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Chamber Music Retreat at Birch Creek

22 August, 2019 to 24 August, 2019
Chamber groups needed

Experience the joy of learning and enhancing your music performance skills in the supportive, encouraging, and peaceful environment at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, WI. Known nationally and internationally for its summer music academy for aspiring young musicians, and most recently its Adult Band Camp, the Chamber Music Retreat at Birch Creek, for strings, winds and piano players, serves the music performance desires of the adult learner with a chamber music emphasis. With a full daily schedule of rehearsals, masterclasses and chamber ensembles, you will refine your music performance skills and still have time to enjoy the allure of quintessential Door County in late afternoon into the evenings. Participate in reading sessions and perform music by day, and explore the County by taking in a show, concert or nature by night. Have the time of your life enjoying the best of both worlds at Birch Creek!


Adult musicians of intermediate or medium skill level or higher are encouraged to apply. Applications are accepted first come, first served. Audition assessments will take place for part rotation assignments. This will include major scales, sight reading, and an optional short prepared selection. This non-competitive program will foster skill-building and performance opportunities for the intermediate/medium level musician. Community band/orchestra members and music teachers are encouraged to apply.

Online Application

Enrollment is limited to maintain a healthy balance in the ensembles. Wait lists will be maintained. Click on the application image below to register online or you may download this printable pdf application and send it in with your deposit/room fee if applicable. You will receive confirmation materials upon receipt of payment. For general questions or to register contact Michelle at 920-868-3763 or email


Chamber Music Retreat
Online Application

Schedule and General Information

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is located in the heart of Door County, about an hour north of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The campus is situated on 40 acres of property, where academy  performances are held in a century-old performance barn. For more information about Birch Creek see our website:

Tentative Schedule: Check-in begins at 9:00 AM on Thursday, August 22, followed by auditions, orientation, lunch and the first class session on Thursday afternoon. Regular rehearsals begin first thing in the morning and continue through the afternoon, with appropriate breaks for meals, practicing etc. The retreat concludes with a final performance in Juniper Hall on Saturday, August 24 at 7:00 PM. Participants may depart by approximately 8:30 pm on the final day, or choose to stay one more night, if staying onsite.


$325 (which includes instruction, breakfast and lunch for duration of session). All applications must be accompanied by a $75 non-refundable registration fee, which is applied to the basic fee. Balance of the fee must be paid by August 1. If written notice to withdraw arrives by August 1, all payments made, less the $75 deposit, will be considered for refund. Early registration is recommended.


Limited housing is available on campus in hotel-style rooms located in our faculty dorm building and in student dorms (bunk-style). Rates for faculty housing rooms are $80 per night; bunk style beds are available for $30 per night. All rooms are available on a first come-first served basis. Spouses may stay onsite as well.

For participants who choose to stay offsite, we recommend that you search for rooms/camp sites in Door County. Accommodations for participants are available at We strongly recommend early reservations as Door County is a very popular tourism destination in the summer, especially on the weekends.

Meals: Continental breakfasts and lunches are provided in the fee. Participants dine with Birch Creek instructional faculty in the campus dining room. Spouses of camp participants may purchase a meal package for a $50 fee. Dinners are on your own, off-site. Door County offers a plethora of dining options, from very affordable to high end culinary experiences, many within a short driving distance from the campus.

Instructional Facilities

Participants will study, perform and rehearse in a number of campus rooms. Birch Creek offers an array of practice rooms, classrooms, lounges and Juniper Hall, our recital hall. For more campus information visit

Camp Program Policies

Birch Creek is a 501 c(3) with a mission to provide performance-based instruction to promising young musicians. Camp policies are in place to protect the health and well-being of all stakeholders, including adults and the public, and to protect Birch Creek property. Birch Creek is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, drug-free environment. Weapons and pets are not allowed. Working service animals are permitted.


String Quartet

EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks, Violin, Providence, RI
Armed with a performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a doctorate from SUNY Stony Brook, EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks serves on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and as principal second violinist with the New Bedford Symphony. She co-directs Rhode Island’s Newport String Project, an innovative program that combines chamber music performance with music education for underserved children.

Elizabeth YorkViolin, Saint Paul, MN
Elizabeth York holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in violin and viola from Stony Brook University. She lives in St. Paul, MN where she is an active performer and teacher. She is Associate Principal Second Violin of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, and is the newly appointed violin faculty at College of St. Benedict/St. John's University. York performs on baroque violin with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, where she also serves on the board of directors.



Vannia Phillips, Viola, Chicago, IL
Vannia Philips has been a member of the Chicago Sinfonietta since 1998. She has performed with the Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Ars Viva, Lake Forest Symphony, Fulcrum Point, New Black Repertory Ensemble, Joffrey Ballet, and Elgin Symphony. She is in her third season as violist with the Evanston Chamber Opera company. Passionate about teaching, Phillips has taken Suzuki training with Edward Kreitman, Nancy Jackson, and Tom Wermuth at the Western Springs School for Talent Education, Michelle George at the Music Institute of Chicago, and Ann Montzka Smelser. She currently teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago and Music for Youth of Arlington Heights.

Margaret Daly, Cello, Park Ridge, IL
Margaret Daly is a member of the Chicago Philharmonic and Lake Forest Symphony cello sections. She is often found playing in various groups around Chicago, including the Joffrey Ballet, Grant Park Symphony and Rockford Symphony. As a founding member of the string quartet 4spiel, she enjoys combining classical, American standards and jazz-influenced tunes in fresh arrangements for quartets, singers and guest instrumentalists.

Woodwind Quintet

Shannon Finney, Flute, Kansas City, MO
Shannon Finney is Associate Principal Flutist with the Kansas City Symphony. She also currently performs with the Kansas City-based chamber music ensemble, Summerfest.



Ricardo Castañeda, Oboe, Oak Park, IL
Ricardo Castañeda received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music performance from Northwestern University. Castañeda is currently Principal Oboist with the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Sinfonietta, and English Horn with The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. Castañeda is also a member of the Chicago Ensemble and Barossa Woodwind Quintet. In addition to being on the faculty at Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois at Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University, Castañeda has been on the faculty at Birch Creek Music Performance Center since 1998 and has been Symphony Program Director since 2001.

Elizandro Garcia-Montoya, Clarinet, Chicago, IL
Elizandro Garcia-Montoya is principal clarinet of the Elmhurst Symphony and Fifth House Ensemble. He performs regularly with the Chicago Philharmonic and Chicago Sinfonietta; and during the summers at the New Hampshire Music Festival and Fresh Inc Festival specializing in new music. Garcia-Montoya has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Jacksonville Symphony, and was Principal Clarinet of the State of Mexico Orchestra and Mineria Symphony Orchestra in Mexico City.

John Gaudette, Bassoon, Chicago, IL
John Gaudette studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played in the Dallas Symphony, CBC Radio Orchestra, and was assistant principal in the Vancouver Symphony. Gaudette freelances in the Chicago area with the Chicago Symphony and Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, and Fulcrum Point. Currently, he teaches at Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Jeremiah Frederick, French Horn, Chicago, IL
Jeremiah Frederick holds the positions of Associate Principal Horn of the South Bend Symphony and Second Horn of the Lake Forest Symphony and plays regularly with the IRIS Orchestra in Memphis. In addition, Frederick has played with many Chicago-area ensembles including the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Philharmonic, the Grant Park, Elgin, and Rockford Symphonies, the Joffrey Ballet and Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Jodie DeSalvo, Piano, Naples, FL
Jodie DeSalvo is a frequent soloist with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. She has toured extensively as a piano soloist appearing with the orchestras of Chicago, Geneva, Lucerne, San Francisco, Hartford and Chautauqua. DeSalvo also has a recital/lecture series at the Artis-Naples and has numerous CDs to her credit. In recent years, she has added the comedy of Victor Borge to her repertoire, with interpretations of his skits, including Phonetic Punctuation and Inflationary Language, as well as writing her own original material. 2019 will mark her 23rd year as a Birch Creek faculty member.