Latest News: Music Academy of Rockford College

Young talent to honor America at Midway Village concert

Wednesday, September 22, 2010  
Share |
By Georgette Braun
Posted Sep 22, 2010 @ 07:30 AM

Say "Shenandoah,” and someone’s bound to reply in song with "Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you. Away, we’re bound away, across the wide Missouri.”

Students in Measure 5, the advanced performing and touring string ensemble of the Music Academy of Rockford College, will play "Shenandoah” Oct. 3 at Midway Village Museum in Rockford.

None of the 300 academy students performing that day for the Music on the Midway will sing the words to the folk melody that dates to the early 19th century.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t sing the words to the tune in your head. After all, the ambience surrounding you for the event at Midway Village is all about depicting life from 1890 to 1920 in northern Illinois. The village’s 26 historical buildings are filled with period artifacts.

The afternoon celebration doesn’t just showcase music and Americana, though "America the Beautiful” is another piece that will be performed. It spotlights the students and programs of the academy for its 25th anniversary celebration.

Students weigh in
Hope Ross,
15, is a sophomore at Sacred Heart Classical Center in Loves Park, which offers a Catholic education designed to support home-schooling families. She hopes to major in music in college and wants to pursue a career performing or teaching.

This is her second year with the academy. A few things she has learned: "My knowledge of music theory has been expanded,” Ross said in an e-mail. "My performance skills have also improved.” She recently was asked to be the pianist for the academy’s Measure 5 group. Ross also will play piano solo at the Oct. 3 event.

"Piano is almost like an orchestra in itself. The emotion that some chords demonstrate, that usually can only be expressed by several instruments together, can be felt by a piano,” she wrote.

Elijah Stanton-Gullak is 14 years old and home-schooled. He plays violin and has been with the academy for eight years. He is a Measure 5 member, too. What has he learned at the academy?

"What a diatonic scale is,” Stanton-Gullak said in an e-mail. But what’s more, he said is that he’s learned "a lot of good tricks to make my playing sound good. There’s nothing like a marble on your violin to make you keep it up flat.”

He said his parents took him to the symphony in Omaha, Neb., when he was young. He started playing violin when he was 4 years old.

"Now I’m inspired by any kind of good music,” said Stanton-Gullak, whose long-term musical aspirations are simple: "I expect to play my whole life just for the fun of it.”

By the way, both students say they practice daily for at least an hour.

Their advice to younger academy students? "Stick with it; it will really pay off,” Stanton-Gullak said. "Practicing can actually be fun, and your hard work will pay off,” Ross said.

About the academy
Students —
The Music Academy of Rockford College serves 1,600 students with 29 faculty members. Core programs serve 400 students with instrumental and voice private instruction and classes. It also partners with Rockford’s Headstart and Rosecrance Health Network to work with another 1,200 students.

Ages — Students can begin instruction at age 3 or 4, and many study until they go to college. Increasingly, the academy is teaching adults, and some have been with the academy for a dozen years.

Cost — Prices begin at $85 for a 10-week early childhood music education class. Scholarships are available.

Performance venues — Rockford College, Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, Coronado Performing Arts Center, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, retirement centers, schools, churches, festivals. Groups also perform across the nation and internationally.

The rest of the season — The Music Academy of Rockford College’s 2010-11 25th anniversary season is called "Bravissima!” and features students and musicians outside the academy:

A Return to Wesley Willows, with performances by academy Suzuki students as part of the Wesley Willows Concert Series at Wesley Willows at 7 p.m. Nov. 9. 815-654-2530.

Bowfire, with students as the main-stage opening act for the fiddle and dance ensemble at Coronado Performing Arts Center at 6 p.m. March 13. 815-968-0595.

Daria Robotkina, with academy students performing before the 3 p.m. April 10 Rockford Coronado Concert Association’s presentation at the Coronado of the Russian piano virtuoso. 815-226-4168.

Travel to the Grand Canyon and the Hopi Indian Nation June 11-17, 2011. Academy students, family and friends will travel to the Grand Canyon to participate in a cultural exchange with the Hopi Indians. 815-226-4168.

For more information: Contact Martha Frantz, director, Music Academy of Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61108; 815-226-4168; musicacademy

This story appeared at on September 22, 2010.

Community Search
Calendar of Events

Student Music Recital

EDP: Seminar #6 - Conflict Management and Resolution

NICNE Customer Service Workshop

FORUM: Sports Management Symposium

Latest News