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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Birch Creek Music Performance Center, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Music, Performing Arts Schools

Mission: to provide intensive, performance-based instruction to promising young musicians by immersing them in a professional, mentoring environment.

Results: Founded in 1976, Birch Creek pairs talented youth with world-class artists and educators in the musical genres of symphony, percussion & steel band, and jazz in four 2-week sessions a rural, idyllic campus 3 miles east of Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. Students study by day and perform with professionals by night (as well as in outreach concerts) for audiences of more than 11,000 each season. Students have gone on to become touring performers with the likes of Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra Jr, Maynard Ferguson, and Jon Batiste, to name a few; to win seats in symphony orchestras; to become members of the music faculty at colleges and universities; and to publish/produce literature (both compositions as well as trade magazines) for the music field.

Target demographics: advanced young musicians ages 13 - 19

Direct beneficiaries per year: 192 students, 107 faculty and teaching assistants, 11,300 concertgoers (paid tickets and free outreach audiences), 139 volunteers, and 21 local school students in educational outreach (Artists in the Schools).

Geographic areas served: Wisconsin, the Midwest, and beyond

Programs: Four two-week resident sessions and one one-week session are offered each summer in the following genres: Symphony, Percussion & Steel Band, Big Band Jazz (two sessions), and Vocal Jazz (one week). Approximately 50 students are enrolled in jazz and symphony sessions, 25-30 in percussion, and 20 in vocal jazz with a 1.8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

Community Stories

25 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Scott155

Donor

Rating: 5

I first began attending Birch Creek concerts about 8 years ago. I never knew how wonderful a symphony could sound played by middle school and high schoolers. The next year I attended a jazz concert and the next a percussion concert. What the faculty does with those young ladies and young men is astounding! I am so proud that our little Door County is the location for such a venue. Keep up the great work Birch Creek!

Donor

Rating: 5

Perfect place for a youth to find his/her niche in the guidance of career greats. All with a single purpose, to share their gifts. Excellent end of session concerts! Perfect backdrop for a great community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Hi:

I've been on the jazz teaching faculty at Birch Creek Music Performance Center for almost 15 years. It is such a positive force in the lives of the young musicians who come there each summer. They are immersed in the art of jazz music, challenged and lovingly supported by the faculty, led by Jazz Program Director Jeff Campbell, and a 100% committed staff, led by Executive Director Mona Christensen. It's a marvelous place to be involved with, and for as long as I'm able, I'll continue to be a part of Birch Creek.

Michael Stryker, D.M.A.
Professor, Jazz Piano
Associate Director, WIU Jazz Program
School of Music
Western Illinois University
309.298.1544 (Office)
585.315.2371 (Cell)
MS-Stryker@wiu.edu

Comments ( 1 )

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KateRericha 11/25/2016

Your role, Dr. Stryker, as mentor, educator and performer is essential to the success of every Birch Creek student. Thank you. Kate, Birch Creek Staff

Donor

Rating: 5

For more than 40 years Birch Creek has been providing young people world class performance music instruction. We have been volunteering in several different capacities for the past 8 season and have found it to be an extraordinary place. What makes it special? The world class faculty of teaching/professional musicians, the ratio of 1 faculty per 2 students, the serene and beautiful campus, the opportunities for students to perform before live, paying audiences several times during their residency and the corps of committed and passionate staff and volunteers.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Birch Creek was without a doubt one of the best times of my life. I learned so much about not only music, but also life. The intensive musical experience was incredible, and getting to work with such amazing faculty was very rewarding. Being surrounded with like minded people made it an incredible time. I made some amazing friends. But above all else, Birch Creek made me a better person. It gave me confidence and taught me some important lessons about hard work and kindness that I will carry with me both in and out of the music world. I wouldn't trade my time at Birch Creek for anything.

Comments ( 1 )

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KateRericha 11/25/2016

...and we wouldn't trade you for anything! Without your intensity, talent and love for music, we couldn't be the successful academy we are today. Thank you! Kate R, Birch Creek Staff

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have never been to a more rewarding music camp.
I not only got top notch education from fantastic instructors, while I was here, I learned a lot about life after high school, and music career opportunities that lead me to the University I am currently attending.
Also, this camp is in my favorite place in the world. I had been going up to Door County long before I was ever playing the violin, and the opportunity to spend two weeks up there doing what I love in a fantastic, welcoming, and educational environment, was absolutely priceless.

Comments ( 1 )

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KateRericha 11/25/2016

...and, all you said in your review embodies our mission. Your love of music and performance contributes to our success. Thank you! Kate R, Birch Creek Staff

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was a Symphony student in 98 and 99. I learned an immeasurable amount of things about music and myself while at Birch Creek. I have now been teaching music for 11 years and come back for a concert every few years. All groups are amazing and I know the organization is doing great things for students and the area every day!
- Beth Mohr (bassoon)

Comments ( 1 )

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KateRericha 11/25/2016

Beth, you must stop and talk to us the next time you come for a concert! Staff members are always strolling the grounds pre-concert and at intermission, or you could leave a note at the box office. Your success is ours! Kate R, Birch Creek Staff

1 Aimee N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This was one of the best musical experiences that I have had. I attended the Birch Creek Jazz II session and it completely prepared me for what it took to be a serious Jazz musician. All of the teachers there are professional musicians who make their living as performers. Many of them also teach at colleges or have performed in world renown groups such as the Count Basie Band. The camp does a great job at simulating what it is like to be a musician. In the words of the director, "If you learn that you want to be a musician while you are here then we have done you a great service. If you learn that you do not want to be a musician then we have still done you a great service". While you are here you're going to to learn a lot and you will learn what you need to do to become a great jazz musician. You're going to make a lot of connections with both teachers and friends after coming here. I wouldn't trade the experiences I had here for anything. I highly recommend going if you want to become a jazz musician.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter's time spent at Birch Creek helped her find a place to be with like-minded people as passionate about music as she is. We're so thankful for her experience there, and she's thankful for her "Birch Creek fam"!

Comments ( 1 )

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KateRericha 11/25/2016

And, we are thankful for her talent, her remarkable connection with Birch Creek concertgoers, and -- not least of all -- your trust in Birch Creek with your daughter's music growth! Kate, Birch Creek Staff

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son attended the Summer Jazz Camp at Birch Creek for two years. The quality of the instruction is outstanding. Not only do the students get to learn from a talented, professional staff, they also get to see these wonderful musicians perform in entertaining and enjoyable concerts. The relationships that were developed during my son's time at Birch Creek are invaluable.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to Birch Creek for four summers in high school, and it had a tremendous effect on my musical life. The faculty were brilliant, the other students were enthusiastic, and the whole atmosphere was so friendly and supportive. I am now finishing up a music degree at a conservatory and pursuing a career in professional music performance. Birch Creek did a lot to both inspire and prepare me for the life of a professional musician. I can't speak highly enough of this organization.

11

Client Served

Rating: 5

Birch Creek was the very best part of my summer of 2009. I met people I will never forget and was taught by some of the most wonderful musicians. They've helped me to grow musically, and also as a person to help me to develop who I am. The staff was absolutely incredible, they helped me tremendously, and I give my uppermost respect and gratitude to every one of them!

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am an associate faculty member at Birch Creek and have been teaching there since 2002. I look forward to going back to teach every year because it is such a rewarding experience for me. I love seeing the students grow as musicians and people during their two week stay. All of the students are very talented, serious and dedicated about music and learning all they can about it.

Comments ( 1 )

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KateRericha 11/25/2016

We are thankful for dedicated and talented faculty like you to mentor these talented students! Kate R, Birch Creek Staff

12

Former staff

Rating: 5

Birch Creek engages students with music in a way that challenges them no matter what level they started at. Faculty and staff are generally very supportive of one another and of students both as individuals and maturing musicians.

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've taught for 15 years at the Birch Creek Percussion Camp. Every year I am amazed at the level of inspiration and richness of experience related to music that these students receive. There's no place in the country that gives high school students the depth and breadth of world percussion combined with classical percussion experience both in masterclasses for learning and performing in front of large enthusiastic audiences.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Last summer I went to the Birch Creek Symphony and Jazz Camp for the first time. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'd heard good things from my friends. I ended up learning more in those four weeks than I would have learned in months otherwise. That was definitely one of the best summers I've ever had, and I hope to go back this year.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

Birch Creek is an amazing experience for all types of students. I attended two summers of their Jazz Session, and there were opportunities for vast improvement for both beginning and extremely advanced students. A great organization!

13

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been on the faculty of Birch Creek for the past 10 years. It is definitely a highlight of each year for me. The chance to work, teach and perform with outstanding and enthusiastic young people is a real treat. To spend 2 weeks on such a beautiful campus, with a high quality faculty and in a wonderful location like Door Cty is something special. There are few other places which can offer students as much as Birch Creek and I'm truly honored to be included as a member of this fine musical and educational organization.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It would be an understatment to say that my experience at Birch Creek was exceptional. It completely changed my life. My high school is lucky enough to have a percussion ensemble program, but it is nothing like the program for percussionists at the camp. All of the instructors are world-class, well traveled, and knowledgeable on everything. I will also never forget the friends I made. The types of music that I was able to play come from every culture and really gave me a connection to the rest of the world. Also, steel pan is the greatest thing I've ever played, and I am so lucky that Birch Creek teaches everyone to play it. The camp inspired me to be better than I ever was, and I am now becoming a music performance major in college. I can thank Birch Creek for advancing my understanding of music as well as my passion for it.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first heard about Birch Creek through my private teacher; if you read no further, that alone should be an indication of the quality of the program: that my teacher was still talking about it and encouraging students to go years later. I was terrified initially, but soon found myself at home among the faculty and especially my fellow students. The atmosphere is unlike anything else I've found. People will support you and help you, and every year we leave unwillingly, wishing for more time. I learned so much in the years that I attended camp there, about performing and about myself. Every year pushed me further than I had gone before and to the limits of my abilities; there is no better atmosphere for growth. There is a reason that students return as TA's and faculty: they are so touched by what they receive in two brief weeks that they feel almost obligated to pass it on and make things even better. It is a singularly unique experience that I will never forget.