Arts & Entertainment

Chamber praises celebration cooperation

June 14, 2012 // 0 Comments

Dear Editor, The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) would like to thank this great community, the businesses, and all the volunteers for their participation and support of another fun-filled Start of Summer Celebration. The RCC would like to sincerely thank the Start of Summer Celebration committee for all their hard work, tireless efforts and dedication to excellence—and their continued commitment—to this event:  Polly VonEschen, Event Chair; Gay McDonald, Entertainment Chair; Linda Southwick, Craft Chair; Lynda Nance, Fireworks Chair; Ruth Reickard, Clean Up Chair; and Candy Lancioni, Children’s Tent Chair. We would also like to thank Dr. Mike Shibler, John and Mike Scheidel, and City Manager Michael Young for their help in bringing the event to the community. Every year the Start of Summer Celebration is seamlessly ran and it is due to their combined efforts that it happens year after year. We want to extend a special thank-you to the staff of the City of Rockford, Rockford Department of Public Safety and the Rockford Department of Public Works. The kindness, professionalism and hours of hard work that were extended for this event were a huge contributor to its success. Rockford Ambulance, Scheidel Electric, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, ASP team from RUMC, and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department also contributed to the event and were a factor in creating a safe, clean, fun and very successful Start of Summer Celebration. We would like to extend our thanks to Byrne Electrical Specialists Inc., Wynalda Packaging, Meijer Inc., and D&W Fresh Market for sponsoring the fantastic fireworks display on Saturday night. Our sincere thanks also goes to our Chamber sponsors, who help us bring these amazing events to Rockford—gold: Byrne Electrical Specialists, Wolverine World Wide Inc.; silver: Grand Rapids Controls LLC, United Bank of Michigan; and bronze: Action Tax Service, CedarRock Dental Care, Kellermeier Plumbing, and Macatawa Bank. If you see any of these companies’ representatives around town, please give them a big thank you for their support of the community. We would also like to thank the wonderful Rockford community, who came out to help us welcome the start of summer 2012 with smiles, laughter and fun. It was a great way to close out the school year and celebrate the start of […]

Event looking for talented artists

June 7, 2012 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Area Art Commission’s (RAAC) answer to its mission statement of promoting art in Rockford will be everywhere in downtown Rockford Saturday, Aug. 4 via ArtCapsule 2012. The event is looking for artists interested in showcasing their talent throughout the first week in August. There will be three divisions: photography, 2-D and 3-D. There will be two age groups in 2012: high school and adult. This year’s theme is “The Beauty of Nature.” Each year, the merchants of downtown Rockford open their doors and showcase the artwork in their stores. The public is able to vote for their favorites, and more than 1,000 votes were cast in 2011, so there is plenty of exposure for artists. ArtCapsule also allows the artists the ability to sell their entries. This is the third year of the event and organizers are working hard to make this year’s event bigger and better. The RAAC will again add music to the event at Garden Club Park throughout the day on Saturday. Add “A Taste of Rockford”—Rockford’s eateries offering samples of their fare and you have a wonderful exclamation point on a great week of celebrating the best Rockford has to offer. “We’re looking forward to a great week’s worth of art that will culminate with a tasty Art Capsule on Saturday, August 4 with music in the park, artwork in shops and restaurants, great food to sample and a city full of people out to enjoy Rockford and its arts community,” RAAC Chairman Jeff Lewis said. For more information and to download an application, please go to Watch for more information about the event in the coming weeks.

‘Ragweed Blues’ makes local debut

April 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

The era of Prohibition, speakeasies and wide-lapelled mobsters come to life with the upcoming production of “The Ragweed Blues,” an original American comedy presented by Rogue River Community Theater. Nearly four dozen actors are participating in the play, which runs April 26-29 at Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs. Set in New York City, “The Ragweed Blues” mimics the classic, old, black-and-white gangster movies of the 1920s and ‘30s, featuring legendary Hollywood actors like James Cagney, Pat O’Brien and Humphrey Bogart, explained Director Patricia Rose. “The gangster movies from Hollywood’s golden era are American treasures, and there’s been renewed interest in the noir, especially with the success of ‘The Artist,’” said Rose, referring to black-and-white melodrama which earned five Academy Awards last month, including best picture. “Taking it a step further, we’ve included slapstick comedy based on many of the old Hollywood matinee idols of that era,” Rose said. “There is romance, a sting operation, a movie set and gangsters all caught up in the Great Depression in New York City circa 1930.” Audiences will especially enjoy a memorable fight scene which includes Tommy guns, brawling and bawling. Era-specific costumes and music, along with plenty of hijinks and a surprise ending “will have the audience laughing throughout the show,” according to Rose. “Many of the characters are based on real-life figures viewers will know.” The local theater group, established over 20 years ago, includes award-winning actors of stage and film who’ve been rehearsing for the spring show since early February. Proceeds from a special matinee performance on Sunday, April 29 will benefit the Rockford Area Historical Society in its quest to purchase the former Rockford District Court building at 105 Maple Street , to house its museum. “Being able to help the Rockford Area Historical Society with a stage production that honors a bygone era of American history seems like a perfect idea,” Rose said. “We are honored to be a part of this effort.” “The Ragweed Blues” will be performed Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 26-28 at 8 p.m. with a special matinee production scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. The April 29 benefit play for the Rockford Area Museum is at 2 p.m. Shows will take place at the historic Kent Theatre , 8 N. […]

Inaugural Rockford Idol comes to RHS

April 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

It’s no secret that the young musicians at Rockford High School (RHS) are consistently among the best in the state. Rockford students shine every year in the annual musical, marching band competitions, local bands, Solo & Ensemble, Band and Choir Festivals, and many other activities. And starting April 19-20, there is a new opportunity to hear the best young musicians at the high school: Rockford Idol. This solo singing competition will feature the finest Rockford student singers in a two-night competition to be crowned “Rockford Idol.” The event will be hosted by the Rockford Aces a cappella men’s group, who will give performances to close each evening. Celebrity Emcee Stephanie Webb from WZZM will keep the event moving along as each competitor performs and interacts with the judges. The celebrity judges will include Michael Crittenden of Mackinaw Harvest Studios and local band Troll for Trout, Grand Rapids musician Chris Andrus, WZZM sports reporter Brent Ashcroft, and RHS teacher Susan Clements. April 19 will feature performances from up to 40 talented students. The judges will then select 10-15 finalists to move on to the finals. On April 20, these finalists will perform, and the Rockford Idol winner will be selected by audience voting, with the Aces performing while votes are tallied. Prizes are to be awarded to the top three finishers, including a grand prize of four hours of recording generously donated by Mackinaw Harvest Studios in Grand Rapids. All ticket proceeds from the evening will benefit the Rockford Aces. They have been selected to compete in two categories of the 7th Annual World Choir Games (considered the Olympics of choir) this summer, and are raising money to defray the costs of the competition. Both evenings will be held at the RHS Auditorium. Tickets are $1 for the preliminary round and $5 for Friday’s finals. Tickets are available via or at the RHS ticket office beginning April 16. E-mail for details.

Internationally renowned vocal group to give April 10 concert in Rockford

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

After 34 years and countless successful alumni, it’s no fluke—Western Michigan University’s Gold Company is arguably the finest vocal jazz choir in the world. And they’re coming to Rockford on April 10. Directed by Dr. Stephen Zegree, the award-winning ensemble performs a wide variety of repertoire which covers all styles in the contemporary vocal idiom. Gold Company has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa. The groups have appeared at Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, the World Symposium on Choral Music, the national conventions of MENC and IAJE, and divisional and national conventions of ACDA, as well as performing at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the inaugural Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Jazz Festival. Gold Company has also appeared with guest artists including Bobby McFerrin, Janis Siegel, Mark Murphy, Rosemary Clooney, Kurt Elling, The Manhattan Transfer, Jon Hendricks, Darmon Meader, and Don Shelton and Bonnie Herman of The Singers Unlimited. Gold Company is coming to Rockford High School to help out The Rockford Aces, who are traveling this summer to take part in the World Choir Games (considered the Olympics of choir). “We’re lucky to have gotten them,” said Aces director Jed Scott. “They’re in constant demand around the country and have limited time for touring, but they did everything in their power to make it happen. The Aces are so excited to present this dynamic ensemble to the Rockford community. They always present an outstanding performance that’s suitable for all ages.” Also worth noting is that 2010 Rockford High School alumnus, and former member of the Aces, Bill Davidson will be on hand playing piano for Gold Company. Tickets are $10 for this one-night-only special event, with all proceeds going to the Aces trip. Don’t miss this amazing night of singing! Purchase tickets online at

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