Arts & Entertainment

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 […]

Local artist published in national magazine

July 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

Local artist Judith Diephouse of Rockford was recently published in the summer issue of The Decorative Painter, an international quarterly publication and the oldest decorative painting magazine currently published. With 40 years of history, the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) is home to the world’s most experienced decorative painters, teachers and designers. Diephouse started decorative painting in 1974. After many years of teaching in her home studio and selling at regional art shows, she joined with Lynne Deptula to form Distinctive Brushstrokes. They design a full line of pattern packets and books that are available on their website. Diephouse has been a member of SDP since 1977 and she, along with Deptula, has contributed many articles to The Decorative Painter. Check out Diephouse’s seminar schedule at She may be reached at,, or by writing to her at: Distinctive Brushstrokes, 9796 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford, MI 49341. SDP’s mission is to stimulate worldwide interest in and appreciation for painting. The decorative painting style employed by SDP allows anyone, regardless of prior training or inherent skill, to pick up a brush and create a masterpiece. It is SDP’s goal to teach the world to create, and the work of teachers and designers like Diephouse are their primary helpers in achieving these goals. To learn more, visit

Elementary students have opportunity to create works for Art Attack

July 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER More than one-third of the students at Lakes Elementary School participated in the first-ever art competition and creativity display at the Rockford school. Art Attack, which the students considered as their version of ArtPrize, included entries from kindergarten through fifth-grade students, according to Matt Zokoe, the fourth-grade teacher who led the Lakes Elementary Student Council in putting together the event. The Lakes Student Council wanted to coordinate an event for the school as part of their mission. Art Attack allows students to express their creativity without feeling compelled to do a project in a particular manner. The entries in Art Attack were completed and on display as part of the annual Art Make-and-Take. Kenn Vidro, art teacher, has a passion for art, whether creating it or helping students learn how to express their creativity. “Art is about the students expressing their creativity,” Vidro said. Art Attack allowed students to do any type of artwork that was original. Vidro said some students did artwork to share with other people, such as paintings on canvas, which they are not able to do in art classes because of the expense and don’t want to do just for themselves. All 504 students at Lakes Elementary had works on display at the Art Make-and-Take. There were 161 entries and 190 participants in the first Art Attack. Students were able to either enter an individual piece or work with someone on their artwork. Zokoe said all students did their piece on their own time and received a ribbon for participation. “We wanted to emphasize this is about an art expression not art competition,” he said. The Lakes Elementary students were able to vote and choose their favorite 10 entries as part of Art Attack. The winners, whether an individual or a pair of students, received recognition certificates and gift cards for entry to visit the art at Fred Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park along with recognition at an all-school assembly. “This allowed students to go outside the mold and be individuals,” Zokoe said. The Lakes Elementary Student Council funds its projects, such as the costs of Art Attack and donations to Kids Food Baskets, through events such as a school store. “The students have been inspired by […]

Beyond The Rock crew runs video production at Big Ticket Festival

July 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

by KRIS DEYOUNG Loud music, famous bands, world-renowned speakers, thousands of fans and, most importantly, elephant ears are all part of this year’s Big Ticket Festival, which took place at Allegan County Fairgrounds June 14-16. The Big Ticket Festival is one of the largest Christian music festivals in the state of Michigan. It is a ministry run by the nonprofit Free Spirit Ministries and sponsored by many different entities including Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids. Each year upwards of 8,000 people come out each day for this family event, which truly has something for everyone. Each year some of the biggest names in Christian music hit one of three stages, impressing the crowds with their high energy and faith-filled performances. This year over 90 different artists performed, including hit artists such as Newsboys, Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath, Sidewalk Prophets, Shane and Shane, and many more. While taking in all the shows, families are also drawn to the multitude of other events and opportunities. Whether it is watching the Strongman team bend metal bars around their necks and rip phonebooks in half, or checking out the motocross dirt bikes defy gravity as they float back flips high above the crowd, it is three days of nonstop entertainment. There is even a special place for the younger kids (and the occasional adult) in the Kid Zone, which has every inflatable game you can imagine. At the heart of the festival are the ministries that seek to serve others, help those in need, and share the message of their faith. From toddlers to senior citizens, and everyone in between, the grounds are sprinkled with people who want to make a difference. The ministry of Operation Christmas Child, for example, allows festival fans to help stuff boxes filled with gifts and basic necessities to benefit kids in need around Christmas time. Many walk through the various tents like this one to see how they can play a part in helping someone in some way. It is love in action—truly a festival of fun, family, and a higher calling. “I learned that there is way more to a person than what meets the eye,” commented Beyond The Rock student producer Lynsey Bettig. This year Rockford High School (RHS) students, like […]

Rockford Start of Summer Celebration

June 14, 2012 // 0 Comments

Squire thanks friends for float The Rockford Squire staff would like to thank those who contributed to their Start of Summer Celebration parade float. Thank you to Ed Koehn Chevrolet for lending the truck, Post Berry Farms for the bushel baskets and crates, Rockford Ace Hardware for the beautiful plants, Pegasus Sports for the quick printing of t-shirts, and to Buckley Farms for the sturdy trailer. The Squire received many wonderful compliments from the community along the parade route. The Squire also thanks their many loyal readers and advertisers, and hope they continue to “Grow With Us!”            

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