Arts & Entertainment

Museum fundraiser just keeps getting better

January 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Featuring Mark Randisi and the famous Johnny Trudell Big Band being joined on stage by a local group to recreate a famous Frank Sinatra scene, “Sound of Sinatra” will be presented by the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium. The scene features Sinatra singing the song “High Hopes” with a group of youngsters. In the February 18 show, that song will be sung by Randisi and the Rockford Community Children’s Choir. Many area residents are familiar with the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) that supports a variety of area events such as the annual Ice Festival and Art in the Park, as well as performance groups including the Rockford Community Band, Rockford Community Orchestra, and Rockford Community Choir. The Rockford Community Children’s Choir (RC3) is the latest ensemble to collaborate with the RAAC. RC3 was formed in September 2011, by Renee Vande Wege, a local resident with strong credentials as both a vocalist and music teacher. Vande Wege has earned a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Hope College and a master’s degree in music education from Michigan State University. She is also certified in music learning theory. She has worked with elementary musicians and private voice students in Rockford, Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids. Vande Wege has also been a member of the Opera Grand Rapids chorus since 2001. Having been a member of the Rockford Community Choir for six years, Vande Wege now serves as that group’s director. She was motivated to form RC3 by her strong desire to provide area youngsters with the opportunity to develop their musicianship and sing with other children. She believes that, except through the efforts of a handful of dedicated churches in the area, those opportunities are too limited, especially with the current school music program reductions due to budget constraints. In 2012, RC3 will become more visible in the area as they perform in a variety of events including the “Sound of Sinatra” show for the Rockford Area Museum, the RAAC Spring Concert on April 15, and likely Rockford’s Community EXPO on March 17. The second session for RC3 begins on January 10, 2012. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 […]

Nationally recognized band coming to Rockford

December 22, 2011 // 0 Comments

Band to accompany Mark Randisi, the ‘Sound of Sinatra’ Johnny Trudell is regarded as one of today’s finest trumpet players and is the respected director of the Johnny Trudell Orchestra/Big Band. He has performed with the big bands of Tommy Dorsey, Bob Crosby, Tex Beneke, and Quincy Jones. He has also served as lead trumpet player for Motown Records, recording with such greats as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, The Temptations, and The Four Tops. Trudell is the music director for Detroit’s Fox Theater and his famed orchestra has backed the legendary Bob Hope, Wayne Newton, Tony Bennett, Johnny Carson, Red Skelton, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bill Cosby. They have also played for various Broadway shows including Evita, Gypsy, The King and I, Fiddler On The Roof, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, and many others. Trudell also serves as music director of The Gem Theatre and the Meadow Brook Music Festival, and now… he is bringing his band to Rockford! This event is a rare Rockford opportunity for an evening of vocal and instrumental music that you won’t want to miss. Close your eyes or turn your head. You’ll hear a great band and a familiar voice, but it won’t be “Old Blue Eyes.” It will be Mark Randisi, presenting Sinatra classics naturally, authentically, respectfully and reminiscent of the originals, just the way you want to hear them. Author, radio and television host Mitch Album has been to Randisi’s shows, and proclaimed, “Mark’s show is a must-attend!” Lee Thomas of Detroit’s Fox 2 Entertainment stated, “Mark Randisi is a first rate act all the way.” The Saturday, Feb. 18 performance is a fundraising event for the Rockford Area Historical Society. Tickets, starting at just $35, make a great gift and are available in time for Christmas. For more information, visit the show’s website at Tickets can be bought there with a debit or credit card. Tickets are also available by cash or check at these area locations: The Rockford Squire, Antor Travel, Double Take, Creative Concepts, Rockford Ambulance, Courtland Township Offices, Algoma Township Offices, and Dish Network (Plainfield, south of 5 Mile). Limited handicapped and limited-mobility seats are available by calling (616) 350-3959.

3rd Annual Rockford Ice Festival set for January 13-15

December 22, 2011 // 0 Comments

Event organizers plan full weekend of family fun What does a mini Mackinaw Bridge that lights up, an old-fashioned water wheel, a giant ice beaver, a momma polar bear and her cubs, ice cream sundaes, dancing and entertainment, chainsaws, nail polish, animated movie characters, and World Records have in common? ICE—as in the 3rd Annual Rockford Ice Festival, to be held January 13-15, 2012. As the New Year unfolds, picturesque downtown Rockford will be transformed into a vision of ice, offering winter wonderland fun for folks of all ages and stages. Just imagine, a gigantic ice cream sundae ice bar serving up tasty treats while competing for a world record… chainsaw-wielding ice carvers transforming huge blocks of ice into amazing sculptures… miniature ice golf… interactive ice games… a scavenger hunt throughout the town to locate dozens of sculptures… snow wall art… ice skating… a food drive… music and entertainment… hot cocoa and contests… voting for best of show… a throwback Ice Festival Ball… bustling shops offering festival fare and fun… and thousands of guests discovering downtown Rockford’s Norman Rockwell-like charm and enchantment. The 3rd Annual Rockford Ice Festival promises to be bigger and better than last year, which is not an easy act to follow. Randy Finch and his team from (stars of the Food Network’s “Ice Brigade” series) are on board for carving demonstrations, as well as pre-carving the scavenger hunt and showstopper ice sculptures. Area culinary students also will showcase their ice-carving talents. Meredith Gremel, event manager, noted, “We are thrilled to have the support of the Rockford businesses to make this free, family fun event possible. So often we find ourselves telling family and friends, ‘Let’s get together after the holidays.’ Well, here’s the perfect opportunity to do so, whether friends live across town or across state. We love showcasing Rockford—its wonderful shopping and dining district, school system, City and Chamber services, natural beauty and outdoor activities along the Rogue River, and most of all, the great people who live here and volunteer throughout the year to make our community extra special.” Festive features include: • Friday, Jan. 13—Inaugural Ice Festival Ball—a ticketed event to benefit the Rockford Area Arts Commission, to be held at Blythefield Country Club. The event includes […]

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