Music Academy alumni perform in Gala 30th Anniversary Celebration

Staff Report

Former Rockford residents Margaret Batjer and Ben Geller, along with Ben’s cousin Noah Geller,who all now perform in nationally recognized orchestras, will join other alumni of The Music Academy of Rockford in a concert that will highlight “Heartstrings – Connections between Music and Medicine” on Friday, November 6 at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, 1601 Parkview Ave.

The event, which will benefit The Music Academy on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, will begin at 6 p.m. .with preconcert music by Music Academy students. A concert with the guest artists, alumni and Measure 5 will follow. The evening concludes with jazz by alumnus Jon Rozman and The Screw City Swingers.

The evening includes cocktails as well as hors d’oeuvres and desserts by Chef Paul Sletton of abreo. Reservations are $100 per person or a table of 8 for $800 and may be made by calling the Music Academy at 816-986-0037.

Guest artist Margaret Batjer is the daughter of the late Eleanor Stanlis and is now concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Ben Geller is principal violist with the Charlotte Symphony and Noah Geller is concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony. Alumni from around the country, including Shelby Latin Harris, Hiran Fernando, Jocelyn Hare and Jon Rozman among others, and current students will perform the “Bach Double.”

The event demonstrates the connection between music and medicine. Anantha Mallia, MD, and a former violin student at The Music Academy notes, “I realize that the practice of medicine and the practice of music are rooted in the details. I think of my violin lessons every time I listen to a patient’s chest or scrub into surgery. These were lessons in life disguised as lessons in music.”

More information about “Heartstrings” is available at or 815-986-0037.

The Music Academy, a not-for-profit community school of music, has been providing high quality, affordable instruction and performing opportunities to students regardless of age and ability for the past 30 years. Its mission is to inspire in students a life-long love of music and the arts. The Music Academy is located at 226 S. 2nd St., next to First Lutheran Church in Rockford.

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