Egg Harbor, Wis. (May 23, 2023) – Birch Creek Music Performance Center is excited to announce its adult program offerings for the 2023 season. Known for its acclaimed summer music academy for young musicians, Birch Creek’s expanded programming serves the music performance desires of adult learners. The Wind Ensemble Retreat, Chamber Music Retreat, and newly launched Piano Retreat all offer a supportive and encouraging environment for adult musicians to refine their music performance skills while enjoying the beauty of Door County, Wisconsin.
The Wind Ensemble Retreat, taking place from August 15-18, 2023, offers the opportunity for musicians to enhance their music reading and performance skills. The program is in its sixth year. Past attendees include community band members, band teachers and other active amateur players. Charles (Chip) Staley and Birch Creek’s Jazz Band Directors, Jim Stombres and Steve Sveum return as co-directors in 2023. Adult musicians of intermediate or medium skill level or higher are encouraged to apply.
The Chamber Music Retreat, offered for the fourth time at Birch Creek, is accepting applications from adult musicians of intermediate or medium playing ability and higher. The program will take place August 21-24, 2023. Ricardo Castañeda, program director for Birch Creek’s Symphony Session returns this year as director, along with a cadre of professional musicians from the Midwest. Designed for wind, string and piano ensembles, adult musicians will study with professional coaches Monday through Thursday.
For piano enthusiasts, recent graduates, teachers, amateurs, and semi-professionals, Birch Creek offers a new program for 2023 – the Piano Retreat. Taking place from September 29-October 1, 2023, this non-competitive program provides masterclasses, lectures, and performance opportunities in a collaborative, friendly, and supportive environment. Participants will have the opportunity to hone their piano skills and reinvigorate their creative energies with renowned piano pedagogues – Susan Tang, Jodie DeSalvo and Geoffrey Duce.
All adult programs at Birch Creek provide an enriching educational opportunity that meets the technical and enrichment needs of adult learners. With a focus on learning styles and individual needs, these programs offer the chance to improve music performance skills.
“We are thrilled to announce these exciting adult program offerings for the 2023 season,” said Mona Christensen, Birch Creek Executive Director. “We believe that music is for everyone, and we are committed to providing a supportive and enriching environment for musicians of all ages and skill levels.”
Each program culminates with a free, public concert performance. The Wind Ensemble Retreat concert takes place on Friday, August 18 at 2:00 PM in the Dutton Concert Barn. Chamber Music Retreat musicians will perform in Juniper Hall on Thursday, August 24 at 2:00 PM. The Piano Retreat finale performance class takes place Sunday, October 1 at 1:30 PM.
Tuition includes instruction, continental breakfast, and lunch during each session. Onsite dorm housing is available on a first come, first served basis for all programs.
For more information on Birch Creek’s adult program offerings and to register, please visit Birch Creek’s website: BirchCreek.org/Adult-Programs.
Wind Ensemble Retreat Faculty Co-Directors:
Charles “Chip” Staley, Naperville, IL directs the Wind Symphony and is the Large Ensemble Department Chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago. Staley is the Founder and President of ARTSpeaks, a non-profit arts advocacy organization, supervises student teachers at Roosevelt University, facilitates the “Alive Inside” program for AgeGuide and teaches graduate coursework at the VanderCook College of Music.
Staley has been awarded the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Music Inspiration Award, the John Paynter Lifetime Achievement Award, the John Philip Sousa Foundation’s Sudler Flag of Honor, the Illinois Music Educators Association Mary Hoffman Excellence in Teaching Award, and the American School Band Directors Association Franko Goldman Award.
Jim Stombres, St. Charles, IL taught for 37 years and is the retired Director of Bands 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 Master of 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.
Steve Sveum, Sun Prairie, WI 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 is a 2014 recipient of the DownBeat Jazz Education Achievement award. The 2023 season marks two decades for Sveum at Birch Creek’s summer music academy and his sixth year co-directing the Wind Ensemble Retreat.
Chamber Music Retreat Director:
Ricardo Castañeda, Oak Park, IL
2023 marks Ricardo Castañeda’s 26th year at Birch Creek. 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.
Chamber Music Faculty (subject to change): String Quartet
Carol Dylan, Violin, Crystal Lake, IL
Jenna Ferdon, Violin, Omaha, NE
Vannia Phillips, Viola, Chicago, IL
Emily Mantell, Cello, Orland Park, IL Woodwind Quintet
Scott Metlicka, Flute, Chicago, IL Ricardo Castañeda, Oboe, Oak Park, IL TBA, Clarinet
John Gaudette, Bassoon, Chicago, IL TBA, Horn Piano
Susan Tang, Piano, Chicago, IL
Piano Retreat Faculty:
Susan Tang, Director, 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 (a multi-institutional initiative to explore the piano repertoire of Black American composers). 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.
Jodie DeSalvo, 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. 2023 marks her 27th year as a Birch Creek faculty member.
Geoffrey Duce, Bloomington, IL
Currently Associate Professor of Piano at Illinois State University, Geoffrey Duce has previously served on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music, the State University of New York (Westchester Community College), and Indiana University South Bend. He has given masterclasses for the Orquesta Filarmónica in Bogotá, Colombia, and at such institutions as the University of Hawaii, the City of Edinburgh Music School, St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, and Seattle’s Academy of Music Northwest, as well as at colleges in Tennessee, Michigan, Wisconsin, and throughout Illinois.
Birch Creek Music Performance Center celebrates its 48th year as Door County’s Residential Summer Music Academy in Egg Harbor, WI, for advanced student musicians. With a performance emphasis, students are taught by nationally known performers and educators during the day and perform alongside them in concerts at night. Four sessions focus on Percussion, Steel Pan & World Music; Symphony, and Big Band Jazz. Proceeds from all Birch Creek events and concerts provide support for Birch Creek students.