The City of Rockford is pleased to announce that Huntington Bank is the proud sponsor of this year’s Huntington Rogue River Blues Series. The Blues Series will once again provide the Rockford community with Tuesday evening concerts in Downtown Rockford, Garden Club Park, from 7 to 9 p.m. These family-oriented concerts provide outstanding musical talent free of charge to the public. Come early and enjoy dinner in one of Rockford’s fine eating establishments and stroll through the wonderful shops. Then bring a blanket or lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of wonderful music. Garden Club Park is located in downtown Rockford, north of the Rockford Dam on Bridge Street, directly behind the Squires Street shops. The Rogue River Blues Series schedule is as follows: • June 14—Harper • June 21—The Vincent Hayes Project • June 28—Rob Blaine’s Big Otis Blues Band • July 5—BMF Band • July 12—Root Doctor • July 19—Steve Hilger Band • July 26—Thirsty Perch Blues Band The After the Blues Series schedule is as follows: • August 2—Mind’s Eye (jazz) • August 9—Red Sea Pedestrians (world beat) • August 16—Small Town Son (country/rock) If inclement weather, the event moves to the Rotary Pavilion, which is located in downtown Rockford at the corner of Courtland and Squires streets. Parking Suggestion: South Squires Parking Lot, accessed from Bridge St. entrance drive between Vitale’s and J.T. Stitchery, or from Main St. entrance drive north of the Rogue Valley Towers building. A short, pleasant walk north on the White Pine Trail will bring you directly to the park.
June 2 2011
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.
by JUDY REED For 10 years now, Mike Cook of Solon Township has been using dogs he’s trained to find some of the first morel mushrooms each year. But when his dog Pugsley died a couple of years ago, he had to start over and train a couple of new dogs. Enter Muffin, a one-year-old dachsund, and Toby, a blind one-year-old dachsund. “Morels smell funny, so I get them used to the smell, like training a drug dog,” explained Cook, when asked how he trains them to find morels. Recently Cook took them out on a test run. Cook spotted a morel from his truck, and let Toby out to see what he would do. “He went crazy barking, and even though he’s blind, he was able to find them,” said Cook. “He ran around in a circle around them, and we got them all in about 15 minutes.” The mushrooms shown in the photo are about one-third of what they found near Algoma Avenue and 17 Mile, in Solon Township. “Now if only I could get the dogs to smell trout for me,” Cook said with a laugh. Cook said that the morels seem to grow best around ash, poplar and dead elm trees, old apple orchards, and land that’s been burned.
Erik Smoes, a junior at Rockford High School, and Beau Port, a seventh-grade student at North Rockford Middle School, put their passion for the Rogue River to work. Both are avid fishermen who also believe strongly in recycling. They really enjoy fishing in the Rogue and want to keep it clean. The two saw a need for a Rogue River cleanup north of the dam. They took time out from fishing to clean up trash and recyclable junk from the banks of the river. They concentrated on cleaning the section from roughly 11 Mile Road to the dam.
Rosie’s Ice Cream and More is partnering with the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library in an effort to help the library “grow” at the Library Plant Sale & Auction on Saturday, June 11. Rosie’s will donate 10 percent of all sales from their business location, and will also provide a lunch at the sale and donate 100 percent of those sales to the library. Co-owners Kathy Ortiz, Craig Moore and Manager Laura Grice are all big library supporters. “We hope everyone comes out to support the library that day,” said Ortiz. “Reading is so important. We hope people will enjoy a treat from Rosie’s while helping the library.” Moore shares Ortiz’s enthusiasm. “This gift is more than a percentage of sales. The gift of literacy is a gift to everyone. We’re honored to be a part of this community and support these efforts.” Rosie’s is located at 34 East Lake Street in Sand Lake. The plant sale will be at the Sand Lake/Nelson Twp Library, 88 Eighth Street. Rain or shine, the sale starts at 9:00 a.m. The plant auction begins at 2 p.m. All proceeds benefit the library to meet the “growing” needs for programs, resources, books and operations. The Friends of the Sand Lake/Nelson Township library is a nonprofit organization that helps the library raise funds for special projects and services. New members are always welcome and can join by completing an application in the library. The library hosts a variety of programs for adults and children throughout the summer and will kick off a summer reading program for youth in June. All children/young adults are invited to participate.