Band Grandpas in Rockford is a program that formed out of one man's love for music right here in community.
Arnold Rosen is a retired doctor who wanted to do something with his love of music and his newly discovered free time. So he began volunteering with RPS 205 schools at the beginning of the school year, and after many heard about his work, the group grew from just one person, to 15 so far this year.
"I thought a lot about how I wanted to spend my retirement time, and I coined this phrase band grandpa," Rosen said.
Rosen now works with Rockford Public Schools and volunteers his time in the band department helping students learn how to play instruments, and he even shares his infectious love for music.
"I wanted kids to see that there was a grown up who thought music was a good way to spend time, for fun," Rosen said. He continued "Part of what I love about this regarding the kids, is long after they stop playing basketball, baseball, football, whatever athletic activity, they can have music, really for all their lives,"
This program is something that not only benefits the students, but also helps the teachers. Lincoln Middle School Band Director Steve Mikulay says having these band grandpas is making a huge impact on the students and the way they are able to learn.
"I think that we have improved because of him being here," Mikulay said. "The students can see that music is important and that music matters and it's so important that this member of the community has decided to come back once a week,"
Rosen says he hopes that his love for music is something that these young musicians will pick up on and develop the same type of love on their own as well. It's a program that is making an impact on musicians in the Rockford community, both young and old.
The Band Grandpas say they are still looking for more volunteers to get involved, and you don't have to be a grandpa to be able to help out. If you are interested in getting involved with this program and helping out with the RPS band students, email Bonnie Spurling at Bonnie.Spurling@rps205.com for more information on the program.