Remember how we used to complain, especially when we were young, that theres nothing to do in Rockford? As an adult, I laugh now. There seems too much to do in Rockford. And if youre looking for cultural and intellectual stimulation, this coming week rivals Madison or Chicago. Let me give you some examples.
This Thursday evening, Sept. 11, will be the second annual commemoration of that horrible tragedy on 9-11, hosted by the Mayors Office, Rockford Interfaith Council, Rockford Urban Ministries (for which I work), the American Red Cross, and Rock Valley College. The program starts at 6 p.m. in the RVC Starlight Theatre. Music followed by a short but moving commemoration as well as a speaker from the Islamic faith will close out this program.
Then on Saturday, Sept. 13, you have two musical programs to choose from: first, the annual Arts for Life dance recital at Rockford Colleges Maddox Theatre. Wonderful local performers Without Shoes Modern Dance Company, Maria Castello, and the Rockford Dance Company will join the Dance Loop of Chicago, Northern Illinois Dance Theater and the Ballet Metropolitan as well as others in an enchanting evening. The money goes to all local AIDS prevention groups.
If youd rather hear music in the American folk tradition, local songwriter Joe Jencks joins his sister Jeri for an evening of music at Memorial Hall. Too bad you cant be in two places at once because both of the programs start at 8 Saturday evening.
On Monday, Sept. 15, Rockford Peace & Justice hosts a Colombian dinner (free-will offering, but call 964-7111 for reservations) with guest speakers from war-ravaged Cartogena, Colombia. A priest and a refugee worker will share their view of the drug war sponsored by our tax dollars. This program will give you results from the ground floor. Warning: Its not a pretty story. On Tuesday, the Colombians will visit our congressmans office to find out why U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-16) changed his vote on military money.
I dont know about you, but that makes for a pretty busy week. I have to admit that Im involved in these programs either through promotion, sponsorship, or friendship. I hope you and your friends can keep Rockford busy and interesting by supporting the wide variety of its cultural events.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.