Birch Creek Receives Les Paul Foundation Grant for Guitar Instruction

Birch Creek Music Performance Center was recognized for a fourth consecutive year with a grant from the Les Paul Foundation. The grant will partially underwrite guitar instruction for Birch Creek Students in 2016.

Rick Haydon, professor of music at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville (SIUE), leads guitar instruction at Birch Creek. Haydon designed, built and manages the SIUE recording studio and is head of the guitar program there. Haydon has been playing guitar for more than 40 years and has performed with many Jazz Guitar Masters, including Johnny Smith, Howard Roberts, and Bucky and John Pizzarelli. Bucky introduced Haydon to Les Paul at a concert in New York City, and Haydon remembers Paul defining the “new generation of guitar musician” who would become involved in the sound and technology of music. “I am that musician,” Haydon remarked. At Birch Creek, Haydon and fellow guitar faculty member Larry Brown introduce students to many of Les Paul’s performing and recording innovations.

At Birch Creek, students benefit from carrying on Les Paul’s legacy through instruction, anecdotal experiences and Master Classes. Birch Creek is honored to be among the organizations awarded a 2016 Les Paul Foundation grant.

Four sessions focus on Percussion & Steel Band, Symphony, and Big Band Jazz. 2016 concert and session dates are posted at


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