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Tuesday, 03 January 2023 11:18

Grand Rapids Symphony: Sounds for the New Year

Written by  Michaela Stock
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Caroline Campbell. Caroline Campbell. Courtesy Photo

From 1920’s jazz music to classical covers of pop tunes, The Grand Rapids Symphony is ready to give West Michigan an array of fresh musical experiences this year. As the 2023 season commences, the Symphony hopes to touch new listeners and regular attendees alike with performances that inspire, rejuvenate, and brighten the community. 

“There are so many different ways the Symphony reaches our community. We’re passionate about music and the impact it has on people,” said Aaron Doty, the symphony’s Vice President and General Manager. “No two days, or concerts, are alike.”

Because each live performance at the Grand Rapids Symphony slightly varies, Doty likes to attend the same show at least twice. 

“With one note, music has the power to reach and nourish the soul unlike anything else. Those feelings are special and unique for each and every performance,” Doty said. “Each time you hear a piece of music, you discover something new and beautiful.”

The Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2023 offerings span from family-friendly storylines to multi-hyphenate experiences.
“In the first weekend of the new year, we have cellist Andrei Ioniță performing with the symphony.  His energy is incredible and he truly rocks out on the cello,” Doty said.

“In the middle of January, we have a family-friendly program with the timeless story of Ferdinand the Bull, complete with narrator and dancing bull. Finally, an event that we have just announced is the 2023 Symphony With Soul guest artist, the amazing singer, actor, and comedian Wayne Brady.”

Fine arts, such as the symphony, can be intimidating for first-timers. For those who have never attended a show at the Grand Rapids Symphony, or for folks who haven’t attended a concert in a long time, Doty encourages people to choose a variety of shows and commit to trying more than one type of performance.

“You can choose so many different ways to experience symphonic music.  It’s about looking for something that resonates with you and then trying something new,” said Doty.

“Give yourself a wide range of experiences.”

Since the Grand Rapids Symphony boasts an array of shows each season, choosing what to attend can be overwhelming. To help interested spectators better understand the symphony’s upcoming performances, people can call the Symphony’s patron services department for guidance on which shows are right for them. 

“We’ve already had several really great concerts this season, and we are looking forward to sharing so many different programs in the coming months,” said Doty.

“Experiencing a live orchestra is truly special, and our musicians are deeply passionate about giving incredible performances every week.”

Even with the Symphony’s unending enthusiasm to bring the power of live music to the eyes and ears of West Michigan, it’s no doubt that performing arts organizations have undergone stress over the past couple of years. However, Doty has seen the pandemic shutdown as an opportunity to give patrons a new and improved way of attending shows. 

“Returning to a live environment has given us time to enhance our audience experience,” said Doty.

“You’ll see and hear new things both before and during our performances. We’re pleased to be able to let patrons bring beverages into the hall and we’re working on new ways to make technology a part of the patron experience.”

Despite the challenges of returning to in-person concerts, Doty remains optimistic.

“The past two seasons have taught us to be, if nothing else, flexible and understanding.  Not every concert production has ended up exactly as it was conceived but it has given us opportunities to be creative and adapt in order to continue to give the gift of music to our community at a time when it has been most needed,” said Doty.

“The pandemic shifted many things in our lives, and we are all so grateful that live music is back.”

Whether it’s offering a variety of genres each season or helping patrons choose which shows to attend, Doty’s ultimate hope is for the Grand Rapids Symphony’s music to continue reaching the ears of West Michiganders far and wide.

“We’re so incredibly grateful to the West Michigan community for the support and enthusiasm they offer us,” Doty said.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of an organization that really feels and cares about each other like a family.”

Grand Rapids Symphony
300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Ste 100
grsymphony.org

Night on Bald Mountain + Andrei Ioniță, 
Jan. 6-7 

Pops Knockouts with Caroline Campbell, 
Jan. 20-21

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert, 
Jan. 27-28 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in Concert, 
Jan. 28-29

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