Light opera comes to Mendelssohn

By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Operetta Party presents Trial By Jury at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church Street, Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door.

Rockford Operetta Party Founder and Director, Scott Farrell, is also music director at Cherry Valley United Methodist. He has been producing and singing in light opera since the age of 18.

“The goal of the Rockford Operetta Party is to provide residents of the Rockford area with recurring opportunities to attend or participate in English light operas of genuine artistic merit, and provide a unique entertainment experience that is unlike anything else in Rockford,” said Farrell.

Musical direction is done by Gregory Gyllsdorff. Gyllsdorff is a member of the American Guild of Organists. He received his BFA and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and furthered his studies at the Conservatoire de Musique in Fontainbleau, France.

The cast includes: Vincent Dore, Scott Farrell, Sara Lemen, Elizabeth Magargal, Shane Magargal, Lowell Nafzinger, Elizabeth LaGrande O’Leary, Kara Pivarski, Kurt Schoening, Leigh Sterrenberg, Jessica Tifft, Ronald Weber, and Emily Wick.

The Rockford Area Arts Council is proud to have supported this program with an action grant and the rest of the costs are covered by donors.

In 1875, Gilbert and Sullivan were inspired by opera impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte to write a one-act, light opera titled Trial By Jury. Its success lead to the creation of 12 more operas together, including HMS Pinafore and The Mikado.

Trial By Jury will feature costuming, scenery and stage action, which the ROP is very excited to undertake.

The program concludes with selections from The Mikado, including the delightful trio Three Little Maids from School, the humorous I’ve Got a Little List, and the Mikado’s motto that “the punishment fits the crime”.

In October the ROP will present a ten-year anniversary program, featuring highlights from their past seasons.

For additional information about the Rockford Operetta Party, or for performance information visit their website at or email and follow them on Facebook at Rockford Operetta Party.

For something completely different, check out Independent Ear’s fifth Anniversary, at Mendelssohn but at the 406 N. Main address, Saturday, May 14, 12-8 p.m. It will be a day of eclectic music ranging from electro-pop to indie-rock to hip-hop with a dash of punk & jam. Philip Ryan Block is the founder and is excited about celebrating with awesome artists and music fans. Artists are local, national and international and include: Jerry Dale Harris; James Rawson, from Rockford; Bobby “Dazzle” Danger, Australia; Ozonna, New York; Nick Peay Music, Screw City Saints, Traveling Broke and Out of Gas; Cliz, Florida and more.

Independent Ear is so thankful for those making this possible; Mendelssohn, Working Brilliantly, The Music Box, The “New” 815 Local Jive, RAAC Rockford Area Arts Council, LIAL Productions,

When asked why Block started this business he said, “It’s diverse because my tastes are diverse. It’s all about quality artists, no matter what genre.”

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