Vocal Jazz at Birch Creek

(Left to right) Mary Bondeson, Stephanie Benton, Connor MacDonald, Genevieve Heyward and Bonnie Weydt participated in Birch Creek’s inaugural vocal jazz session. Photo by Heidi Hodges.

Sevastopol High School student Stephanie Benton and Gibraltar High School student Connor MacDonald – along with Southern Door teacher Bonnie Weydt, Gibraltar teacher Mary Bondeson and seasonal Door County resident Genevieve Heyward – studied voice under professional recording artists Janice Borla and Madeline Eastman at Birch Creek’s inaugural vocal jazz session Aug. 10 – 16.

Thirteen-year-old Benton studies music under Sevastopol teacher Cheryl Pfister and private instructor Kimberly Souther, and is a member of the Door County String Academy.

MacDonald is 16 years old and plays guitar, bass guitar and piano. He studies music under Gibraltar teacher Charlie Eckhardt.

Heyward hails from Pell Lake, Wis., but spends the summer with family in Door County and considers herself a part-time resident. Her school music teacher, Gregory Bunge, referred her to Birch Creek for the vocal jazz session. She plays piano, guitar and ukulele, but she especially likes to sing.

Weydt and Bondeson are choral directors at their respective schools and accepted invitations from Birch Creek to participate in the vocal jazz session. In addition to singing, Bondeson plays violin.

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is a summer music school for advanced young 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. Five sessions focus on percussion and steel band, symphony, big band jazz, and vocal jazz. Applications are welcome. For more information visit