Arts & Entertainment

Ulanski named Arts Commission administrator

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

Nancy Ulanski has joined the Rockford Area Arts Commission as its administrator, effective July 23, 2012. Ulanski will serve as a liaison between the Arts Commission and government, arts, business and community leaders. She will work to keep website and events calendars current and handle social media and publicity efforts. She will also manage grant and other funding opportunities as well as serve as the recording secretary for Arts Commission meetings. Ulanski has a great resume of experience that well suits her for this position. Most recently, she worked as a marketing media consultant for Stafford Media Solutions and the Rockford Independent newspaper. She and her family are Rockford-area residents.

MacGregor honors Rockford men’s a cappella group

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

State Rep. Peter MacGregor was joined in Lansing on Wednesday, July 18, by the Rockford High School men’s a cappella group, the Rockford Aces. The Rockford Aces are a 12-voice extracurricular men’s a cappella group that perform a wide repertoire, including traditional and contemporary choral, vocal jazz, barbershop, doo-wop, and contemporary a cappella. The group competed in the World Choir Games against more than 350 choirs from 64 countries this month in Cincinnati, where they earned two silver medals. MacGregor recognized them on the House floor and congratulated them on their achievement at the World Choir Games. The group also performed in the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday morning. “The Rockford Aces are incredibly talented and I’m extremely proud of their achievements locally and at the World Choir Games,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “These boys have represented our community well and I’m excited to see them go far with their academic and musical futures.” The group was founded in 2008, and was named as one of the finest high school choral ensembles in Michigan in 2010. The Aces actively performs at school, community and professional sporting events in West Michigan. The Rockford Aces made the trip to Lansing with choir director Jed Scott.

Local dancers perform well in Orlando

August 8, 2012 // 0 Comments

It is with great pride that the Rockford School of Dance (RSOD) competitive dance teams report an excellent showing at the Danceamerica National Competition in Orlando, Fla. in July. A total of 613 different dance routines were selected and performed throughout the four days of competitions. These performances were selected from the fall/winter regional competitions from across the country. Each of these 613 dance routines were performed before a panel of judges, in direct competition with each other, vying for first-, second- and third-place awards, along with other “special” awards. The prestigious Richard Disarno Director’s Award was presented to Laurie Host, owner of RSOD, for the outstanding performance of the Mega Production number, “The Jet Set.” Best Precision was awarded to the Primary Team for their tap number entitled “Family Tree.” In addition to these awards, a highly celebrated and special honor was the ability for dancers to be selected to perform on the Beauty and the Beast stage at Hollywood Studios. Including both group and solo performances, this honor was given to only 32 different dances throughout the four nights, roughly eight to nine dances per night from the 613 performances. “What a huge honor to know that every single member of the RSOD competitive team was selected to perform—all 60 performers!” commented Host. The Primary team performed their specially awarded Best Precision tap dance, “Family Tree,” while the rest of the competition teams (a combination of the junior, intermediate and seniors groups) performed their awe-inspiring Opening Number for Recital entitled “The Jet Set.” “Just wondering: do you think someday we’ll see some of our RSOD performers on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’?” asked Host. “With these odds at nationals, we just may!”

God rocks at Praise in the Park

August 2, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  Sunday afternoons and evenings used to be pretty quiet in downtown Rockford. Other than White Pine Trail users and those canoeing or kayaking on the Rogue River along with the faithful addicted to Sunday evening Custard by the Dam or Rocky’s desserts, not much goes on. All that changed this summer with a series of Sunday evening concerts in Garden Club Park with a different genre of music, that being Christian themed contemporary praise music. This summer, the talented musicians and vocalists of the Praise Teams of nine Rockford community churches volunteered to showcase their God-given talents during twelve scheduled Sunday evening performances of the first “Praise in the Park” concert series. City Council member and event organizer, Rich Moll, has been more than gratified to see attendance increase during each of the seven concerts held thus far. “Rockford is a faith-based community of many church denominations that are interwoven in the eclectic mix of a community we are proud to call home,” said Moll. City Hall has received numerous calls and emails of thanks and appreciation for granting approval for an event that further adds to the quality of life we all enjoy here in Rockford. Moll is hopeful that the weekly series of “Praise in the Park” concerts will become an ongoing annual event in ensuing years. Judging from the enthusiastic response of those in attendance thus far, that shouldn’t be a problem. Your reporters were in attendance at the beautiful riverside Garden Club Park venue, a few Sundays ago, to take in the concert presented by the multi-talented Praise Team of Rockford United Methodist Church. Wow, they were as hot as the 90-degree temperature! For one hour and thirty minutes, without a break, they sang their souls out in praise of the Lord. Approximately 250 people were in attendance that evening. When you add to that the unknown numbers of trail users who stopped and were caught up by what they were witnessing and hearing, it was an inspiring summer evening indeed. Four scheduled Sunday evening concerts, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., remain. Next up on Sunday, August 5, is the team from Rockford Reformed Church. Following in ensuing weeks, will be the team from Dick Rounds, […]

John Denver tribute concert features former band member, Denver’s final, never recorded song

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

The music of John Denver is like an old friend, outlasting trends and standing the test of time. The greatest hits of this beloved American troubadour will be presented as singer/guitarist Jim Curry joins the Grand Rapids Symphony for its third D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops concert this summer. Two performances of “A Tribute to John Denver” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 26-27 at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Associate Conductor John Varineau will lead the concert. Fifteen years after John Denver’s passing, Curry carries on his legacy with this symphonic tribute show taking audiences back to a time when “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine,” and “Country Roads” topped the charts. Curry was chosen as the singing voice of the CBS-TV movie “Take Me Home: The John Denver Story” and has since emerged as the top performer of Denver’s music, presenting some 150 concerts each year. He is not an impersonator, rather he sings in his natural voice. He pays tribute to Denver through the pure honesty of his performance, and his commitment to perpetuate Denver’s positive messages of love, humanity and environmental awareness. The concert features original orchestrations written for John Denver by Grammy-winning composer Lee Holdridge. Curry’s six-member band includes Denver’s lead guitarist, Steve Weisberg, who recorded on seven of Denver’s nine platinum albums. Audiences will also have the unique opportunity to hear the last known song written by Denver, “Yellowstone: Coming Home.” The song tells about the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park. Denver sang this song in a live performance with the Houston Symphony on September 26-28, 1997 and he never had the opportunity to record it. To this day, no professional recording of this song has been released. “Being a ‘Rocky Mountain boy’ myself, I’m really looking forward to conducting this concert,” said Varineau. “Denver’s songs have entered the great American songbook and linger in the hearts and minds of music lovers everywhere.” The 18th annual D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops promises to provide some of the best summer entertainment in West Michigan, served family style in a relaxed, natural setting. The grounds open each night at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking, pre-concert entertainment and free children’s activities. Tickets are available at the Cannonsburg box office beginning at […]

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