MacPhail on Madeline Island
Where it begins: Madeline Island Chamber Music Program
The facilities on Madeline Island were established in 1985 by Thomas M. George with substantial financial support from Mary Hulings Rice to create a one-week camp for 20 high school musicians. Since its founding, the Madeline Island Chamber Music program has evolved to its current six-week structure serving over 70 extraordinarily talented high school, college, and graduate school string and woodwind musicians. The program educates and nurtures the next generation of chamber musicians through concentrated student and performance. It is a nationally recognized model for education in chamber music. Madeline Island Chamber Music also provides a residency program in the Twin Cities that includes public performances and community education at MacPhail school partnerships.
MacPhail Center for Music and Madeline Island Chamber Music Combine
MacPhail Center for Music and Madeline Island Chamber Music joined in September of 2020 with a shared vision of transforming lives through inspiring music education and performance. This union has created new opportunities for ensemble learning and music-making in a breathtaking island setting. The legacy Madeline Island Chamber Music programs continue to run for the first six weeks of the summer (June-July). MacPhail is expanding and broadening programming, establishing new group music-making opportunities for students of all backgrounds and abilities in many genres over time. Audiences on the island and in the Twin Cities will enjoy more performances as part of this program expansion.
About Madeline Island and our facilities
Madeline Island is one of 22 islands in Lake Superior off the northwest tip of Wisconsin. Madeline and the other 21 uninhabited islands compose the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Fourteen miles long and three miles wide, Madeline is reached by car ferry from the mainland town of Bayfield, Wisconsin.
Madeline Island is a vacation destination with a year-round population of about 300 people that swells to several thousand in the summer. Many summer residents come from Minneapolis-St. Paul, which is about a 4-1/2 hour drive. For more information, visit the Madeline Island Chamber of Commerce website.
Our facilities are spread over 12 acres, including residential facilities for students and retreat participants, a dining hall, practice rooms, performance space, and plenty of room for recreation.
Located four hours northeast of the Twin Cities, your visit will start in the charming harbor town of Bayfield where you will catch the ferry to Madeline Island. There is ample free parking available at all MacPhail facilities.
Madeline Island Ferry Line provides transportation between the picturesque towns of La Pointe and Bayfield. The 25-minute voyage provides spectacular views of the Lake itself and several of the 22 Apostle Islands. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Schedule subject to change due to weather conditions. For ferry information and rates, visit MadFerry.com.
Some of MacPhail’s retreats offer bus service. Check your program for details.
MacPhail Facilities on Madeline Island
Mary Lange Campus Center
The Mary Lange Campus Center houses the organization’s dining room, administrative offices, box office, residence lounge, and music library.
Retreat students and faculty are housed in three lodges. The lodges have screened porches, lounges, and kitchenettes. If you prefer to arrange for your own accommodations, our retreats have commuter pricing available.
Dorm Common Areas
The practice facilities are adjacent to the three student lodges. The quadrangle of four buildings contains 21 rooms, 9 ensemble rehearsal rooms and 12 solo practice rooms. Performances may be informal on campus or at the Clubhouse.
Big Bay State Park
On the eastern side of Madeline Island, Big Bay State Park features picturesque sandstone bluffs along 4 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. The park also has a 1-mile boardwalk, sandy swimming beach, hiking trails, and a large family campground.
Community events funded in part by the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.