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.

Past MaLinda P. Sapp Legacy Award Recipients
• Grand Rapids Black Nurses Association
• Dr. Kelli Christopher
• Anissa & James Eddie
• John McDonald
• Kate Pew Wolters
• Teresa Weatherall-Neal
• Isaac V. Norris + Associates, P.C.
• John Varineau
• Noel Webley II
• Celebration Cinema
• Herschell Turner
• Skot & Barbara Welch
• Cherry Health
• Christina Arnold 
• Elias Lumpkins
• Stephen and Clarice Drew  
• Huntington Bank 
• David Lockington
• Grand Rapids Urban League
• Catherine Williams (posthumously)
• Paul Collins
• Hispanic Center of West Michigan
• Grand Rapids African American Health Institute
• Edye Evans Hyde
• Rev. Nathaniel Moody
• Baxter Community Center
•Mary K. Hoodhood
•Debra L. Perry
•Peter M. Wege
• Sonya Hughes
• W.K. Kellogg Foundation
• Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp
• Dr. Marvin L. Sapp
• Duane and Kaye Davis
• Bing Goei
• Rev. Clifton Rhodes, Jr.
• Dr. Ed Dobson
• Rev. Lyman Parks, Sr. 
• Drs. James and Charsie Sawyer 
• George A. Bayard III
• Ruth Jones Hairston
• Bishop William C. Abney
• Jonathan Jelks
• Patricia C. Pulliam, Ph.D