Jazz I Academy Session: July 15 - 28, 2018


About the Birch Creek Jazz I Program

Birch Creek's Jazz program offers students a unique learning experience at levels of jazz performance not found in most other jazz programs in America. Our program gives students an effective combination of experiences to help them master the fundamentals of jazz while establishing professional attitudes by playing side-by-side with some of today's top performers and educators. The only differences between the Jazz I and Jazz II sessions are the dates and the faculty. The curriculum and performance opportunities are the same, and both sessions are under the guidance of Program Director Jeff Campbell.

Areas of Study

Jazz ComboInstrumental Technique

Classes are given by master teachers three times per week and cover the fundamentals of effective playing skills and efficient practice.

Jazz Combo

Classes cover improvisation skills from basic to advanced. Performance opportunities are provided.

Jazz Performance


Workshops incorporate music theory and improvisation into the Combo rehearsals and use repertoire from the Combo as curricular material for study.

Large Ensembles

Directed by outstanding professional educators. Ensembles rehearse daily and perform regularly during the evening concerts. Audition required.

Advanced Student Combo

Made up of advanced students and serves as Birch Creek's ambassador to the community. This combo performs widely throughout Door County and is featured at numerous Birch Creek concerts. Audition required.

Seminars & Business Workshops

Provide role-playing experiences in different aspects of the music business.


For detailed admissions information, including AUDITION RECORDING REQUIREMENTS, go to the Apply Now page.



Program Director and Academy Band Director: Jeffrey Campbell

Associate Professor of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media, Collegiate Instructor in Jazz Double Bass and Jazz Combo & Improvisation, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y.


Lab Band Director: Gil Wukitsch

Mr. Wukitsch currently teaches symphonic band, jazz band and advanced placement music theory at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles, Ill. Mr. Wukitsch holds a Bachelor of Music Education from De Paul University, Chicago, Ill., and a Masters of Educational Leadership Degree from Aurora University, Aurora, Ill. He has been involved with Birch Creek for more than 20 years, attending as a student, a Teaching Assistant and faculty member. Along with his busy teaching schedule, Mr. Wukitsch is active around the Chicago area as a clinician and trumpet player and has performed with artists such as Clark Terry, Harold Jones and The Manhattan Transfer.


Studio Band Director: Jim Stombres

Mr. Stombres is retired after more than 30 years as director of bands in three suburban Chicago high schools, finishing his career at St. Charles North High School, St. Charles, IL. He holds a diploma in sacred music from the Moody Bible Institute, a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois State University, and Master of Music Education degree from Northwestern University. He is active in the Illinois Music Educators Association and the Illinois Chapter of International Association of Jazz Educators. Under Mr. Stombres’ direction, the Naperville North Wind Ensemble performed at the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival and received the DownBeat Award for Outstanding Wind Ensemble. This is Mr. Strombres’ 28th season with Birch Creek.


Advanced Combo (Ambassadors) Director: José Encarnacion

Advanced Combo Director (Ambassadors), Appleton, Wis.
A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, José currently is a faculty member at the Lawrence Conservatory of music where he coordinates the jazz performance program, leads jazz improvisation classes, jazz combos and teaches jazz saxophone. He holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and Eastman School of Music where he served as Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone. Among many others, José has performed with Tito Puente, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Danilo Perez.

View the full 2017 Jazz I faculty - 2018 Jazz I Faculty to be posted soon!