‘Holiday Happenings’ at the Ethnic Heritage Museum in November

Online Staff Report

Join Rockford’s Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St., to celebrate the holidays of November.

Saturday, Nov. 2, the Hispanic Gallery will host the “Day of the Dead” from 3 to 5 p.m., with a program ceremony at 4 p.m. in the Lockwood Gallery. The ceremony will entail the ceremonial prayer for our dead and a time for fellowships. The altar is on display in the Hispanic Gallery.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Sunday, Nov. 3, the Polish Gallery will host a tribute to its World War II exhibit starting at 1 p.m. with a presentation of the movie Westerplatte and a short artistic program prepared by the group “Krakowiaczek.” These young people from St. Stanislaus Church entertain with patriotic songs and dance at 1:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., Jim Phelps will host a question-and-answer session about World War II survivors and talk about the book Letters from Bermuda. Light refreshments will be served.

Also, see the artifacts on display, courtesy of the Polish Museum of Chicago and St. Stanislaus Church of Rockford. Many of the items on display include memorabilia provided by local families.

Italian-Americans from Rockford who served in World War II are being recognized in a special presentation in the Italian Gallery from 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 10. The program begins at 2:30 p.m. Hear the story about a young woman who enlisted in the U.S. Navy Waves against her mother’s wishes and listen to Jennie Michelon’s adventures.

The exhibit features Naval officer, Walter Valenti giving a demonstration of how the original Signal Flags were used at sea. Hear the story about battles in the South Pacific Theater of war, and the ship that Walter Valenti sailed. And listen to 2nd U.S. Airborne Glider Troop John Girardin’s heart-felt story of gliding through the darkness of Germany.

Visitors to this exhibit will have the opportunity to see Army Hell Cats Dress uniforms and Navy Dress uniforms: Blues and Whites. Read the Soldier’s Prayer used in the war and watch the dramatic DVD The American Home Front.

From noon to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16-17, the Ethnic Heritage Museum will kick off the Christmas season with its annual “Holiday Traditions’ Open House.  See how the six galleries celebrate the Christmas holiday in their country. Visit the holiday bazaar for unique ethnic treats and purchase exotic items for your holiday gift-giving.

From 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 17, to entertain you during your visit, there will be performances by Janel Nelson and Ron Holm. Their music is a stew of familiar and original classic country, jazz, blues, early rock ’n’ roll, and just about any other ingredient you can think of. Their vocals are seasoned with exquisite keyboard, ocarina, harmonica and guitar accompaniment.

In his solo career, Ron’s billings have included dates with such well-known artists as Roy Orbison, Greg Brown, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. He recorded for the seminal Mountain Railroad label, which helped to launch such luminaries as Nirvana producer Butch Vig, and was the musical home of veteran artists such as Josh White Jr.

In the years leading up to her concentration on Americana music, Janel Nelson enjoyed success as a classical pianist. She performed numerous concerts and was featured in the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center series. Janel is also an accomplished music educator, arranger and choir director, with a degree in piano performance and additional training in musical theater. Saturday musical entertainment is still being confirmed.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum is unique in its blend of ethnic groups: African-American, Italian, Lithuanian, Irish, Polish and Hispanic. A visit to each of the six galleries will enlighten visitors to the cultural history and traditions of each of these groups.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum is open every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission during this time period is $5 per individual or $3 per student, $10 per family or free to members. Special weekly tours may be prearranged by calling the museum at (815) 962-7402 or e-mailing ehm1129@comcast.net. Visit www.ethnicheritagemuseum.org. The museum is handicap accessible.

Posted Oct. 31, 2013

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