles. Birch Creek Faculty Artists have a wide range of expertise in musical styles from around the world.

For detailed admissions information, go to the Apply Now page.

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Birch Creek Percussion – Behind the Scenes

The Birch Creek Percussion & Steel Band summer academy in Egg Harbor, WI offers a comprehensive summer education experience for the young adult percussionist. Through firsthand experience with many performances, small-group instruction, and master classes, this program provides an incredible study of all the instruments and styles expected of today’s percussionist who is planning on working at the college level and beyond.

Faculty

Click for bios.

Dan Moore
Percussion & Steel Band Program Director / Faculty Artist

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

Web site: www.dan-moore.com

Yuko Asada
Assistant Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan

DeKalb, IL

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

Anthony Di Sanza
Faculty Artist

Madison, WI

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

Vicki Peterson Jenks
Faculty Artist

Wild Rose, WI

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

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Scott McConnell
Faculty Artist

Chicago, IL

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

Wesley Morgan
Faculty Artist | Bass

Brookfield, IL

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

Website: www.wesleymorganmusic.com

Peter Naughton
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer

Iowa City, IA

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

Brian Nozny
Composer in Residence

Troy, AL

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. Nozny presently resides in Troy, AL where he is on the music faculty at Troy University.

Dane Richeson
Faculty Artist

Appleton, WI

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

Emily Roane
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer

Philadelphia, PA

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

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Brad Stirtz
Faculty Artist | Vibraphone

Naperville, IL

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

Website: Brad Stirtz

Liam Teague
Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan

DeKalb, IL

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

Website: liamteague.com

Rodrigo Villanueva
Faculty Artist

Janesville, WI

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

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Website: www.rodrigovillanueva.com

Dan Moore
Percussion & Steel Band Program Director / Faculty Artist
Yuko Asada
Assistant Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan
Anthony Di Sanza
Faculty Artist
Vicki Peterson Jenks
Faculty Artist
Scott McConnell
Faculty Artist
Wesley Morgan
Faculty Artist | Bass
Peter Naughton
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer
Brian Nozny
Composer in Residence
Dane Richeson
Faculty Artist
Emily Roane
Percussion Teaching Assistant / Performer
Brad Stirtz
Faculty Artist | Vibraphone
Liam Teague
Steel Band Director / Faculty Artist | Steelpan
Rodrigo Villanueva
Faculty Artist

Faculty subject to change.

VIEW ALL SUMMER MUSIC ACADEMY FACULTY BIOS

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