All summer programs, sessions, and performances for the summer season at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor will have to wait until next year. Birch Creek’s Board of Trustees and Executive Director Mona Christensen announced on Friday the cancellation of the 2020 Summer season scheduled from June 1 through August 10. Christensen shares what went into making the difficult decision.
Christiansen adds that Birch Creek is developing programs to allow musicians to learn through virtual online lessons and masterclasses that connect faculty with students. The adult band camp, chamber music retreat in August, and the fall concert series that starts on September 5 are still planned for later this summer. Birch Creek will be posting updates, interviews with faculty on their website, and social media platforms. The full press release is shown below.
For Immediate Release
Message from Birch Creek’s Executive Director and Board of Trustees
Egg Harbor, WI – After careful review of available information relating to the impact of COVID-19, the Birch Creek Board of Trustees and Executive Director have unanimously voted to cancel Birch Creek’s 2020 summer season, including all events, programs, sessions, and performances from June 1 through August 10.
Birch Creek administrative staff, and the board members who guide them, have always had at the heart of their decision making the safety of the students who study there, the communities who visit their campus, attend concerts, teach, work, and volunteer there.
The health and safety of those who live on Birch Creek’s campus and those from the larger community of music lovers who join them each summer was the board’s highest priority when making this difficult decision to close. In any given summer, talented students, staff, and faculty from across the nation convene on the Egg Harbor campus in the heart of Door County to collaborate in a life-changing teaching-learning environment. Birch Creek offers 30 concerts in eight weeks, plus numerous free outreach performances off-campus throughout Door County. In all, Birch Creek reached over 17,000 people between paid and free concerts last year. The impact of a Birch Creek summer academy cancellation in the Door County community is profound. “We are heartbroken,” said Executive Director Mona Christensen.
In 2019, Birch Creek enrolled 173 students from eight states and six countries; employed 87 summer faculty from 15 states; and hired 20 interns and counselors from around the Midwest. Students and faculty travel to Birch Creek from across the US and abroad. The massive speed and spread of COVID-19 has caused the music academy to rethink the efficacy of long-distance travel, residential living accommodations, and bringing large audiences together. Even with the most stringent health and safety protocols in place, the organization cannot fully mitigate risk. These safety issues, together with widespread concern facing Birch Creek’s constituencies of older populations and the families of students, point to significant challenges in maintaining the high-quality programming for which Birch Creek is known.
Students are the heart of Birch Creek’s mission and safety at the core of its operations. The overarching guidance from the Board of Trustees is to follow a response to the coronavirus pandemic that plans wisely for both the immediate season and the economic health of the coming years. For 44 years, Birch Creek has given young artists a most powerful environment to connect with one another, study with world-class faculty and build life-long friendships. “We are devastated that we will not have the opportunity to share that Birch Creek legacy this summer,” began Christensen, “but we are prepared to meet this challenge with creativity, with families, students, patrons, donors, faculty, sponsors and volunteers in mind.”
Please visit the Birch Creek website at birchcreek.org for announcements about upcoming concerts and events later this year.
Birch Creek Music Performance Center is Door County’s Residential Summer Music Academy in Egg Harbor, WI, for advanced young musicians pursing a career path in music. For 44 years, students in Percussion & Steel Band, Symphony, and Big Band Jazz have been taught by nationally known performers and educators during the day and performed alongside them in concerts at night. Birch Creek will return to its Academy programming in 2021.
2020 Fall Concert Series begins on September 5 through December 5.