Category: Fox Motors Pops Series

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Harpist spends months preparing to play John Williams' music for 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' with Grand Rapids Symphony

Grand Rapids Symphony musicians typically spend more time preparing and rehearsing music by Mahler, Prokofiev and others for the orchestra’s Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series than they do for other programs. But several months ago, personnel manager Erich Peterson reached out to principal harpist Beth Colpean about a particular show in the Fox Motors Pops series. The score for Grand Rapids Pops' upcoming performances of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial   arrived... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Recap: Billy Joel or Elton John? Jim Witter gives you both and more at the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016-17 Pops Series

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk -- Billy Joel or Elton John? It’s a musical variation of the question, “Ginger or Mary Ann?” Who do you prefer? The two piano-playing, singer/songwriters have a lot in common with dozens of hit songs and millions of records sold. They’re also plenty different, as you’d expect from a Brit and a Yank. So if you can’t choose between the two, who better to combine them into one package than a Canadian, eh? The Canadian of... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, September 24, 2016

Music of Billy Joel and Elton John opens Grand Rapids Symphony's 2016-17 Pops Series

Billy Joel, as a young pianist, singer and sometime songwriter, learned a lot of about life, music and a life in music, working in a piano bar. That was the inspiration for his song, “The Piano Man,” Jim Witter, as a young pianist, singer and sometime songwriter, traveled the same path and learned the same lessons, playing in bars and clubs in his native southern Ontario. “I learned an awful lot about entertaining,” he told the Marshall Independent in Minnesota... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Grand Rapids Pops goes to the movies to open 2016 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops

Boyz II Men, David Bowie, the Beach Boys and Queen are on their way to West Michigan this summer. Boyz II Men really are coming to town for the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 2016 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops . As for the rest, it’s songs sung by Ziggy Stardust, Brian Wilson and Freddie Mercury that are coming to Cannonsburg Ski Area. Rock on with the Grand Rapids Pops at the 22 nd annual Picnic Pops opening this week. “Fabulous, famous and popular music that... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Recap: Grand Rapids Symphony's "Star Wars & More" is a roller coaster ride to Christmas town

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk John Williams has written so much film music, it’s easy to forget just how much he’s written. Every “Star Wars” film, most of the “Harry Potter” movies, and the films starring Indiana Jones, just to name a few.  Now add such films as “Schindler’s List” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” to the list. Cue the iconic image of a young Macaulay Culkin, with his hands on the side of his face, looking surprised, in the film “Home Alone.” That’s totally relevant here... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Saturday, May 7, 2016

Grand Rapids Symphony plays 'Star Wars & More' music by Oscar-winning composer John Williams

John Williams is the most successful film composer in the history of cinema. The facts speak for themselves. The composer for the Star Wars, Harry Potter  and Indiana Jones franchises, as well as for films such as Jaws and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial , likely has an entire trophy room for his awards, which include five Oscars and 17 Grammy Awards. A total of 50 Academy Award nominations in all has helped make the composer that Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Grand Rapids Symphony unveils 2016-17 season

Music has the extraordinary power to transform lives, touch hearts and change the world around us. Jazz was born in America, but songwriter George Gershwin was first to bring it to the concert hall. His Rhapsody in Blue , an overnight sensation at its premiere in 1924, drew worldwide attention to America’s emerging art form. Pianist Joyce Yang A decade later, Russian-born Sergei Rachmaninoff, now living in the United States, wrote his final piece for piano and orchestra. Years... Read More
Posted by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk at Thursday, February 11, 2016

Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt Featured on December On-The-Town Cover!

This month, you may see a familiar face on the newsstands around Grand Rapids. Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt is featured on the cover of the December issue of On-The-Town magazine.  Mr. Bernhardt leads the annual Holiday Pops concerts for the first time this season. Be sure to catch him on the podium as he leads the Grand Rapids Pops, Chorus and Youth Chorus December 3 - 6! Tickets can be ordered right here at or by calling our friendly Ticket Office at... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Celebrate Community and Family at Holiday Pops Spectacular!

Every year, the holiday season is filled with present-shopping, gift-wrapping, traveling and chaos. Take some time to celebrate with your family and join us for our Holiday Pops Spectacular ! This event, sponsored by more than 25 area business and organizations, brings festive treats, games, crafts, activities, caroling, family photos, and an instrument petting zoo to the DeVos Performance Hall. Not only is the Holiday Pops Spectacular a load of fun, it’s also educational! In the instrument... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Thursday, November 19, 2015

Movie Magic: Grand Rapids Symphony performs a Disney classic 'Fantasia'

The Grand Rapids Symphony brings back a classic this month in its presentation of Disney's "Fantasia." The symphony will perform the music as selections from both the 1940 original "Fantasia" and the Disney "Fantasia 2000" are presented on the big screen Nov. 13 – 15 at DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW. Since its debut in 1940, "Fantasia" has become a film you either love – in 2008 it was ranked no. 5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the animation... Read More
Posted by Sam Napolitan at Friday, November 13, 2015
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