Saturday, February 11, 2023
Grand Rapids Symphony & Community Chorus
Ne-Yo, featured artist

6 PM – Celebration of Soul reception and award ceremony
- Event Registration: DeVos Hall Lobby
- Gala will be held in Monroe Rooms A-D
8 PM – Symphony with Soul concert

Continuing a long tradition of reflecting the remarkable leadership across our community, our Celebration of Soul event will honor three individuals and organizations with the Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp Legacy Award:

▸ Dr. Cathy Large
, Longtime Educator, Fulbright Scholar, and creator of New Hope History Museum. Widely recognized for accomplishments in education, faith, and activism.
▸ Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks
, Professor of African American Studies at the University of Kansas, and Award-winning author of African Americans in the Furniture City and Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement.
▸ The Grand Rapids Community Foundation
, West Michigan’s oldest (1922) community foundation provides over $18 Million in impactful annual support to meet our community's greatest needs with an emphasis on inclusion, equity, and justice through programs like Challenge Scholars and the Black Legacy Fund.

Join us for the annual Celebration of Soul event and 21st Symphony with Soul concert with our beloved Community Chorus, your Grand Rapids Symphony, and R&B superstar Ne-Yo!

Celebration of Soul Committee Chairs:  Deborah & George Bayard; Barbara & Skot Welch; Duane & Kaye Davis; Evette & JR Pittman; and Charsie & James Sawyer.

About Celebration of Soul

In 2006, the Grand Rapids Symphony created Celebration of Soul, an event to honor the accomplishments of individuals and organizations that celebrate the importance of diversity, inclusion and bridge-building in West Michigan. The Grand Rapids Symphony’s commitment to establishing a diverse community reverberates in all the orchestra’s programs and services. This is reflected in the selection of diverse guest artists and conductors who embrace diversity, Symphony musicians who donate their time, as well as Symphony music education programs that serve schools in which arts education is a fraction of the curriculum. 

As part of Celebration of Soul, the Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp Legacy Award was established to honor individuals and organizations for their on-going diversity efforts and accomplishments. The award celebrates an organization or person's distinguished leadership and on-going commitment to advancing engagement, inclusion and diversity. A recipient is a leader that successfully models diversity and inclusion in their profession or industry. They are inspirational, consistent and innovative and encourage others to be culturally competent. The Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp Legacy Award gives the community the opportunity to recognize honorees for their commitment to diversity, education, and bridging cultural differences.