Egg Harbor, Wis. (January 10, 2024) – Birch Creek Music Performance Center is thrilled to present “Music of the Heart,” an enchanting Valentine’s Concert fundraiser featuring the remarkable talents of Birch Creek Big Band Jazz session faculty members Mardra Thomas on vocals, Reggie Thomas on piano, and Rick Haydon on guitar. The trio will perform on the Juniper Hall stage on Saturday, February 10.
You’ve enjoyed the music of Mardra & Reggie Thomas with Rick Haydon on Birch Creek’s Jazz Orchestra’s summer stage. Now let them warm your winter as they share timeless jazz standards and fresh arrangements of some of your favorite songs with this intimate evening of “Music of the Heart.” Selections for the performance will be announced from the stage.
Doors open at 5:15 and guests are invited to indulge in the delightful ambiance, starting with a pre-concert social at 5:30 pm. At 6:00 pm, the night will continue with a cash bar offering a selection of beverages and delectable heavy hors d’oeuvres by Culinaria, providing the perfect backdrop for an evening of musical elegance.
All proceeds from “Music of the Heart” directly support Birch Creek students, ensuring that the next generation of musicians receives the education and guidance needed for their artistic growth.
Tickets for this special event cost $85 per person and may be purchased at BirchCreek.org/Tickets or by contacting the Birch Creek Box Office at (920) 868-3763. You may also buy tickets in person at the Birch Creek office at 3821 County Rd E, three miles east of Egg Harbor. Birch Creek’s winter office hours are Monday-Thursday, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM and Friday, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
This event is generously sponsored by Door County Medical Center. Because of their sponsorship support, all proceeds from this event will benefit Birch Creek students. Seating is limited and we expect this concert to sell out so please purchase your tickets early.
Don’t miss this chance to experience the magic of “Music of the Heart” with Birch Creek’s esteemed Big Band Jazz session faculty. Join us for an evening of enchanting melodies, delightful company, and the joy of supporting music education.
Mardra Thomas, vocals, has performed for more than twenty years with the Birch Creek Jazz Orchestra. She’s seen at concert halls, jazz festivals and premier clubs as well as on the theatre stage and in the
director’s chair. She paints a musical and historical picture of the life of Billie Holiday and was nominated for Best Leading Actress in a Musical by Chicago’s Black Theatre Alliance’s Award for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Mardra also performs with the illustrious Chicago Jazz Orchestra. She is recorded on Matters Of the Heart and Fade To Blue with her husband pianist Reggie Thomas.
Pianist Reggie Thomas is Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University and Director of the award winning NIU Jazz Orchestra. He has taught at Michigan State University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Thomas performs with an illustrious number of talented musicians and fronts the Chicago based group, Trio Nexus with George Fludas and Dennis Carroll and is part of the historic Chicago Jazz Orchestra. He is Ensemble Coach for Carnegie Hall’s (NYOJazz) National Youth Orchestra and holds “The Count’s Seat” as a member of The Count Basie Orchestra. Thomas is a rhythm section accompanist for the Herbie Hancock International Jazz Competitions and has operated as a consultant/clinician for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Program and Band Director’s Academy. He is a clinician/adjudicator for the University of South Africa (Unisa) International Competitions in Pretoria, South Africa and the American Pianists Association in Indianapolis. Thomas has a number of recordings and has been performing at Birch Creek for over thirty years.
Rick Haydon, guitar, 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.
Birch Creek Music Performance Center celebrates its 49th season 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.