Scholarship Page

RAMI Scholarships

Michael Day

2010 Gary S. Wilmer / RAMI Music Scholarship

Michael is currently working with the Merola Opera Program (associated with San Francisco Opera), where he is creating the role of Fabian in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s IF I WERE YOU. 

Michael has spent the past two years as a studio artist with Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit. There he sang roles such as the title role in CANDIDE, Al Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH, Don Basilio in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, and Spoletta in TOSCA. He has also sung with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Leo Hubbard in REGINA and Al Joad in THE GRAPES OF WRATH. 

This fall Michael will return to Rockford where he is opening a private voice studio. In spring of 2020 Michael will sing Rinuccio in GIANNI SCHICCHI and Guido Bardi in Zemlinsky’s A FLORENTINE TRAGEDY with Livermore Valley Opera, as well as Little Bat in SUSANNAH with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

The Rockford Area Music Industry, Inc. has awarded over $70,000 to over 50 students to support their desire to study music.

The Gary S. WIlmer / RAMI Music Scholarship

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. Gary was the founder & publisher of RAM Magazine, a Rockford area music monthly, and a founding organizer of the RAMI awards. Joe Guzzardo, owner of Guzzardo Music, said of Gary, "He was thoughtful and sensitive, and thoroughly understood the problems and needs of local music and musicians." Gary could do it all, be it organizing benefits, booking bands, running sound or lights, helping new music club owners or encouraging new talent to persevere. As the president of his senior class at East High School, as a graduate of Rockford College and as a successful businessman, Gary's 43 years of living showed that education is a marvelous "conductor" of a successful musical life.

It is the sincere hope of the RAMI scholarship committee that the recipients of this scholarship will carry on Gary's legacy with pride.

Scholarship Selection Criteria

- Be a college-bound student in Boone, Ogle or Winnebago County;
- Be 19 years old or younger as of the application deadline;
- Be attending or planning to attend an accredited two- or four-year college/university;
- Have a minimum GPA of 2.5/4.0;
- Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to further their musical education throughout college; and
- Be actively involved in school or community musical groups.
- Previous Wilmer scholarship recipients are not eligible to reapply.

Deadline January 1st. For more information and online application forms, visit

RAMI Young Artists Music Scholarship

RAMI funds several programs through The Music Academy in Rockford. Each student is nominated by the staff of the Music Academy and must demonstrate financial need. Scholarship covers one year of study.

PO Box 4128, Rockford, IL 61110
ramicommittee @

Rockford Area Music Industry, Inc. is classified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by the standards of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Therefore, any donations to the Rockford Area Music Industry, Inc. may be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.