Founded in 1976, Birch Creek's mission is to provide intensive, performance-based instruction to promising young musicians by immersing them in a professional, mentoring environment. Divided into 2-week sessions devoted to one genre, Birch Creek offers sessions in symphony, percussion & steel band, and jazz. Birch Creek's small student enrollment (approximately 55 students per session) and 2 to-1 student-teacher ratio bring together the most talented professional faculty members and students to work and perform together in nightly concerts within two days of their arrival on campus. By the end of their two-week session, students have performed in six to eight concerts on campus and in additional concerts in the community. The Birch Creek "difference" is that students are not only taught by, but they also perform alongside, professionals in the music industry.
Birch Creek's programs include four two-week summer residency programs (Symphony, Percussion & Steel Band, and 2 Big Band Jazz sessions), during which students perform nightly before paying audiences of up to 500. A student jazz outreach combo, The Ambassadors, performs throughout the county, 29 free public outreach concerts are held both on and off campus, and 29 on-campus concerts or ticketholders reach audiences of approximately 10,000 each year. Students participate in Master Classes during their sessions, and Birch Creek faculty members visit local schools in the off-season for "Artists in the Schools," an outreach program of half-day clinics and workshops. Birch Creek maintains national professional memberships and is a member of state and local arts and civic organizations.