Grand Rapids Symphony’s LiveArts was the biggest, locally-produced show Grand Rapids had ever seen.
In the Van Andel Arena on four stages, nine performing organizations with more than 1,500 performers joined together one year ago to celebrate community and artistic inspiration in a multi-media extravaganza the likes of which Grand Rapids had never before seen.
LiveArts was the first time that the Grand Rapids Symphony, Broadway Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Ballet and Opera Grand Rapids engaged in a full-scale, collaborative show “bringing together these four pillar organizations of Grand Rapids,” according to artist director Jeffrey Marc Buchman.
“This kind of thing really can bring the spirit of a city together,” said Buchman, prior to the show held April 24, 2015.
“I hope it inspired new people to want to be a part of the world of the arts,” said Buchman, former stage director for Seattle Opera, Atlanta Opera and Florida Grand Opera.
Organized by the Grand Rapids Symphony to celebrate its 85th anniversary season, LiveArts also involved the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Orchestras, the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company, and the Opera Grand Rapids Chorus plus the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and Youth Choruses.
Several hundred school children and marching bands from East Kentwood High School and Grandville High School drew an audience of more than 7,100 people to hear music ranging from Ludwig van Beethoven to John Williams plus the Grand Rapids Symphony playing Dmitri Shostakovich's Festival Overture to accompany a video by Andy Terzes Studios celebrating local performing arts organizations.
Calvin VanZytveld was cello soloist in music from Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" from "The Carnival of the Animals."
Broadway actors and singers Joseph Carroll and Laurie Veldheer, both East Grand Rapids natives, returned to sing music from "Phantom of the Opera."
Opera Grand Rapids' soloists Alexandra LoBianco, Dinyar Vania and Phillip Horst, in town for Opera Grand Rapids production of "Tosca," sang excerpts from the opera by Puccini.
Horst, joined by soprano Chelsea Helm, sang highlights from "Carmina Burana" featuring dancers from Grand Rapids Ballet.
Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company and Grand Rapids Youth Symphony joined together to perform "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt."
An original work, "I Will Rise," by Grand Rapids composer Sean Ivory, director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus
More than 350 singers in the Opera Grand Rapids Chorus and Grand Rapids Symphony and Youth Symphony Choruses plus some 600 students from schools all over Grand Rapids participated in the performance featuring two vocal soloists from Broadway Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Symphony and Youth Symphony, and a battery of West African percussionists.