Lighting event kicks off with holiday traditions Villagers by the hundreds walked to the banks of the Rogue River at Peppler Park for the annual ceremony as Rockford turned on the downtown’s holiday lights. A mild evening on Tuesday, Nov. 15 allowed the Rockford High School band and choir members to entertain the crowds with more comfort than on some previous lighting ceremonies. A moving rendition of “Silver Bells” brought the holiday spirit home as well as beautiful traditional songs by the high school singers and musicians. A tradition with the lighting ceremony was a popular crowd favorite as “Fun with Rudolph” invited crowd participation. Radio personality Gene Parker was crestfallen by a letter from Santa declining to attend the evening’s event but instead confirmed his visit on Saturday, Dec. 3 for the annual Santa Parade in downtown Rockford. Current City Council member and former mayor Rich Moll spoke before the crowds of families, couples and kids, and recalled the excitement of his youth of the joys of the holidays and challenged all to “rekindle the joy of the season.” State Representative Peter MacGregor shared his quest as he asked friends and family members their definition of peace. He received a different answer from his wife and each of his children before deciding on his own. “Peace is different for each of us. For me inner peace is knowing my family is not in harm’s way,” MacGregor stated. “A lot of people don’t have that now. We need to think of peace all the time. We need to think of peace all year round. Hug your kids many times a day.”
Rockford High School Band
Christmas vacation took on a learning twist for the members of the Rockford High School (RHS) bands. Approximately 155 students and chaperones headed out early on December 27 for a fun-filled learning experience at Disney’s Magical Musical Days, including the “You’re Instrumental!” workshop in Orlando, Fla. The workshop gave the students a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the professional music world, and what it takes to be a successful studio musician, culminating with the creation of a soundtrack recording for a Disney animated film clip. Students started their musical journey by meeting with a Disney conductor in a professional recording studio located in the Epcot theme park. They learned what it is like to be a professional performer and the differences in the many areas of the music industry, including performing on stage and in a studio. They then were given a piece of music to sight-read and worked on basic intonation techniques and polishing their piece to a professional level. Once the music was ready, they learned studio-performance techniques. They then did a final “take” on the music, which was paired with a Disney animated film clip by the studio staff. The workshop concluded with a viewing of all their hard work on the DVD, which was presented to Mr. Phillips, RHS band director. “The entire trip was a wonderful success. The students were able to gain both a valuable musical experience, and have a great time in the parks,” said Phillips. In addition to the music workshop, the students were also able to enjoy the various Disney theme parks and concluded their Disney experience with a New Year’s Eve celebration in the Magic Kingdom. The students are currently preparing for their winter concerts on February 14 and 15, which the public is welcome to enjoy. February 14 will feature the concert band and symphonic band of the high school. The 15th will feature the eighth-grade bands from both middle schools and the RHS wind ensemble. Performances begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at the RHS Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are not required, and it is general admission seating.