Rockford Historical Museum

Sound of Sinatra coming to Rockford

December 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

Tickets for February concert would make great gift  Get your tickets to a great show early and help bring a first-class new historical museum to Rockford. The Sound of Sinatra is an event that will bring back great memories and win new fans as singer Mark Randisi brings big band instrumentals along with his own”Sound of Sinatra” to the Rockford High School Stage. Tickets would make great gifts for Christmas. Randisi’s most popular shows are those that he performs with the backing of his stage band that, combined with his natural voice, is very reminiscent of many of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits. The event will take place one night only on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 8 p.m. at the Rockford High School auditorium. Randis was “discovered” while singing Sinatra songs at a Detroit area karaoke club after a hard day working in his family’s painting business.  Joe Vicari, owner of the Andiamo’s restaurant chain heard him that night and hired him to sing in his clubs Randis quickly became one of the Midwest’s most popular club performers, constantly refining his art until he found himself performing in some of the world’s finest venues and with the world’s best musicians and most famous entertainers. As Casey Kasem would say, Mark “put down his paint brush and picked up a microphone.” He is still a featured headliner, along with Regis Philbin, Tom Jones, Howie Mandel, Natalie Cole, Paul Anka, Gladys Knight, The Beach Boys, and others at the Andiamo Celebrity Showroom Concert Series. His annual Sinatra Tribute Show on or near May 14—the date of Frank Sinatra’s death in 1998—regularly sells out. That is the show he is bringing to Rockford. Randis always delivers a heartfelt performance that captures the essence of Sinatra’s voice, music, and unparalleled style.  He captivates audiences of all ages. When world famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli first heard Mark Randisi sing, he thought he was listening to a Sinatra recording. That is a common response, but Randis is modest.  “I’m always flattered when people say I sound like Frank Sinatra. I developed a love for the music and I respect the people who created it. However, I am just being myself.” A Mark Randisi show is an incredible tribute to the classics, not an imitation. He does not […]

RAM artifact #3

December 8, 2011 // 0 Comments

Native American pottery bowl This Native American pottery bowl was donated to the Rockford Histoical Museum on April 5, 2000 by Simon Francis, a spiritual leader of the Grand Rapids Band. The clay pot is believed to be 2000 years old, possibly from the area of Indiana. Items were traded near and far, even thousands of years ago.

Rockford’s Historic Past Remembered

January 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford is a community with a rich and interesting history, and people willing to take the time and effort to keep it from being forgotten. At last month’s Historical Society, Gene Berry shared the story of two of the town’s older families – the Berrys and the Ammermans. The presentation included dates and names going back to as far as 1693, but also philosophical thoughts. There was no television in pioneer days and families often consisted of 12 or 13 children. Is there any cause and effect to those two facts? Berry’s research also showed that marriages often took place between relatively close neighbors, most likely a result of less opportunity to travel and meet spouses from farther away. Berry’s narration traveled the course of generations, listing homes that still exist as well as towns which no longer do. It included discussion of names and their interesting origins. His family tree boasts a Thankful Shears, mother of Shears Berry who fought in the Revolutionary Army. Names like Thankful and Blessing expressed settlers’ gratitude at finally arriving at their new home after a grueling trip. Also discussed was the Ammerman family, traced back to 1784 and settling in Rockford in 1900. Barb Stevens (nee Ammerman) remembers her childhood in the now red farm house at 275 W. Division (Ten Mile Road) west of Rockford on the north side of the road. The home is over 100 years old and used to be white. It also had a huge red barn, now gone. Her favorite memories of the farm include picking up dropped apples, which were pressed into cider and kept all winter long. In 1963 her grandfather died and one acre of farm with the house on it was sold. The other 79 acres was sold to a developer. It is now the Highlands. She recalled how vibrant Rockford was in the ’50s, with a much greater diversity of stores than today. Gene Berry said his first memory is of a team of horses pulling the wire to provide electricity to his home in 1937. He was one year old. The Historical Society is always looking for new members to help keep the town’s past from being forgotten. Museum Director Pat Frye is currently seeking photos […]