Arts & Entertainment

Arts flourishing in Rockford area

August 29, 2013 // 0 Comments

The arts are enjoying a resurgence in the Rockford area. In addition to the upcoming Art in the Park event on September 7, art-lovers have much more to enjoy coming up in the next couple of weeks. First Friday Art Walk-Rockford will have new exhibits from Michigan artists in place for the First Friday of September 6. Downtown venues have grown to 15, all fourteen original locations plus Maghliese & Company at 117 Courtland St NE. Visitors can pick up a map / brochure listing venues to walk downtown Rockford and see the new September exhibits at the Welcome Center, City Hall or any venue. A new exhibit has also been installed at Diana’s Café, 9 N. Main Street. Ruth Koster is a local artist specializing in acrylic and watercolor paintings in a wide range of styles from abstracts to floral works and landscapes. Koster has participated in many shows around the nation and this exhibit presents the best of her recent work. The Fiber Art exhibit of Lois Carpenter’s work at the Krause Library will run through the end of August, if you have not yet seen this exhibit, time is running out so stop by soon. A weekly “Paint Out” event hosted by The Rogue River Artists Association started August 21st with artists from all over west Michigan painting and drawing in Garden Club Park along the Rogue River. Everyone is invited to join the group and enjoy the experience of creating outdoors working amidst the beautiful local scenery. This group was formed to provide an opportunity for artists to gather and work with others of similar interests. It’s not a workshop and there is no teaching involved, it’s a social gathering of artists. Interest in the arts has been skyrocketing lately. Membership in the Rogue River Artists Association has more than doubled in the last three months with more joining every week. President Mary Myszka said, “It’s gratifying to see so many new artists interested in our group. We strive to provide support and opportunities to our members and I think the recent growth reflects how much artists appreciate that.” More information on the organization can be found at More information on these upcoming events can be found on the Rockford […]

Local writer a finalist for new ArtPrize publication

August 22, 2013 // 0 Comments

This year, art enthusiasts will find an exciting addition to ArtPrize: the literary publication Imagine This! An ArtPrize Anthology. It will add the written word as a new art form to the acclaimed festival. ArtPrize is one of the world’s largest art competitions (by cash awards) and is held each year in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Over 1,000,000 visitors come to view artwork displayed throughout the city. Cascade Writers’ Group sponsored a national writing competition and selected winners for its first annual publication. Local writer, Tahlia Hoogerland, from Rockford, was a finalist for her poem “Meditation on Water.” Along with winning short stories, essays and poems by writers from around the U.S., the anthology includes featured writers from the Cascade Writers’ Group and color reproductions of prize-winning works from the four past years of ArtPrize, including first place winner Chris LaPorte’s “Cavalry” and cover art, Mia Tavonatti’s “Svelata.” Lisa McNeilley, Ph.D., Editor of the anthology says, “The Cascade Writers’ Group received hundreds of excellent entries. The final publication reflects a range of styles and topics and will have wide appeal to ArtPrize visitors. It has been an exciting project for our group. We have been able to give writers a way to express themselves, and have also been able to give financial support to ArtPrize, which is so important to our community.” According to ArtPrize Marketing Director Todd Herring, “What the Cascade Writers’ Group has accomplished with the anthology is truly innovative.  Their passion for providing writers with new opportunities mirrors the same passion ArtPrize has for visual and performing artists.  ArtPrize applauds this grand effort and congratulates all the winners, participants and organizers of the ArtPrize anthology.” Local Graphic Artist Ron Kauffman handled the layout and design.” Imagine This! An ArtPrize Anthology will be published by Schuler Books’ Chapbook Press.    

WMBMA celebrates 18th Annual Fallfest & Bluegrass Jam

August 22, 2013 // 0 Comments

Bluegrass music is American music, pure, honest and beautiful in its simplicity. It came out of the mountains of Appalachia from a rich musical heritage of Scotch/Irish immigrants and was passed down from generation to generation. The West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association has set its own tradition with the annual Fallfest and Bluegrass Jam. You can celebrate and enjoy this tradition in American music at Fallfest 2013, September 20-21 at the Kent County Youth Fairgrounds in Lowell, MI. This is a music festival the whole family can enjoy. There will be instrument workshops, a huge bake sale, craft and food vendors, kids’ activities and lots of campsite jammin’. Then, of course there are the Bluegrass music stage acts all weekend long. This year’s line-up includes many regional and local favorites. Friday night from 6:00 to 10:00 pm brings Deadwood, Nobody’s Darlin’, Bluegrass Echoes and The Steam Powered Bluegrass Band. Be sure to bring lawnchairs for the great show in the concert building, come rain or shine. Saturday’s music runs from noon until 10:00 pm with Family Tradition, The Patchwork Band, Lonesome Meadow, Kati Perry & New Town and Billy Strings & Don Julin. Advance tickets for the weekend are $20, or you can buy at the gate for $25. For advance tickets, send your check payable to WMBMA and a SASE to Ruth Lakatos, 11926 Reed St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. Children 15 and under are admitted free with parent’s admission. Weekend camping is available at $12 per night with electricity, $7 without. There are complete bathroom and shower facilities on-site. Early campers are welcome. For more information, visit

From The Voice to open mic night in Rockford

August 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

A couple weeks ago, Rockford natives Matt Vermeer and Michael Sunday had an opportunity afforded to few people; they were invited to a callback for a national television show. They went to New York to audition for The Voice with high hopes and low expectations, and were passed through the first round of auditions. At the first audition they were required to sing completely acapella (no instruments) but at the callbacks instruments were a strict requirement, adding a new dynamic to the pressure of auditioning. Even though they had not expected to be called back they had done some preparation for the possibility and had two of the three songs for their callback picked out a few weeks in advance. They were told at the initial audition to “pick a cool song”, so they decided to consult their friends on Facebook for advice on what current, popular song would be considered “cool”. After receiving multiple recommendations for Gone, Gone, Gone, by Phillip Phillips (last season’s American Idol winner), they listened to the song a few times and agreed to use it as their third song. They also had prepared The Prayer as performed by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church, and Why Don’t We Just Dance by Josh Turner. One of the largest criteria in their song selection was their desire to display their multi-genre capabilities, and in accordance with that purpose they decided to do each song with a different kind of accompaniment; one with guitar, one with piano, and one with a kareoke track. They had plenty of time to practice in their hotel room as they waited three days for the callback, but they did have some difficulties; Mike had a wisdom tooth come in on Monday that was diagnosed as impacted, which effected his throat, ear, jaw, and gave him headaches. They also had no place to practice The Prayer, since they were using a piano for that song. Tom at World Wide Piano ended up saving the day by letting them use a practice room in the showroom’s building in Edison, New Jersey. When the day of the audition arrived, Matt and Mike had to be out of their hotel room by 11am, and their callback was scheduled for 4pm. They […]

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