The Scene

Meteorologist Tom Skilling among 2024 inductees into Fox Valley Hall of Fame

Tom Skilling, Isabella Lippi, Jerry Rose, Bobby Rosengarden latest honorees

WGN-TV meteorologist Thomas Skilling  a 2024 inductee into Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame.

An acclaimed violinist, a celebrity WGN-TV meteorologist with multiple Emmys, another Emmy winner who created Christian television station WCFC-TV/Channel 38 and the wise-cracking bandleader on “The Dick Cavett Show” are the latest inductees into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame, unveiled at a media event at the Batavia Public Library.

“I am amazed year after year [at] the wonderful inductees,” said FVAHV President Susan S. Starrett of North Aurora, extending an invitation to the public to attend a spring banquet to celebrate them. This brings the total inductees to 73 over the 23-year history of the organization, she said.

Her daughter, also Susan Starrett of North Aurora, is selection chairman and announced the honorees: Elgin Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster Isabella Lippi; television producer and broadcaster Jerry Rose; WGN-TV weather forecaster Thomas “Tom” Skilling III; and late bandleader Robert “Bobby” Rosengarden.

She said Lippi “gained a stellar reputation for her technical polish [and] expressive lyricism,” adding she has performed with major orchestras internationally.

Elgin Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Isabella Lippi a 2024  inductee into Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame.

“This is so incredibly heartening; I’m extremely honored,” said Lippi at the Hall of Fame media event.

Lippi began performing in public at age 10, when she made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She won the St. Louis Symphony Young Artist Competition, so impressing Maestro Leonard Slatkin that in a first he invited her to perform in the symphony subscription concerts. She was nominated for the FVAHF by Patricia Harkin.

James Gibson of Sugar Grove, an Emmy winner, member of the 2014 class of inductees and FVAHF board member, was on hand to talk about his connection to two of the new inductees. He and Skilling were in the same sophomore science lab at West Aurora High School in 1970, and have remained friends. Another close classmate in that science lab was Eric Halfvarson, a former inductee who is a famed opera bass.

Skilling, who retired from WGN-TV in February, also is known for his popular weather seminars held for 38 years at Fermilab in Batavia. He began at WGN in 1978.

Skilling is thrilled at the honor and looks forward to attending the celebration, said Gibson, who praised the role played by the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame in lifting up the arts and preserving the ongoing record of accomplishment.

Christian media broadcaster and executive Jerry Rose a 2024  inductee into Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame.

Gibson got an early career break from new inductee Rose, the producer and broadcaster who built the Channel 38 television station’s state-of-the-art studio in Aurora. The studio is now in Naperville. After winning more than 30 Emmy Awards in 61 years of broadcasting, he retired in November, and is now board chairman emeritus of global Total Living Network Media.

Born in 1924 in Elgin, Rosengarden, a drummer, recorded with everyone from Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones and Miles Davis to Barbra Streisand, Jimi Hendrix, Igor Stravinsky and Tony Bennett. He created clever “walk-on” themes for television guests, such as “Hello, Dolly!” for artist Salvador Dali. When asked how he could play with such a variety of musicians and in such different styles, he said, “I just stayed out of the way, baby. Stayed out of the way.”

Attending the banquet and volunteering their assistance at the gala will be two Batavia High School orchestra members, Danny Platt and Reno Varalli, who study violin with Susan S. Starrett. Her daughter said of the students’ upcoming exposure to the professional arts world, “It’s a way to come and see how exciting it can be if you pursue this as a career.”

The banquet and awards ceremony will be held Friday, April 19, at Villa Olivia, 1401 W. Lake St., Bartlett. For information, email or visit

One objective of the FVAHF is to ensure a strong cultural legacy for future generations. Inductees are honored with engraved plaques that are displayed at The Hemmens Cultural Center in Elgin. The Hall of Fame board also includes Joyce Dlugopolski of Geneva, formerly Batavia; Diane Handler of St. Charles; Jennifer Hood of Geneva; Carolyn Hansen of Sugar Grove; Joanna Wester of Pingree Grove; Murna Hansemann of Elgin; and Donald Haefliger of Elgin.

Renee Tomell

Renee Tomell

Covering the arts and entertainment scene in northern Illinois, with a focus on the Fox River Valley.