There’s so much to do in our neck of the Old Northwest Territory! Here are some fun events coming up this season.
Rockford Concert Band
July 24, 31, 7:30-9:15 p.m. Hear this 70-piece band with a 60-year history play everything from Gershwin to Mozart, Big Band and mambos to pop, with guest soloists and vocalists. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Sinnissippi Park, 1404 N. 2nd St., Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
Into the Woods
July 25-29, 8 p.m. James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s fractured musical fairy tale. Starlight Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
The New Invaders
July 26, 7:30 p.m. This group takes a musical journey through the 1960s, from the British invasion to Woodstock. Free. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Sinnissippi Park, 1404 N. 2nd St., Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson
July 26, 7:30 p.m. A landmark evening of timeless storytelling songs. Haggard serves up “Working Man Blues,” “If We Make it Through December,” “Today I Started Loving You Again” and, of course, “Okie from Muskogie.” Kristofferson delivers “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “For the Good Times” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Backed by Haggard’s band The Strangers, the two never leave the stage, swapping tales and often singing harmonies on each other’s classics. Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-0595, coronadopac.org.
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues
July 28, 7:30 p.m. Presented by Charlotte’s Web (The Web). Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Rockford, rockfordparks.org. 815 964-2238
MBTL: Tom Chapin & Friends
July 29, 4 p.m. For the second year in a row, this popular artist’s live performance will engage the hearts, minds and imaginations of children and adults alike. Ferro Pavilion, GWC, Williams Bay, musicbythelake.com.
9 to 5: The Musical
Aug. 1-5, 8 p.m. Dolly Parton wrote the music and lyrics for this stage adaptation of her hit 1980 hit movie. Starlight Theatre, RVC, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
Mark Twain and The Laughing River
Aug. 1-4, 8-11, 15-16, 18, 22-25, 29-31, Sept. 1-2, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29, 7 p.m. Jim Post’s one-man musical historical play about Mark Twain’s life from youth to early writing career to the point of his first big successes. $25. One Eleven Main, 111 N. Main St., Galena, (815) 777-8030, galena.org.
Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m. Hear reggae music from this Grammy Award-winning group. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m. Groundbreakiing R&B group from the ’80s, with members like Bobby Brown and Michael Bivins (Bell Biv DeVoe) led the way for all boy bands that followed. Hear hits like “Candy Girl,” “Popcorn Love,” “Mr. Telephone Man.” BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, metrocentre.com.
Summer Art Show
Aug 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30-31, Sept. 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-29, 10 a.m. An exhibit of landscapes of the mid-West in oil by a Dubuque, Iowa, native presently living in Sout Dakota. Stone House Pottery & Gallery, 418 Spring St., Galena, (815) 777-0354, galena.org.
Aug. 2-12, check website for times. Winner of 12 Tony awards including Best Musical in ’67 and Best Revival in ’98, and eight Oscars for the ’78 motion picture. Step into the Kit Kat Club and enter the decadent world of 1929 Berlin where we meet Sally Bowles, Cliff Bradshaw and a host of colorful characters. Timber Lake Playhouse, Timber Lake Road, Mt. Carroll, Ill. (815) 244-2035, timberlakeplayhouse.org.
Brats, Beer and Blues Fest
Aug. 3-5, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Good beer, fresh brats and great blues music on the grounds of the Freeport Art Museum in this 9th annual event. Classic and specialty cars on exhibit in the parking lot. Proceed benefit the museum and it many programs. $23/members $20. $25 at gate. Freeport Art Museum, 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755)
Peter Frampton Grin & Bear It!
Aug. 4, 8 p.m. Hear one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history, co-founder at 18 of Humble Pie. His Frampton Comes Alive! is one of the top-selling live records of all time. Davis Park: 320 S. Wyman St., Rockford, rain or shine. Tickets: BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5600, metrocentre.com.
MBTL: Anderson & Roe
Aug. 5, 4 p.m. Two of the finest young pianists on the scene are taking the world by storm with their spectacular keyboard creations, blending classical with pop and rock and engaging the audience with funny and witty observations. Ferro Pavilion, GWC, Williams Bay, musicbythelake.com.
Tallman Arts Festival
Aug. 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This annual juried event draws artists from throughout the Midwest to display fine arts and studio crafts in a variety of media and styles. Ice cream social, live entertainment, silent auction. Proceeds benefit Rock County Historical Society. Lincoln Tallman House Grounds, 440 N. Jackson St., Janesville, (608) 756-4509, rchs.org.
Summer Festival Orchestra
Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m. This summer classical pops orchestra, a partnership between The Rockford Park District, Rock Valley College and The Music Academy in Rockford, performs a wide range of light classical music. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
Emily Hurd Band
Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m. This Rockford native is a prolific songwriter and pianist whose music is a mix of rock, soul, folk and bluegrass. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
Aug. 9-11, 7 p.m., Aug. 11-12, 2 p.m. Beloved romantic musical from Lerner & Loewe, about two cynical New Yorkers who stumble into the enchanted Scottish village that appears only once every 100 years. From Theatre Unlimited. Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC), 408 S. Main St., Janesville, Wis. (608) 758-0297, janesvillepac.org.
Art in the Garden
Aug. 11, 6-11 p.m. This RAM fundraiser gives guests the opportunity to enjoy open-air dining and moonlit dancing in a beautiful garden setting. La Paloma Gardens, Brookview Road, Rockford. Info/Tickets: (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
MBTL: Million Dollar Quartet Concert Version
Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m. A concert version of the hit musical about the legendary recording session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, featuring the stars of the Chicago production. Ferro Pavilion, GWC, Williams Bay, musicbythelake.com.
33rd Annual Art in the Park
Aug.11-12, 10 a.m. Juried show of original fine art from more than 80 artists from across the U.S. Photography, pottery, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, more. Silent auction; entertainment; food vendors; children’s activities. Flat Iron Park, Wrigley Drive, Lake Geneva, Wis., genevalakeart.org.
Aug. 12, gate opens 4 p.m., concert 6 p.m. With mop tops, retro costumes and vintage instruments, this tribute band performs all of the Beatles hits from the ’60s. Klehm Arboretum, Rockford, klehm.org.
U.S. Navy Band Wind Ensemble
Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m. The Navy Band Great Lakes Wind Ensemble is comprised of 40 professional musicians under the direction of Lt. Patrick Sweeten, USN. playing serious band works, patriotic music and vocal selections. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
Moonlight Jazz Orchestra
Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m. A local favorite, this 18-piece dance band features a variety of talented musicians and vocalists, performing everything from swing to rock-n-roll and contemporary hits. Free. Sinnissippi Band Shell, Rockford, rockfordparks.org.
“Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein”
Aug. 16-26, check website for times. A musical revue with more than 30 songs from shows like Carousel, The King and I, Oklahoma, South Pacific, The Sound of Music and more. Timber Lake Playhouse, Mt. Carroll, timberlakeplayhouse.org.
Aug. 18, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Art & music festival to benefit for Sinnissippi Center’s Youth Gardening Program. Nine bands with headliner Australian blues guitarist Gerry Joe Weise. Art festival to 6 p.m.; food vendors to 8 p.m. Picnic style: Bring your own cooler, chair or blanket. Minimum $3 donation. Distinctive Gardens, 2020 Lowell Park Road, Dixon, Ill., (815) 285-0014, distinctivegardensinc.com.
Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. This quartet plays classic bluegrass, gospel and original songs on bass, banjo, guitar and mandolin. MAC, 1315 11th St., Monroe, Wis. (608) 325-7700, monroeartscenter.com.
MBTL: Cheap Trick
Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m. From Rockford, Ill., with hits like “I Want You to Want Me,” “Surrender” and “Dream Police,” this group will be a rollicking close to the season. Ferro Pavilion, GWC, Williams Bay, musicbythelake.com.
Arts & Crafts on the Lawn
Aug. 19, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. More than 150 juried artisans, Milton Chamber Chicken BBQ, ice cream social, raffle, tours of the Milton House Museum, food booths & nonprofits. Milton House, 18 S. Janesville St., Milton, Wis., (608) 868-7772.
Aug. 23-Oct. 21, check website for days/times. “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” and take in the fun, as matchmaker Miss Dolly Levi plots to land eligible New York half-a-millionaire Horace Vandergelder, “Before the Parade Passes By.” Fireside, Fort Atkinson, (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
DeKalb Corn Fest
Aug. 24-26, 5:15 p.m. Fri., noon Sat-Sun. One of the last remaining free music fests, attracting 100,000 people over its three days. Performers include Hi-Fidelity, Neal McCoy. Food, specialty vendors, and lots of corn. Info: (815) 748-2676, cornfest.com. Event: Taylor Municipal Airport, 3232 Pleasant St., DeKalb, Ill.
On the Waterfront
Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 5 p.m. Th-F, 11:30 a.m. Sat-Sun. Thirty square blocks of downtown Rockford host seven stages offering hundreds of hours of music by some of America’s top rock, country and jazz musicians. There’s also plenty of tasty food, activities for kids and fireworks every night. Downtown Rockford, (815) 964-4388, onthewaterfront.com.
Art in the Park
Sept. 2, 10 a.m. This fine arts festival features works by local and regional artists, performing artists and hands-on activities for kids. Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Blvd., Freeport, (815) 235-6114, freeportparkdistrict.org.
Sesame Street Live: “Elmo Makes Music”
Sept. 7-9, Fri. 7 p.m.; Sat. 10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.; Sun. 1 & 4 p.m. Elmo, The Count, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Bert & Ernie and all their funny and furry friends are taking to the stage to share the magical world of music with children. When Jenny, the new Sesame Street music teacher, moves into town, her instruments get lost. Jenny’s new Sesame Street friends quickly come to her rescue, and they all discover “instruments” that they never knew existed…rubber duckies, trash can lids and even their own laps! The characters teach children, and themselves, that everyone has the ability to make beautiful music, whether they realize it or not. BMO Harris Bank Center, 300 Elm St., Rockford, (815) 968-5600, metrocentre.com.
Jeeves Takes a Bow
Sept. 7-23, check website for times. Bertie Wooster and Jeeves visit the Big Apple. In a New York minute, Bertie is tangled up with chorus girls, gangsters, and two fiancés! Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford College, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. Info: AE, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
Jon Nakamatsu, Pianist
Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. The 1997 Van Cliburn Gold Medal Winner plays Rameau: Gavotte et 6 doubles; Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9; Liszt: 3 Sonetti del Petrarca; Chopin: Andante spianato et grande polonaise brillante, Op. 22. Rockford Coronado Concert Association, Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-9863, rccaconcerts.net.
Next to Normal
Sept. 14-15, 21-22, 7:30 p.m. Tony Award-winning musical about a suburban mother with bipolar disorder and its effects on her family. From Bower City Theatre. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Sept. 14-30, Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. A tribute to the life and music of John Denver using 25 of his popular songs juxtaposed with interviews, fan letters, and passages from his autobiography. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
Greenwich Village Art Fair
Sept. 15-16, 10 a.m. One of the oldest continuous art fairs in the area, with juried artists, family-friendly children’s activities, live music and food. Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
Blues & Jazz Fest
Sept. 29, TBA. Local entertainers showcase their talents to enlighten the Rockford community of its rich musical history. Presented by the Ethnic Heritage Museum, (815) 962-7402. Event: Sullivan Center (formerly NAT), 118 N. Main St., Rockford.
John Oates: The Stories Behind the Songs
Sept. 29, 8 p.m., Sept. 30, 2 p.m. Half of the dynamo duo Hall & Oates shares stories behind some of the well-known hits along with an acoustic performance. $25 balcony; $40 main floor; $250 cocktail reception at 6 p.m. Fundraiser for JPAC in celebration of its 8th anniversary. Sunday all seats $13. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
24th Annual Valley Carvers Woodcarving Expo
Sept. 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Woodcarvings on display and for sale, with artists on hand. Free. Info: Bob Willis, (815) 634-3086; Jim Wall, (815) 339-2163. Great Hall, Starved Rock Lodge, Starved Rock State Park, Rts.178 & 71, Utica, Ill. (815) 220-7386, starvedrocklodge.com.