Birch Creek Music Performance Center

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is one of Door County’s attractions that is very dear to my heart. This summer, I had the wonderful privilege of working there as a public relations intern. I was able to see up close and personal the talented young musicians, highly respected faculty members, and incredible people behind the scenes who make everything come together.

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For those who have never heard of Birch Creek, it is a summer music school where talented young musicians typically the ages of 14 to 19 come for two weeks of intensive, performance-based instruction. Now, these students are not just taught by anyone. Birch Creek brings in respected faculty members from universities and ensembles all across the country. A small list of some of the faculty I had the opportunity to meet this summer includes Liam Teague (a phenomenal steelpan artist from Trinidad and Tobago), Robert Hanford (concertmaster of the Lyric Opera Orchestra), Jodie DeSalvo (an incredible pianist who has won countless awards and has played at Carnegie Hall), Joey Tartell (a trumpet genius who has played with Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, and Glenn Miller), and Tanya Darby (a previous member of the Grammy All-Star Band who has played with the Count Basie Orchestra among many others).

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The students are at Birch Creek for two weeks at a time under one of the following sessions: Symphony, Percussion, Jazz I or Jazz II. The students receive new music almost the moment they arrive and are expected to perform a concert within just a few days. The music is not easy either. It always amazed me every session how the students could pick it up so quickly and how dedicated they were to practicing. It also impressed me how well these big name faculty members were able to relate to the students and inspire them to be the best musicians they could be.

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There are 3-4 concerts every week that the public can purchase tickets to and attend. Both the students and the faculty play in every concert. The concerts take place inside a 100-year-old concert barn with prelude and intermission music that take place in an outdoor gazebo surrounded by benches. Imagine being surrounded by music in the cool,peaceful summer nights of Door County. That was my end of the week every week this summer. So cool!

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Living in residence at Birch Creek this summer was an opportunity that was so wonderful, and I am beyond happy that I spent my time there. I lived among young musicians who are going to do spectacular things with their lives and many faculty members who have already created themselves a legacy. All of the people who work behind the scenes at Birch Creek are just as passionate about their jobs and about music as the musicians are themselves, and they made the experience even more meaningful for me. Most of you will not get the chance to experience the entirety of Birch Creek that I experienced, but if you are ever in Door County you should definitely attend one of the concerts so you too can experience the magic in the music!

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Ashley, John, Me, and April (Some of the summer staff at Birch Creek)

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