By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council
This is the 18th year the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) committee will hold a Spring Benefit. The event is on Saturday at the Tebala Event Center, 7910 Newburg Road, with doors opening at 5 p.m. The event will feature a silent auction, retro costume contest, and food & beverages. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at door. You can buy them online at ramiawards.com.
Dan Eisman is the founder and chair of the Spring Benefit and chair for the RAMI Executive Committee. The party is going to be rocking the ’60s and ’70s Dance Party theme and Battle of the Bands.
“We are excited, especially having Bun E. Carlos joining the event this year with his band The New Paegans in the battle of the bands with Missing Links. We also have as special guest Can’t Touch This, a very fun, energetic band. Funds raised support local music through scholarships, music education and local events,” Eisman said. “We currently support two college-bound students and three promising children at the Music Academy with the RAMI Young Artist Scholarships,” Eisman continued.
RAMI presented a RAMI Young Artist Music Scholarship to the Music Academy in Rockford to Sarah Pearl Anderson.
Sarah was born deaf in an orphanage in China. After coming to Rockford to live with her adoptive family, a local doctor donated his services to perform surgery on Sarah when she was a toddler that restored her hearing. Her doctor recommended Sarah to the Music Academy believing that learning the violin would help her refine her hearing and speech skills. RAMI is honored to help be a part of Sarah’s future music education and have awarded her the scholarship to help cover the cost of a year of tuition at the Music Academy.
In the spirit of the founder of RAMI, Gary Wilmer, RAMI continues to strive to support music scholarship and education programs in the Rockford and surrounding area. The Gary S. Wilmer Memorial Trust was established in 1996 to honor the memory and continue the legacy of Gary Wilmer by awarding scholarships to students who wish to pursue and education in music.
The other founders are Bruce Hammond and Frank Schier. Bruce Hammond is the chair for this year’s 25th Anniversary of the RAMI’s award show. You can vote online for the following categories: Artist of the Year, Favorite Venue, Favorite Radio Station and Special Event.
“I think it’s important that the people in our community come out and support local music. Every city that is successful has a rich music and arts scene. Music is the heartbeat of art! So, come on out and dance enjoy the music,” Eisman said.
The RAMI Awards will be presented Saturday, April 22 at Tebala.
Another upcoming event for the group is the Rockford Guitar Show and Music Expo on Sunday, May 22 also at Tebala. It’s just $5 at the door, and will go from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Those attending can buy, sell and trade. For more information on any of these events please visit ramiawards.com.