Rockford Symphony Orchestra Has Selected Their New Music Director!

Rockford Buzz

Posted On: January 19, 2023

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Meet the new music director for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra! Over 200 conductors applied and only 1 was chosen. The new director will build upon the legacy left by Steve Larsen, who led the symphony for over 3 decades. Rockford is so excited to have such a wonderful and talented person come to our city to lead one of our cultural treasures.

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Celebration of Chocolate Month Poll

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Celebration of Chocolate Month is specially dedicated to celebrating the tasty goodness that is chocolate. So tell us, where do you get your local chocolate?

February 7, 2023

Take a trip to Discovery Town

Take a trip to Discovery Town

It’s time for a road trip, and it’s an easy drive to this pint-sized city! Take the family to Discovery Town…a temporary exhibit at Discovery Center Museum where children play as they learn about the people and places that make up a community. The exhibition opens February 11 and runs through May 29. Discovery Center created this temporary exhibit several years ago and is bringing it back due to popular demand.Discovery Town is a friendly little town with a focus on fun! Each stop on the trip through this mini city provides opportunities for children to try out adult roles through role play. This cityscape created just for kids offers a collection of storefronts where our youngest citizens are the shopkeepers and customers. Children have the freedom to safely explore, discover, and learn through creative and imaginative play in a pint-sized community. While in Discovery Town, children can explore a variety of settings:Vet Clinic: Give your furry friend a checkup. Then make your pet pretty at the grooming table!Theater: Dress in costume and give a performance worthy of a Tony award.Post Office: Sort the mail, fill your bag, and deliver letters all over town!Airport: Sort and load packages, fire up the engine, and pilot your way to…anywhere!Pizza Shop: Take an order, then prepare, bake and serve up some pizza!Fire Station: Answer emergency calls, suit up in firefighter gear, drive the fire truck and then battle a blaze!Classroom: Be the teacher or the student and enjoy school-themed activities.Town Park: Enjoy outdoor games in this big green space, and take a spin on the sock skating rink.Town Zoo: Check out the giant giraffe, lion, zebra and monkey. “Children explore and learn about the world around them through role play,” explains Sarah Wolf, executive director at Discovery Center. While not all children decide so early, it’s fundamental to children’s development for them to understand their potential and their options, and to see themselves in different roles. Discovery Town is sponsored in part by Associated Bank, Smith Charitable Foundation and JL Clark. Admission to Discovery Center and the Discovery Town exhibit is $11 for the public and free to museum members.

February 5, 2023

Thai Hut Reopened for Dine In

Thai Hut Reopened for Dine In

In case you missed it, Thai Hut is now reopened for dine-in! This Rockford staple has been on our list to try for a while, and we were thrilled to join them in person.One does not simply go to Thai Hut and not order an appetizer… or two. We started with the Pot Stickers and Crab Rangoons. The Potstickers were absolutely delicious and came with a special sauce with a thick consistency. The sauce added that bold flavor profile and being thick didn’t leave a drip trail across your plate. The Crab Rangoons are savory and served with a delicious sweet and sour sauce. These will definitely be on the regular rotation for us!On to the entrees! We ordered Thai Hut’s Special Combo, an incredible stir-fried combination of chicken, shrimp, and imitation crab with mixed vegetables and cashew nuts. Served with a side of rice, this delicious stir fry is cooked in their house sauce and deserving of the name Thai Hut Special. This mouth-watering entree is going to keep you coming back for more. The mix of proteins kept the flavors fresh and exciting. The sauce truly makes this dish!  Drunken Noodle was next, your choice of meat stir-fried with rice noodles, tomatoes, onions, eggs, peppers, bean sprouts, and basil. We decided to add pork to this dish and I’m glad we did! The thick rice noodle was unique and fun, and the colors in this dish were bright and fresh. The veggies were stir-fried to maintain their crisp texture, and the heat really popped on this one. No worries, you choose your level of spice. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure meal!The service was phenomenal, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was great! Be sure to stop in for lunch or dinner soon!  

February 1, 2023

Rockford Symphony Orchestra Presents The Music of John Williams on Feb. 11

Rockford Symphony Orchestra Presents The Music of John Williams on Feb. 11

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra will be taking the stage on February 11 at 7:30 pm at the Coronado Performing Arts Center to present the Music of John Williams. Jaws, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Raiders of the Lost Ark…Williams has composed many of the classic movie scores of our time. As a special component of the program, a group of area high school students will be singing with the orchestra during the Saving Private Ryan piece.The concert will be conducted by Kevin Stites, who is thrilled to be returning to his “hometown” orchestra, having conducted a solo concert with Kristin Chenoweth and the RSO in 20??. He most recently made his Chicago Symphony and Ravinia Festival debuts and spent six seasons as Music Director for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. His work on Broadway includes: South Pacific, Tale of Two Cities, The Color Purple, Titanic, Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables (2006 revival), and Fiddler on the Roof, among others. He also has spent time touring with productions and worked in film and TV.Kevin is a proud graduate of Pecatonica High School, Pecatonica IL, and earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.Tickets are available online at rockfordsymphony.com, by phone at 815-965-0049, or by visiting the RSO offices which are open M-F 9-5.

January 29, 2023

Bring Your Buddy to Buddy's Burgers

Bring Your Buddy to Buddy's Burgers

Want to build your burger, but don’t want to make it yourself? Buddy’s Burgers was made for you. Personalize your burger from bun to condiments.Just off Riverside Blvd. in Rockford, IL, Buddy’s Burgers is known for its custom burgers, but also offers Italian beef, Chicago-style hot dogs, and catering for a bigger crowd.  When you walk in, head to the counter to order. They offer weekly special burgers, or you can build your own. Love a mushroom swiss burger? Build it! Love a classic pairing? Build it! Want to get wild and see what you can create? Build it!  Select how many smash patties you want. The edges are crisp and the center is juicy. They offer gluten-free, pretzel, brioche, or Texas toast buns. From there, the world is your oyster. Make it a basket by adding a regular or premium side (mozzarella sticks anyone?) and a drink.Leave room for dessert! They have ice cream sundaes, milkshakes, and more!  

January 18, 2023

Beef Wellington at Franchesco's

Beef Wellington at Franchesco's

Run, don’t walk! Franchesco’s is featuring a new special just for the month of January. On Friday and Saturday nights, you can order Beef Wellington. We had to go try it for ourselves! It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it 😂.First of all, have you tried Franchesco’s garlic bread? They bring it to the table for you to enjoy with olive oil before your meal. It’s warm, soft, and utterly delicious. Say yes to the bread.It was a cold night in January, so we opted to warm up with some Lobster Bisque soup. This creamy concoction really warms the soul and tastes amazing. Dip some of the garlic bread in it if you like!Then on to the main event, the Beef Wellington. A filet mignon with a mushroom and Boursin cheese layer, all wrapped in a puff pastry. It’s paired with asparagus and carrots, layered on top of a cauliflower puree. The cauliflower puree is smooth and layered with bacon flavors. It pairs beautifully with the meat. The filet is cooked perfectly to medium. Blend all these flavors together and you definitely have a meal you’ll tell your friends about.  We made it a family outing and have it on good authority that the kids ravioli is “super good and very filling”. So don’t feel like you have to leave the kids at home for this one. Unless you want to, 😉.We ended the evening with their Creme Brûlée. A thick delicious vanilla custard with a caramelized sugar topping. Served with whipped cream and fresh berries, this was a sweet ending to a lovely meal.But hurry! The Beef Wellington is only available on Fridays and Saturdays in January, and then it’s gone. Try this exquisite meal for yourself!

January 18, 2023

WSSR ANNOUNCES OFFICIAL SELECTIONS OF THE ROCKFORD NEW WORDS WRITING FESTIVAL

WSSR ANNOUNCES OFFICIAL SELECTIONS OF THE ROCKFORD NEW WORDS WRITING FESTIVAL

The West Side Show Room announces the official selections for Rockford New Words 2023. New works written for performance were chosen from 243 submissions representing writers from Rockford and around the world. Ten plays, poems, monologues, and stories will be presented in a staged reading at 7pm on January 19, 20, and 21, 2023 at The West Side Show Room in Rockford. The January 4th performance will also be broadcast on Facebook.  The theme of this year’s festival is “Healing + Homage.” RNW Artistic Director Claudia Consuelos felt her upbringing had impacted her in multiple ways, whether positive or negative. “As we navigate life, we carry with us great generational traditions, but we must also break free from their curses,” Consuelos said. “This year we wanted to ask writers to consider the ways in which they honor and heal from those who came before.” This theme inspired first-time Rockford playwright Whitney Howell, who uses the name Nena Monroe in her artistic endeavors, to write the play “The Perfect Sweet Potato Pie” as a way of processing the grief she experienced from the death of her sister. “My sister was a nurse who worked on the frontlines of the pandemic and passed away from Covid,” Howell said. “Even though she’s gone physically, it’s like I’ve created a whole new memory with her that I will forever cherish.” Likewise, the poem “Spider In The Labyrinth” by Rockford writer JP Rindfleisch IX, deals with loss. Rindfliesch, whose work embodies “things dark, strange, and queer,” says “Loss is painful, and many times we lose those we love before we have time to say goodbye. We find ways to honor them and heal from the regrets of conversations we didn’t get to have.” Linda Zuba, whose work was first chosen for Rockford New Words in 2019, is back with a monologue entitled “Letter to Mamá.” After a serious case of COVID 2 years ago, Linda’s life drastically changed as she knew it and as she loved it. “My healing journey has involved repairing the physical damage as well as psychological wounds from suppressed emotions and vicarious trauma.”  In its eighth year, Rockford New Words continues to provide opportunities for aspiring and established writers from the Rockford area to have their works selected, evaluated, and presented professionally to the public alongside national and international writers. Each writer receives a $200 royalty for the rights to present their new work.  Rockford New Words received an Arts & Humanities Fund grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and a Community Arts Access Grant from the Rockford Area Arts Council to support this one of a kind literary event. For more information and to reserve tickets, please visit wssr.org OFFICIAL SELECTIONS The Perfect Sweet Potato Pie | PlayNena Monroe (Rockford, IL) Photobombed | MonologueAnne Valentino (Rockville, MD) The Gettysburg Redress | PoemEileen Byrne (Wilmette, IL) Kill The Beast | PlayD.A. Mindell (New York, NY) New Year’s Purun | PlayJustin P. Lopez (San Francisco, CA) Father’s Day Of Silence: A Healing Hymn In Words | Poem/MonologueCris Eli Blak (Louisville, KY) srinivas | MonologueRajendra Ramoon Maharaj (Brooklyn, NY) Letter to Mamá | MonologueLinda Zuba (Rockford, IL) Second Act | StorytellingSavanna Mapelli (Yardley, PA) Spider in the Labyrinth | PoetryJP Rindfleisch IX (Rockford, IL)

January 15, 2023

Rockford’s Best Ruben at Vintage 501

Rockford’s Best Ruben at Vintage 501

Vintage at 501 made a bold statement on its Facebook page a few weeks ago. They claim to have the city’s best Reuben. So naturally, we had to go try it.We’ll get to the Reuben, but one does not simply go to Vintage without ordering the Million Dollar Bacon (thick-cut bacon, cracked black peppercorn, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, brown sugar, slow-roasted to absolute perfection)! This sweet and spicy take on bacon is sure to be a table-pleaser.  Next up, The 50/50 Burger: 50% Black Angus Beef and 50% Bacon mixed together and hand pattied, topped with cheddar cheese, sriracha, and a sunny side up egg, on a pretzel bun. We already know that pretzel buns are superior, but a pretzel bun with a burger that is 50% bacon…? Perfection. This well-prepared burger packs a delicious flavor that is accentuated by the sunny-side-up egg. Want lettuce, tomato, and onion? Just ask! Served with fries to make this a filling meal.The time has come to discuss the Reuben. Is it the best in Rockford? We have to agree! Slow-cooked and thick-cut corn beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and 1000 Island dressing come together in a beautiful creation that brings people in daily. Marbled rye bread, toasted to perfection, brings the flavors together. The thick-cut corn beef really sets this Reuben apart. We’ll be back for this one!Stop in to try the Reuben or any other menu item at Vintage 501. See you next time, Rockford!

January 11, 2023

Murder Mystery Fundraising Dinner to Support RSO

Murder Mystery Fundraising Dinner to Support RSO

The Rockford Symphony Orchestra (RSO) invites the community to an evening of glamour, fun, and intrigue at an Old Hollywood Murder Mystery Dinner to benefit the RSO’s music education initiatives on January 20 in the Embassy Suites ballroom. Cocktails, appetizers, live music, and a special guest will kick off the night from 6-7 p.m. The dinner theater begins at 7 p.m. Guests are invited to a star-studded Hollywood dinner on the estate of Sir Warren Peace, where the killer crowd assembled will be kept guessing as to who the next victim will be and who the unhinged guest is that keeps whacking the invitees. Guests are encouraged to dress the part as their favorite Hollywood star or in their most glamorous finery.  In attendance will be the new Music Director of the RSO! The new Maestro will be announced on January 18 and the Murder Mystery Dinner will be his/her first official engagement in the role.  Tickets are available online at rockfordsymphony.com, by phone at 815-965-0049, or by visiting the RSO offices which are open M-F 9-5. 

January 8, 2023

All About Rockford Trivia Night!

All About Rockford Trivia Night!

Classic Grilled Plates at Hacienda San Jose

Classic Grilled Plates at Hacienda San Jose

If you’ve never been to Hacienda San Jose, it’s time to make the trip down East State Street! When you walk in you are greeted by the fun atmosphere and pleasant team.We all know it’s about the chips and salsa, and if you are a fan of traditional salsas, this is the place for you. You get three salsas of various spice levels and flavors. It was hard to choose a favorite, so be sure to tell us which is yours!Sometimes you just need classic fajitas, so that’s what we started with. The mixed fajitas lets you choose which protein combo you’d like. Treat yourself and get up to three. We went with the classic steak, chicken, and shrimp. These are served sizzling with a variety of cooked peppers, onions, tomatoes, and all the classic fajita sides including rice, beans, fresh vegetables, and cheese. Choose your preferred tortilla and start building your meal! These are big enough to share, or make a perfect leftover meal for the next day.Not feeling fajitas? Try their classic dinners. Steak, chicken, and shrimp grilled to perfection and served with classic vegetables, rice, beans, fresh vegetables, avocado, and tortillas. The whole grilled vegetables are a delicious addition to this dish. You can enjoy this meal many different ways, and each one of them is delicious.Add a margarita and you have a great local meal. Share your favorite dishes with us to try on our next visit!

January 4, 2023

Favorite Local Gym

Favorite Local Gym

As a new year and new month start, many people begin working on their resolutions. Tell us your favorite local gym! What makes them stand out? We want to know!

January 3, 2023

Brunch at Fresco

Brunch at Fresco

Anderson Japanese Gardens is known for its amazing grounds that transport you to a beautiful Japanese Garden. Tucked inside the Visitor Center is Fresco at the Gardens, a fresh breakfast and lunch restaurant with stunning views and a warm ambiance.Fresco is known for its fresh flavors and spins on classic dishes. We ordered breakfast to start our day off. First up, the Fresco Breakfast. This is perfect for the person who wants it all! Sausage, bacon, potatoes, eggs, and a sweet side of your choice make this a meal fit for champions. The sausage is house blended into thick patties, and the bacon is cooked to that perfect texture. Add 2 eggs your way and a pile of roasted breakfast potatoes and there is no way you are leaving hungry. You get to choose from 1/2 a waffle, pancakes, or French toast to round out this savory feast. The French Toast is thick, fluffy, and why love songs are written.  Another popular dish is Fresco’s Egg Benedict. Artisan challah rolls topped with thick cut natural smoked pit ham, organic eggs, and topped with artisan hollandaise sauce. If you are a Benedict fan, you have to dig into Fresco’s version. Served with breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit, this is sure to start your day off right.Enjoy the Garden views, the warmth of the fireplace, and the excellent service at Fresco at the Gardens.

December 28, 2022

Sushi at Shogun

Sushi at Shogun

When was the last time you visited Shogun? We headed out for a celebration and sushi!Shogun is one of those places where you can never restrain yourself to only order one thing, so wear your stretchy pants and go all in.  We started with gyoza, a steamed dumpling filled with meat and veggies. The texture of the gyoza was perfect, and paired with the dipping sauce this dish is the perfect start to any Shogun meal.  You can’t go wrong with sushi at Shogun. They have simple flavors, such as the salmon roll, yellowtail roll, etc., to very detailed rolls such as the Rockford Roll and more. Keep in mind that you can request hand rolled for many of the choices! Shogun is known for their fresh sushi and did not disappoint.Even though we sat on the cafe side, we gave a grill recipe a try. The Beef Teriyaki was an impressive assortment of veggies, steak, and rice. Cooked to your preference, the steak is delicious, and treated to a splash of teriyaki sauce to enhance it’s flavor. The fresh vegetables come in a huge portion to help keep you full.Shogun is a great choice for any celebration, or just Wednesday. So go ahead, make today a celebration.

December 21, 2022

Breakfast at Magpie

Breakfast at Magpie

Magpie is an adorable restaurant in the heart of downtown Rockford. Serving breakfast and lunch, there is plenty to explore!We started with breakfast and will definitely be back to try lunch soon.  First up, the Reuben 3 Egg Omelet. If you are a fan of corned beef and sauerkraut… run, don’t walk, to enjoy this delectable and unique omelet. The Swiss cheese and French drizzle on top really melted all of the flavors together. The corned beef is house-made, and you’ll never return to anything else. Served with potatoes and toast with house-made jam, you are set to tackle the day.Next, a classic breakfast with a little bit of everything. A bed of potatoes, topped with a single biscuit, gravy, bacon, and eggs. Can’t decide what you want? This is it. Get a taste of all of your savory favorites in one bite. With house-made gravy, you can’t go wrong with this delicious dish.But wait! What if you have a sweet tooth? You order Magpie’s amazing French toast. Thick baguette slices made into delicious French toast are topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon butter. Order their stuffed French toast for an extra dose of sweet infusion.  Whatever you decide to order at Magpie’s, add a cup of their delicious coffee and it will be the perfect kickstart to your day. Enjoy!

December 14, 2022

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