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Local musician attends prestigious summer percussion program


Fri, Aug 27th, 2010
Posted in Arts & Culture

Jamie Mathison, a talented young musician from Preston, Minn., spent two weeks this summer studying percussion and steelpan at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Door County, Wis. Jamie is the daughter of Linda and Al and studies percussion privately with Tami Christianson. Jamie is a student at Fillmore Central. She was among only 38 young musicians selected from throughout the country to attend the Percussion & Steel Band session at the prestigious school, whose unique mission is to provide intensive, performance-based instruction to promising young musicians age 13-18 by immersing them in a professional, mentoring environment.

Founded in 1976, Birch Creek features a student-faculty ratio of approximately two-to-one. This provides students with an abundance of personal attention from their faculty mentors, who represent top music educators and performers from around the country. Students are given the opportunity to hone their technical skills and learn firsthand about all aspects of the life of a professional musician. During their two-week residency this summer, students attending the Birch Creek Percussion session performed seven joint concerts with their teachers before paying concertgoers.

The director of the Birch Creek Percussion and Steel Band program is Robert Chappell, head of percussion studies at Northern Illinois University. Mr. Chappell is also a composer of works for contemporary percussion, jazz groups, and cross-cultural styles, and an accomplished multi-percussionist. The Steel Band director is Al O'Connor. Mr. O'Connor is the founder of Birch Creek's Steel Band program and a retired professor of music from NIU, where he also founded the Percussion & Steel Band program. Birch Creek's steelpan artist-in-residence is Liam Teague. Mr. Teague, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, has performed as a steelpan soloist throughout the world, and is on the faculty at NIU. He is an active composer of works for steelpan, and has seven CDs to his credit.

Birch Creek also offers two-week resident summer sessions in Symphony and Big Band Jazz. For more information about Birch Creek and its programs, call (920) 868-3763 or e-mail mainoffice@birchcreek.org. Details are also available on the Birch Creek web site, www.birchcreek.org

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