On Wednesday, February 18 at 7 p.m., singer-songwriter and 2012 Rockford Public Schools Hall of Famer Cameron Blake will be performing a concert at the historic Fountain Street Church to celebrate the release of his new album Alone On The World Stage and to raise money for Safe Haven Ministries, a comprehensive domestic violence organization based in Grand Rapids. Entrance is $10 for general admission and $5 for students at the door. Specifically, proceeds will go toward Safe Haven’s 2015 initiatives to connect the women and children it serves with safe and affordable housing options in Kent County. Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness for women both locally and nationally and survivors regularly report the lack of affordable housing opportunities as a primary barrier to escaping abuse. The money raised will help Safe Haven begin tackling this complex issue, which will include research, partnership with affordable housing organizations and additional on-site supportive advocacy to help create sustainable outcomes for women and children on their journey of healing. For Blake, turning his upcoming CD release concert into a benefit for Safe Haven was only natural, as many of the songs on Alone On The World Stage deal with themes of social justice. “I often write about current events because my deepest desire as an artist is to use my music to bring about social change, particularly in issues relating to class and poverty.” Many of the songs on the new album elicit a personal, empathetic response to the oppressed, which is why Cameron was inspired to partner with Safe Haven for this CD release event. Instead of bashing the city government for its fiscal problems in the song “Detroit,” Blake sings about the daily life of a broken woman. Instead of making a newspaper headline out of the North Dakota oil boom, he personifies the state, making it cry and sing in “North Dakota Oil.” Though Blake declines the confrontational mode of the protest song, he takes advantage of the direct performance style of the folk era, using nothing but solo voice and guitar or piano throughout the album. Recorded and produced by Peter Fox at Stone House Recording in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Alone On The World Stage highlights the studio as […]
Student volunteers from Rhythm Dance Center (RDC), located in Belmont Michigan, celebrated the winter holiday season with residents at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community for the second year in a row. The group of dancers, ages 9 – 16, spent weeks preparing an evening of dance numbers, songs and musical performances to provide seasonal entertainment to residents in late December. “Music and dance are gifts to share with others – especially during the holiday season and I am so proud of these young dancers for giving of themselves, their talent and their time to brighten the evening for the folks at Bishop Hills,” said studio owner, Jen Hanes. “It’s our way of giving back to our community, to share our blessings.” Rachel Kooiman, Director of Life Enrichment at Bishop Hills, helped coordinate the event and reported that the residents really appreciated the kids for taking time out of busy schedules to make a visit and put on a very uplifting show. “Our residents really enjoy it when visitors come in from the community and the sing-along at the end of the show was a crowd favorite.” The dancers that participated are all members of the RDC Competitive team and they regularly travel to perform. Volunteering and community service are important elements of the team spirit inspired at the studio and this visit is an expansion of that effort which was started last year under the guidance of RDC instructor Sarah Maxim-Gerard. “Considering others and looking beyond our own immediate circle is part of our philosophy at RDC,” Maxim-Gerard added. “We strive to encourage students to consider ways to contribute to the well-being of others and that touches back to our goal of helping develop healthy, well-rounded individuals who just happen to share the love of dance.” RDC is committed to excellence in offering contemporary dance styles and the principal mission is to create a fun, healthy educational and creative environment for dancers of all ages and skills.
It was close but no cigar for the Rockford wrestling team when the hosted the annual Rockford wrestling tournament on Saturday, January 10th. The Rams went 2-3 on the day while cruising to a pair of easy victories over Traverse City West and Okemos but the other three matches were tantalizingly close to coming out on a positive note for Rockford. The Rams fell to Hesperia 33-32, Jckson Lumen Christi 34-33 and to the eventual champions from Grand Ledge by nine points. “It was a case of just one more thing going our way in all three of those matches,” said Rockford coach Brian Richardson. “We finally wrestled more to our capabilities against Grand Ledge, but we didn’t put forth our best effort at times in the other two losses. We need to learn from this and just keep moving forward to achieve what we expect to.” Rockford had a pair of wrestlers finish the day at a perfect 5-0 in seniors Jared Bennett (119/125) and Nick Guerra (152). There were also a trio of Rams who finished 4-1 led by seniors Chris Bell (160) and Caleb Childers (171) as well as freshman Austin Spiegel at 103 pounds. Several Rockford grapplers continue to sport excellent records at this juncture of the season led by Bennett at 23-1. Guerra stands at 22-2 while Childers at 21-2 and Hansen at 20-4 are trailing closely behind. Richardson also pointed out the excellent contributions of Spiegel. “Austin is a joy to have on the team,” said Richardson. “He is a very hard worker and has been the beneficiary of an outstanding workout partner in Caleb Wagner. We have so many kids who haven’t quite made it onto the varsity team yet but who continue to push wrestlers for time and have made us better across the board. We had 1,417 matches wrestled at Rockford from Wednesday to Sunday and all of that action will do nothing but make us better as a team.” The Rams fell 40-21 to one of the top teams in the state in Grandville on Wednesday, January 7th. That loss left them at 0-1 in conference action as the OK Red campaign kicked off.
The Rockford Varsity Hockey team jumped back on the ice after the Christmas break with a pair of league games against East Grand Rapids and Mona Shores. The games resulted in a high and a low for the Rams. The league tilt against East Grand Rapids on Saturday, January 10 represented the high, as the Rams recorded a commanding 7-3 win over the Pioneers. The contest was supposed to be part of the Walker Classic Hockey Tournament, but Mother Nature had other plans. The tournament had to be shelved after weather cancelled Friday night games. The match-up between the Rams and the Pioneers started with the teams exchanging goals through the first two periods. Tanner Vesche netted the first goal for Rockford (assisted by John McNamara) in the opening period. Tallying goals for the Rams in the middle period was Brock Johnson (unassisted), Jeff Benda (assisted by Johnson and Brad Dertien) and Connor Foss (assisted by Benda and McNamara). The Rams led 4-3 after two periods. In the final period Rockford pulled away from the Pioneers with 3 unanswered goals. Vesche scored two in the third period to record a hat trick for the game (the first assisted by Foss and the second assisted by Jarret Ullrey) and Taylor Edgecomb closed out the scoring (with helpers from Dertien and Damon Harvey). Netminder Brendan Coolbaugh posted the win for Rockford. Following the game the two teams were joined by Kenowa Hills and Grandville hockey teams to honor former Grandville hockey player Ryan Fischer. Fischer passed away unexpectedly in March, 2014. Rockford Ram parents coordinated several fundraisers that resulted in over $1500 being raised for the Ryan Fischer Scholarship Fund. The Rams wore commemorative camouflage jerseys to honor Fischer, who had been accepted to West Point. Rockford co-captains Brendan Perry and Ullrey presented Fischer’s parents with a camouflage Rockford jersey during a touching ceremony. The Rams experienced the low in a midweek contest against Mona Shores on Wednesday, January 14. Rockford was overpowered by the Sailors in the 6-1 OK Conference league loss. The game was tied early in the second period. Braden King scored Rockford’s lone goal about one minute into the middle period (assisted by John Filipiak and Johnson). Rockford’s downfall was a 5-1/2 minute […]
The Rockford High School (RHS) marching band earned top honors for marching in Flight I competition at the Michigan Competing Band Association (MCBA) state finals held at Ford Field on Saturday, Nov. 6. Overall, the band earned third place with a score of 86.18 out of 11 bands competing in their flight. Walled Lake Central earned first with a score of 88.45, followed by Plymouth-Canton with 87.12. “We had an unbelievable performance! The students did a wonderful job and we had a clean, focused show,” said RHS band director, Brian Phillips. “Flight I is the most competitive flight at state finals, with each competing band presenting a solid performance.” In Flight I, the span between the top five bands was just over three points, with the average span for the other flights at seven points. Since joining the MCBA in 2005, RHS has qualified for state finals every year and has moved up in rank from seventh place the first year to third in 2009 and 2010. “We have proved that our third-place finish last year was not a fluke. Rockford is someone to contend with in the years ahead!” added seniors Andrew Christianson and Alex Quinn. Rockford’s marching program is unique compared to the bands they face at state finals. “For many of the schools, band is an extracurricular program. Students try out for a spot in the ensemble and they rehearse several hours a day. For our program, all kids who desire to be in band are part of the program. We meet for one class hour a day and typically rehearse just one evening a week, which is about three times less than our competitors,” according to Phillips. The biggest point of pride for Phillips is how the students rehearse. “The students are prepared and rehearse in an efficient manner,” explained Phillips. “The show constantly evolves and each member has a desire for growth that brings a level of sophistication to our ensemble.” And that is not an easy task with over 200 teenagers in the program this year to keep organized and focused. Looking ahead, Phillips sees only an “exciting and bright future” for the marching band. The band now moves into concert season with the wind ensemble’s brass section performing at the […]