Birch Creek puts a whole new twist to the meaning of summer music academy, with their elite lineup of faculty members from across the country working with students in a century-old barn-turned-concert hall. On July 16, students and faculty from Nevada to New York, Canada, and 10 other states made their way to Door County to educate and perform at Birch Creek Music Performance Center’s jazz program.
With its 2:1 student to faculty ratio, students focus on instrumental technique, improvisation, and music theory in various seminar and workshop settings. Jazz I student and local pianist Jonathan Bass said of the faculty, “One of the things they try to do here is make you, as a student, experience the life of a professional musician.”
Giving students an effective combination of experiences helps them master the fundamentals of jazz while establishing professional attitudes needed for a career in music. In addition to performing on the Birch Creek stage at night, students are selected from within the jazz program to form an advanced student combo. The Ambassadors, the jazz session’s outreach arm, perform throughout the small, quaint villages that make Door County so attractive to tourists, and are featured at numerous Birch Creek concerts.
Students and faculty will perform 13 more concerts at Birch Creek this summer, including, “The Joy of Swing,” “Ellington, Basie, & Miller,” “The Great American Big Band,” and more. In addition to these nightly concerts, the student jazz bands will hold free outreach concerts at the Sister Bay Pavilion July 26 and Aug. 9 from 3-5 pm. Concert and session dates are posted at birchcreek.org/tickets.