State Rep. Peter MacGregor was joined in Lansing on Wednesday, July 18, by the Rockford High School men’s a cappella group, the Rockford Aces. The Rockford Aces are a 12-voice extracurricular men’s a cappella group that perform a wide repertoire, including traditional and contemporary choral, vocal jazz, barbershop, doo-wop, and contemporary a cappella. The group competed in the World Choir Games against more than 350 choirs from 64 countries this month in Cincinnati, where they earned two silver medals. MacGregor recognized them on the House floor and congratulated them on their achievement at the World Choir Games. The group also performed in the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday morning. “The Rockford Aces are incredibly talented and I’m extremely proud of their achievements locally and at the World Choir Games,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “These boys have represented our community well and I’m excited to see them go far with their academic and musical futures.” The group was founded in 2008, and was named as one of the finest high school choral ensembles in Michigan in 2010. The Aces actively performs at school, community and professional sporting events in West Michigan. The Rockford Aces made the trip to Lansing with choir director Jed Scott.
The UM Friars are bringing their patented blend of a cappella and comedy to Rockford High School (RHS) on February 11 at 7 p.m. They will be sharing the stage with RHS’ own Rockford Aces, a 12-voice men’s a cappella group that is part of the Rockford choir program. The concert is a benefit, with all proceeds being divided to help the Aces with their trip to the World Choir Games (the Olympics of choir) this summer, and to help the Friars on their tour of China this spring. The Friars have entertained audiences all over the world and are in great demand whenever they are home in Ann Arbor. They’re back at Rockford after performing briefly as part of the UM Men’s Glee Club Concert last year. Friars member Ben Rizzo said, “We wanted to come back to Rockford after our great experience last year.” The group highlighted both the choirs and the community as reasons to want to return. The Friars have been around for nearly 60 years as a subset of the Men’s Glee Club, and have developed a strong following and a tradition of excellence, particularly as entertainers. They are known for their strong personalities and comedy on stage, including hilarious song parodies. Their concert is titled “Everything I Learned in College” and will include something for every age group. Rockford Aces director Jed Scott said, “The Friars never disappoint. They’ll put on a great show for the Rockford community. We’re excited to share the stage with them!” Tickets for the Friars/Aces benefit concert are available for $10 each, or $5 for students, online at www.seatyourself.biz/RockfordChoirs.
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, […]
The Rockford Aces, a high school men’s a cappella ensemble at Rockford High School, are getting used to surpassing expectations. In their first year, they became the talk of the choir program and began eliciting screams whenever they entered the stage. Their second year saw them selected as one of the most outstanding choirs in Michigan. Now, after just three years, the Rockford Aces have produced and recorded their first CD, “Unaccompanied Minors.” Their director, Rockford resident Jed Scott, explained, “We rehearse just two hours a week, but I think we create something pretty special. So it’s great to have such a wonderful memento of their musical achievement.” In March, they began fundraising on kickstarter.com for an initial goal of $3,000. They ended up with pledges of over $4,000, enough to fund their CD project from beginning to end. In mid-April, they headed into Mackinaw Harvest Studios in Grand Rapids to record their album with noted local singer/songwriter and engineer Christopher Andrus. “Chris was amazing to work with, really encouraging the singers to do their best,” said Scott. “Performing in the recording studio is completely different from live performance… it’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. It’s very rare for high school students to get a professional recording experience like this, and I’m certain it’s something they’ll remember for a long time.” The Aces ended up spending about 12 hours in the studio recording, and that much again mixing. By the second week of May, the album was finished and off to production in New Jersey. “We expect the CDs to be back in our hands on June 1, just in time for our annual charity concert on June 3,” Scott said. The Aces hold an annual free concert in June, asking a five dollar donation per person, which they donate to charity. This year, they will donate the proceeds to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The Aces invite all fans of a cappella and choral music to join them for the Aces Charity Concert on June 3 at 7 p.m. in the Rockford Freshman Center. For more details, visit rockfordchoirs.com or e-mail to RockfordAces@gmail.com.
As far as the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) is concerned, Rockford may just be the top choir program in the State. This year, Rockford High School had three choirs selected as part of the top-14 choirs in Michigan. Each year MSVMA selects the top choirs to perform at a special gala recital as part of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (MYAF). Only one other school in Michigan had more than one choir selected. This year’s recital is scheduled for Friday, May 14. Each of the RHS Choir Directors had an ensemble selected: David Duiven’s Chamber Singers, a mixed ensemble made up of all upperclassmen; Mandy Mikita Scott’s Women’s Chorus, an all-sophomore choir accompanied by Peggy Odren; and the extracurricular men’s ensemble, the Rockford Aces, directed by Jed Scott. As Mr. Duiven put it, “this is really the state championship for choirs. Having one choir selected among this group is a great honor. Having three selected is unprecedented!” Indeed, the last time a Rockford choir was selected was in 1993, though last year one choir was nominated. Said Mrs. Scott, “there are so many fine choirs across the State that many of the very best schools don’t even have one choir selected.” The selection is the culmination of a statewide multi-step process that began in January with District Solo & Ensemble Festival. Some 400+ choirs performed at 16 district locations; the highest rated were permitted to continue to State Solo & Ensemble in April. At the State level, they performed two classical pieces and were asked to sight-read a piece to demonstrate their musical skills. Of the 50 ensembles performing at each of the four state sites, six were nominated for MYAF performance. A four-judge panel made up of choral experts then listened “blind” to the 24 nominated recordings and selected the 14 that would perform. According to Ginny Kerwin, Executive Director of MSVMA, “The decisions by the listening panel were difficult because of the high quality of choral artistry displayed by all of the finalists.” The choirs selected for inclusion are typically the top curricular ensembles at each high school represented, like Rockford’s Chamber Singers. The other two choirs from RHS are less typical. As Mrs. Scott puts it, “to have an all-sophomore […]