More than 600 Door County students from choir and band programs at Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol schools took part in Birch Creek’s Artists in the School program on Feb. 12. Artists in the Schools began in 2002 as a way for Birch Creek and its faculty to give back to the community. This program allows nationally acclaimed faculty to return to Door County each year and share their talent and experience with local public school music students.
This year, Jodie DeSalvo, of the Birch Creek Symphony faculty, played piano and guest tenor Jonathan Zeng sang classical and contemporary pieces, from Chopin and Mozart to Billy Joel and songs from Broadway musicals. Students from grades 3 through 12 gathered at each session to hear the performances, ask questions and receive advice and encouragement.
It was a whirlwind tour that began at 7 am with the Southern Door Jazz Band, followed by visits to Sunrise Elementary School in Sturgeon Bay and then back to Southern Door to perform for and mentor the high school choir students. The afternoon included 50-minute sessions with the Sturgeon Bay High School Choir and Band and a grand finale with 6th-8th graders at Sevastopol School.
Southern Door Choir Director Bonnie Weydt said, “What a great learning experience for the singers! The high school vocalists have been talking about Jonathan’s performance. They were just in awe. I have been referring to and making connections to his stage presence, resonance and vocal quality and overall performance all week. They thought Jodie was amazing – just seamless playing. Thank you again for this awesome opportunity.”