The Violinist of RockychesterAuthor Ray BruzanROCHESTER - Ray Bruzan and his wife Pam have lived for over 50 years in one of the Orange Judd historic homes of Rochester, Illinois. Once they both retired, Ray and Pam began to research the history of Rochester, Illinois. Spearheading the creation of The Orange Judd Historic Walking Tour Guide to Rochester's historic homes in 2015 led directly to more detailed investigations of the people and events that make up the history of their adopted Rochester community. It's those people and events that now appear in the Bruzan’s book, Cotton, Violins & Shots in the Night / A Timeline Visit to Rochester, Illinois.

The Bruzans have researched and authored seven books based on the history of Rochester Township, and they have contributed to the study of Sangamon County. Two of their writings have received awards of excellence from the Illinois State Historical Society.

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Have Violin, Will Travel-The Louis Persinger Story by Raymond Bruzan offers a historic journey as he explores the places and people who contributed to the life of violin virtuoso Louis Humphrey Persinger, who was born in Rochester, IL in 1887.

The book includes information and photos from his family and students that have not been widely shared in previous studies of Persinger.

Louis became the pride of his hometown as his international fame soared even before he graduated from Germany’s Leipzig Conservatory of Music.

Persinger’s acclaimed performing career in Europe and America was followed by a notable career teaching violin students, including child prodigies Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Isaac Stern, and Camilla Wicks. He taught for three decades as a professor of music at The Juilliard School in New York City.

Bruzan has also authored a children’s book about Louis Persinger. The 28-page hardback book, The Violinist of Rockychester, is intended to be much more than just a bedtime story. It promotes and encourages its readers to follow their dreams, just like Louis Persinger, the little boy from the small village of Rochester, did to become an international star.

Ray Bruzan spent his formative years in Southern Illinois. His college degrees led him to a 42-year teaching career, including his last five as a chemistry professor at Benedictine University-Springfield. Here are some other facts about Ray Bruzan:

• Award recipient educator and author

• Author of seven local history books of Rochester Township in Sangamon County, Illinois

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• Attended one of the few remaining one-room country schools of Jefferson County, Illinois

• Historic artifact contributor of an Earth Day flag to the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC

• Education awards include Educator of the Year, Springfield Public School, 1990

• Author awards include two Awards of Excellence from the Illinois State Historical Society

• Travel experiences include 48 US states, Japan, and Europe

• Volunteer docent at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

• Presenter of numerous local history programs for civic groups and church organizations

To contact Ray Bruzan to arrange a PowerPoint program and book signing for your organization, call 217-498-7325 or email

Ray Bruzan’s latest books can be purchased at Petals & Co, 129 John Street in Rochester, or by visiting Ruzan’s website:

This story was originally printed in the April 2022 issue of The Prairie Land Buzz Magazine, a free publication distributed monthly to 11 IL counties. Find out more at

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