by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Those hoping to score a pair of tickets at the box office window to last Saturday’s Second City 50th Anniversary Tour performance were sorely disappointed. Tickets for the traveling comedy spectacular, held in the cozy confines of the 800-seat Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium, had sold out the week prior. In a leap of faith, the show’s presenter, the Rockford Education Foundation (REF), had booked a touring ensemble of Chicago’s famed Second City comedy theater. Judging from the audience reaction, during and after the evening’s performance, the REF had hit a homerun. The five-member touring company of multi-talented comedic actors, without benefit of a usual lead-in act to warm up the audience, had the lucky ticket holders continuously laughing out loud for the entire two-hour performance. Performing cutting-edge improvisational and satirical comedy sketches relevant to the times of our lives both past and present were Seth Weitberg, Brooke Bagnall, Rachel Miller, Abby McEnany, and Detroit-native Sam Richardson. Each a budding comedic star in their own right, combined they were a hilarious powerhouse. At every stop along the tour, depending on the make-up audience, very little subject matter is off limits. The Rockford crowd in attendance that evening could have been classified as “M” (for mature) with no children present. Thus sizing up the house during the opening skit, it appeared as though the troupe stepped their social comment up a notch. At the outset of the performance, we found Rachel lying across three chairs (meant, we soon learned, to be a couch). Entering the stage, Sam pantomimed the lighting of candles and the pouring of wine and proceeded to the couch, knelt down and began to inflate his date through a valve in her foot. Unbelievably, an inflatable doll sat upright! Just as things were beginning to “heat up,” the doll sprung a leak. Taken aback, Sam tried to re-inflate the doll, but the leak persisted. Amid uproarious laughter from the audience, we found Sam in sheer frustration and disappointment as the stage lights faded to black. Perhaps a highlight of the evening was what turned out to be an audience participation sketch. An ensemble member, Rachel, again appears onstage and announces to the audience they are the Rockford […]
Rockford Education Foundation
Reds to partner with REF for Second City event Reds on the River is kicking off the New Year by partnering with the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) to help raise money for educational opportunities for persons of all ages in Rockford. Reds will be donating 10 percent of food sales for guests who present their tickets or ticket stubs for The Second City spectacular to be held at the Rockford High School Auditorium on January 23. The offer is valid from January 23 through February 28, 2010. Ticket stubs may be used for multiple visits to Reds during this designated time period. The donation applies only to the food bills of guests who present their Second City tickets or stubs. Sales will be coded and tracked by Reds’ computer system, and a check will be presented to REF the first week of March. Free bluegrass event to be held in Comstock Park The West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association (WMBMA) is hosting a free bluegrass event for players and spectators on Saturday, Jan. 16. A free open band showcase and jam session will begin at 7 p.m. at Fricano’s Pizza, 5808 Alpine NW, Comstock Park, and will continue for as long as the participants wish to play. Bands, groups or individuals wishing to showcase their talent will have an opportunity to perform on stage. A house band will be available for backup, if desired. Bluegrass musicians at all levels are welcome. This jam session is held in a large smoke-free room with food and beverages available for purchase, making it an ideal event for non-musical guests who enjoy listening to free bluegrass music. For more information on this event or the WMBMA organization, please call WMBMA President Dave Simmonds at (616) 897-6220 or visit www.wmbma.org.
Crestwood kids explain grant Dear Editor, We are the Turquoise Team at Crestwood Elementary School that received the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) grant for the “skylights” that was written about in the REF article in November. We were so excited to see our grant written up for all of Rockford to read about. We would like to give you some additional details about these “skylights” so everyone understands why REF gave them to us. We want to share with all of you what our grant will do! Our team would like to explain: The skylights will help us concentrate because they make the florescence lights less bright in our room. Florescence lights flicker and make buzzing noises. The skylights get rid of the buzzing and the flickering. They help us to concentrate more. They will make us feel like we are outside and nature makes us feel calm. It will make us feel like we’re in the forest. Thank you again, REF, for your support for our idea and we can’t wait until the day they are installed! Mrs. Sanders’ and Mrs. Schroeder’s second-graders Crestwood Elementary School Rockford
Pool used by many for health Dear Editor, We have heard a rumor that the swimming pool housed at the Rockford Middle School is to be closed due to lack of funds. It is my understanding that this is a “community” pool, for which 1 mil was voted in by the public for maintenance of this pool. For health reasons a lot of us go twice a week or more fo water aerobics. We are senior citizens trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. We would be at a loss if this pool closes, especially with the millage already voted in for this. I truly hope someting can be done to prevent this closure. Marilyn J. Cole, Rockford resident Don’t close school pool Dear Editor, I and about 10 to 12 others swim twice a week at the North Rockford Middle School pool in the “Aqua-Flex” class. This is primarily attended by those who use this as a rehabilitation following surgery and for those who just want to keep mobile. It has been mentioned that the school is intending to close this pool due to finances and hold the classes at the high school. This is very unfavorable to our group who need the warmer water as the high school pool is very cool. I remember that when this school was built the Krause family donated the pool. However, the taxpayers voted to pay the necessary costs for maintenance. If this is still happening, why does the pool have to be closed? Please, school board members, reconsider this motion. Bonnie Miller, Belmont resident REF concert expected to sell out Dear Editor, Cliff and Nancy, this is AMAZING! I LOVE the article and I am so grateful to you both for writing it. You two certainly have a gift for writing. Tickets have been selling very well, and once this edition of the Squire reaches Rockford residents, I will expect a sell-out by mid December. Thank you so very much. Sue Arend, Rockford Education Foundation Anderson thanks Squire Dear Editor, I must tell you, I’ve had countless writings done about my work and myself over the last 34 years. And it’s not just because this sculpture is so grand on so many scales and will have an impact on so […]
On Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, Chicago’s legendary comedy theatre, The Second City, will appear at Rockford High School’s Fine Arts Center at 8:00 p.m. for the 14th annual Rockford Education Foundation (REF) benefit. This special performance will feature some of the best sketches, songs and improvisations from The Second City’s 50-year history. The Second City is truly a Chicago landmark and national treasure. On Dec. 16, 2009, The Second City celebrates 50 years of cutting-edge satiric revues as well as the launching pad for generations of comedy superstars. The Second City continues to develop the leading voices in comedy while touring the globe. Founded in Chicago in 1959, The Second City has become the premier training ground for the comedy world’s best and brightest. Their alumni list reads like a who’s who of American comedy, as it includes Mike Nichols, Elaine May, Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, Peter Boyle, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, George Wendt, Martin Short, John Candy, Bonnie Hunt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Horatio Sanz, Ryan Stiles, Jack McBrayer, Tim Meadows, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and countless others. Not only will an evening with The Second City provide audiences with the chance to see comedy stars in the making, but they will also have the opportunity to see absolutely hilarious satire and cutting-edge improvisation. No topic or subject matter is off limits for The Second City. If your parents asked you not to speak about it at the dinner table, chances are it will be made fun of in an evening with The Second City. Tickets for The Second City, which go on sale October 15, are $35 and can be purchased by calling the REF office at (616) 863-6317. The REF provides resources for increased educational opportunities for people of all ages in the Rockford community. Last year, the REF awarded over $95,000 in grants.