Birch Creek Music Performance Center, a music academy located near Egg Harbor, has a mission to provide intensive performance instruction to promising young musicians from throughout the country and beyond by a faculty of world-renowned artists.
The academy recently appointed Door County resident Alan Kopischke as executive director, who “brings extensive experience in non-profit arts management and enthusiastic participation in the Door County community,” says Birch Creek Board President Jane Berg. “We are thrilled to welcome Alan.”
Sally Slattery spoke with Kopitschke about his new role at the prestigious academy.
Sally Slattery (SS): You’ve recently been appointed the executive director of Birch Creek Music Performance Center, how’s it going so far?
Alan Kopitschke (AK): It’s going great! There’s a huge amount for me to learn, the people are fantastic and there are some really exciting challenges and opportunities. We’re moving application and registration processes online, making ticketing available online and our concert season has come together beautifully. It’s going to being a thrilling experience at Birch Creek this summer.
SS: You have quite an extensive repertoire of experience in theatre and performance, including twelve years with Peninsula Players, how will this influence your new role at Birch Creek?
AK: I feel like I know Door County audiences pretty well, and I love to put on a good show. I’ll bring a different kind of eye, a different perspective to the performances. Oh, and I’ve been asked to narrate “The Velveteen Rabbit” to parts of Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite. That’ll be fun.
SS: Have you always been drawn to theatre and performance?
AK: I was a really shy kid, but I loved to sing. My mom took me and my brothers to audition for a professional production of The King & I in Milwaukee, and I got a small, featured part. When I had my first ‘bit’ on opening night, thousands of people roared with laughter. I was eight. And the feeling was intoxicating. I’ve enjoyed performing ever since.
SS: Do you have any goals for the 2013 season?
AK: We certainly have several organizational goals regarding recruitment, financial stability and community collaboration. Personally, my goals are to build relationships with all the faculty, board, staff, student families, patrons and volunteers who make Birch Creek such a magical experience.
SS: Birch Creek attracts talented kids from across the country, I heard the organization hopes to have more local kids involved – how do you hope to accomplish that?
AK: We have been reaching out to local music teachers and to students who have performed at a high level in Solo and Ensemble or been otherwise honored for their musical accomplishments and dedication. We’re continuing our Artists in the Schools initiative and are looking for other ways to engage local students. We know there are good work opportunities many of them want to pursue, but we want to be sure that they are aware of the musical and personal growth they could achieve through an amazing two-week experience at Birch Creek. And with the help of some generous sponsors, we have good scholarships available for them.
SS: If you could be a student a Birch Creek, what instrument would you study?
AK: In my dreams I would play Cello in the Symphony session, Conga Drums in Percussion and Alto Sax in Jazz. However, after much experimentation, I’ve discovered that my hands are ideally suited for me to be a vocalist.
For more information about Birch Creek’s programs and concerts, visit http://www.birchcreek.org or call 920.868.3763.