Arts & Entertainment

Magic of ice festival this weekend in Rockford

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

World-record sundae contest Saturday As the New Year unfolds, picturesque downtown Rockford, Michigan 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; chain saw wielding 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; music and entertainment; hot cocoa and contests; voting for best of show; a throwback Ice Festival Ball dinner dance; bustling shops offering festival fare and fun and thousands of guests discovering the City’s charm and enchantment. Ice Carving Demonstrations – Ice carving demonstrations take place from noon to 4 p.m. at Red’s On the River Outdoor Deck; from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The Corner Bar and at Herman’s Boy from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Special thanks to Randy Finch and the talented team at Ice Sculptures Ltd for designing and creating the spectacular ice sculptures and interactive ice games.  Randy’s team is internationally known for their amazing work, and they star on the Food Network’s Ice Brigade series. The third annual Rockford Ice Festival promises to be bigger and better than last year—which is not an easy act to follow. Last year’s festival drew nearly 10,000 and was featured on the Food Network’s Ice Brigade series. The festival takes place Friday Sunday, January 13 through 15. The world record ice cream sundae contest takes place Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m. in front of the downtown Welcome Center (near the doors of Great Northern Trading Company). Students from the Culinary Institute of Michigan will help prepare and serve the complimentary sundaes, which will extend 250 feet. Don’t forget, the sculptures stay put until Mother Nature does them in, so stop back often to enjoy this winter wonderland art.    

RHS Women’s Chorus finds their voice, challenges others to do the same

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

We are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL along with JED SCOTT  The honors never cease for Rockford High School (RHS); you could hear the pride in her voice when Mandy Makita Scott told us, “The RHS Women’s Chorus has been selected to perform at the 7th annual Michigan Music Conference (MMC).” Rockford resident Mandy Scott is the director of the Women’s Chorus at RHS. Scott is in her fourth year of teaching at RHS, where she directs two sections of the Freshman Choir and the 68-voice sophomore Women’s Chorus. Scott holds a Bachelor of Music Education from WMU and a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Miami (FL). She currently serves on the Full Board of the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) as the Supervisor of High School Music Selection. The Women’s Chorus is a non-auditioned intermediate choir made up almost entirely of sophomore women. The ensemble is noted for its diverse repertoire and cohesiveness as an ensemble. The choral group has consistently earned Superior and Excellent ratings at district and state choral festivals. Held annually, the MMC draws 2,000+ attendees to their 3-day conferences – not including exhibitors, speakers, performers, parents, along with staff and volunteers. This year the conference will be held Thursday, January 19 – Saturday, January 21 at DeVos Place and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Chosen by a juried panel of vocal music educators, representing the MSVMA, the RHS Women’s Chorus is one of six choral groups (five high schools and one middle school) to be honored to perform at this year’s Conference. Honored indeed. “This is a really, really big deal to be singing at the MMC,” said RHS Director of Choral Activities David Duiven, seconded by Mandy Scott and echoed by Michigan Composer Jeffrey Cobb. “We will be giving music educators a taste of what you can do with a non-auditioned sophomore level choral group,” added Scott Jeffrey Cobb, is a highly degreed music educator and a much sought after composer of commissioned music. His pieces have garnered several national awards and honors. College ensembles, community groups, and public school students throughout the United States and around the world regularly perform his works for choir, […]

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.

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