Arts & Entertainment

RHS marching band showcases 2012 program

October 25, 2012 // 0 Comments

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Rockford High School (RHS) marching band. On Saturday, Oct. 13, the band showcased their 2012 program in Pontiac at the Bands of America Regional competition. They placed fifth, which elevated their standings from last year by four placements. Even in the face of illness, misjudged scheduling and other typical mishaps, the band put on a performance they could be extraordinarily proud of. The night prior to the Pontiac performance, Oct. 12, the band brought the crowd to its feet at halftime during the winning Homecoming game between Rockford and Grandville. This past Saturday, Oct. 20, the RHS marching band competed in the Jenison Marching Band Invitational. Rockford took first place in Flight I with a final score of 81.0 and received all three caption awards in Flight I, including Best Music, Best Marching and Best Visual Effect. The band showcased their 2012 program for the eighth-grade band students and their parents on Monday night, October 22, filling the auditorium at RHS with awesome sound and music. This is an annual event to promote participation in the marching band to upcoming freshmen. The band will perform this coming Friday night, October 26, during halftime at Rockford’s first playoff football game and will compete the next night in the Lakeshore Invitational, hosted by Reeth’s Puffer in the Rockford stadium. These will be great chances to see the band perform their 2012 show, Calls from the Masai Mara, before they head off to Detroit for State finals. The band will travel to Ford Field to compete in the Michigan Competing Bands Association (MCBA) state finals on Saturday, November 3. The following week, the band will travel to Indianapolis to compete in the Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Championships. Director of Bands, Brian Phillips, says, “The band has had solid performances and we are very excited to have made the Bands of America finals for the second year in a row.” Congratulations Rockford High School Marching Band! .

RHS Scholarship Award Recipients

October 18, 2012 // 0 Comments

Congratulations to the following Rockford High School art students for earning top ten honors in the “ART IT UP” contest: Lauren Gantz, Sarah Puett, and Emily Welsh. This contest was created by Mr. Jerry Berta as a 2012 Art Prize Entry. For the “ART IT UP” contest, students were asked to create artwork that could be used as a surface treatment for a Fiat 500. Emily came in 2nd place and will receive a $600 scholarship for her prize. Lauren and Sarah will each be awarded $150 scholarships for making it into the top ten. To see more details about the contest please go to or contact RHS Art Instructor Barb Kent at for information or questions.  

Rockford man sells ArtPrize piece to Ripley’s Believe It or Not

October 11, 2012 // 0 Comments

By Cindy M. Cranmer   A Rockford man, who has been making balloon animals for children for more than 20 years, has sold the first art piece sculpture he has made of balloons to Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums after it was noticed at ArtPrize 2012. James Perry’s ArtPrize piece, titled Clown Fish, consists of 3,131 balloons and more than 2,500 feet of wire. The entry was six and a half feet long and about seven feet tall with an additional 300 to 400 balloons in the base. Perry said Ripley’s art buyer Edward Meyer, Vice President of Exhibits for Ripley Entertainment, was in Grand Rapids looking at more than 75 pieces of art. Ripley’s looks for strange, amazing and unusual art pieces for their 32 museums in 10 countries and on four continents around the world. The bright colors and kid-friendly nature along with the unusual makeup of the sculpture – balloons – attracted Ripley’s. Perry said he believes his piece is heading to the museum in Panama City, Fla. “I did this ArtPrize entry for my own amusement,” Perry said. “I was happy with it. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it after ArtPrize though, so I’m thrilled Ripley’s wanted it. I didn’t really keep track of my cost too much. I was happy with their offer. I didn’t really want to bring it home. I wanted it to go somewhere people could enjoy it.” Perry said the piece should last for a few years before the balloons start deteriorating if it is well cared for. Besides his Clown Fish entry at Courtyard by Marriott, Perry made more than 1,000 balloon animals at ArtPrize. He said he just enjoyed being a part of the whole experience. “I had a lot of fun down there,” Perry said. “It was a blast. I wanted to do something bright and colorful for ArtPrize. I wanted it to reflect what I do.” Perry makes more than 30,000 balloon animals a year. Originally, he planned it to be a one time thing but now is considering other possibilities for future years. Perry, a graduate of Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Clown College, is a full-time performer. His shows, through his company Fun […]

Rockford man is co-creator of top 10 ArtPrize entry receiving national media attention

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by Cindy M. Cranmer A Rockford man is one of the co-creators of an ArtPrize entry being discussed locally and internationally after thousands and thousands of participants and spectators gathered Friday night to help Mark Carpenter and Dan Johnson realize their vision for ArtPrize and landing their entry in the top 10. Dan Johnson, of Rockford, and Mark Carpenter, of Grand Rapids, both felt the event was an extreme success with more than 50,000 people in attendance. Round two of ArtPrize voting opened on Sunday, Sept. 30 and runs through Thursday, Oct. 4. ArtPrize attendees can vote for one of the top 10 entries with the code to vote for Lights in the Night being 52910. See related story on the top 10 ArtPrize entries. The theme of Lights in the Night is to symbolize where hope takes flight in the form of sky lanterns representing individual hopes, dreams and wishes. More than 15,000 Chinese sky lanterns were launched from coordinated key points in the downtown Grand Rapids area on Friday, Sept. 28. “You offer up your dreams and hopes for the future or even reconcile events of your past in a symbolic lantern launch,” the entry described. Being at this event Friday night, this reporter was able to experience Lights in the Night firsthand. The sense of community, the emotional outpouring of feelings and the awe of seeing the lanterns in the sky was amazing. While words such as “magical,” “beautiful,” “wonderful,” “amazing,” “enchanting” and “inspiring” were used to describe the launch, it is much harder to put in words the sense of community and the overflowing of emotions at the event. The event made a last impression, which was the goal, Johnson said. Some have criticized Lights in the Night as the event skyrocketed in a 24-hour period through the ratings bypassing the top 100 and the top 50 on its climb to the top 25 and then to the top 10. Johnson told The Rockford Squire the key components of ArtPrize are to “get out of the box” and find something that is art but is not as traditional, to involve the community and to leave a lasting impression. “It was super successful on all three of those accounts,” Johnson said. “Our […]

Wild west captured in deer farm turned agri-tourism resort

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA When you have over 200 beautiful white tailed deer fenced adjacent to a major road, people will stop and want to see them. That’s the experience of the Powell family, who opened their working deer farm in 2003. Located at 7850 14 Mile Road (M-57), their 80-acre business has received a lot of attention from passersby. They tried to accommodate curious visitors to the best of their ability, but the farm wasn’t really set up for tours. Now it is. Deer Tracks Junction is now open for business as a family destination with hands-on live animal interaction, a stage coach ride through the pens of hundreds of live and spectacular deer, a chance for kids to touch a real reindeer or baby yak, a play train with cars for climbing, crawling and exploring a three-level maze car, plus an indoor facility featuring spectacular mounts of caribou, Musk ox, wolves and an auditorium for live education shows featuring actors in costume. “Once you buy your ticket, you can just enjoy the day here,” said owner Kelly Powell, who operates Deer Tracks Junction with his wife Hilary and 16-year-old son Tyler. At just $10 a ticket, from the play train, the Stage Coach Ride, live shows, and life sized animal mounts to the different old-fashioned, Wild West stations within the Deer Tracks Junction building, the price is a great buy. He said he wants his working deer farm shows and tours to be affordable for families and believes visitors will support his vision. Other business people in the area believe the farm will add to the reasons people come to the area. The family made the decision to expand into what is called Agricultural tourism because it made sense to them on many levels. They hope to bring something unique, exciting and valuable to the area as a legacy and as a living. “It’s hard in Michigan right now,” said Powell. “I don’t want my son to have to leave the state to find a job.” Deer Tracks not only will be the future livelihood for Tyler, but offered the family the chance to hire others who help in the business. The work is seasonal, but at a recent job fair at the ranch […]

1 15 16 17 18 19 30