Saturday, February 29, 2020
5:00 PM
JW Marriott International Ballroom
235 Louis St NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Designed to support equality in musical development opportunities, the Grand Rapids Symphony offers scholarships each year to African American and Latinx instrumental students. Selected through a competitive audition and application process, the middle/high school students receive one-on-one lessons with a Symphony musician for a year, free instrument rental, composition and performance opportunities with fellow scholars and access to Grand Rapids Symphony concerts with their families.

Following the gala, the Symphony with Soul concert will feature compositions from jazz musician Terence Blanchard. Director Spike Lee and Blanchard have enjoyed a long relationship as filmmaker and composer on numerous collaborations. Symphony with Soul will showcase stunning scores and songs from Spike Lee films (Malcom X, BlacKkKlansman, and Miracle at St. Anna’s). Special guests will include Blanchard with his group The E-Collective, vocalist Quiana Lynell, the Grand Rapids Symphony, and GRS Community Chorus. This evening will also feature music from the films of Kasi Lemmons and LucasFilm.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Diane Lobbestael at or 616.454.9451 x 122.

Join the Grand Rapids Symphony Community Chorus

The Grand Rapids Symphony Community Chorus is looking for members to join us for Symphony with Soul 2019! For more information about the chorus, please email Julie Nystedt at, including your name, address, and your interest in the Community Gospel Chorus.

About Celebration of Soul

GR Symphony's 2018 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 Celebration of Soul Recipients
•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

2019 COS Sponsors

Symphony with Soul Concert Sponsor:
Guest Artist Sponsor:

Mosaic Scholars Sponsors:

Thompson Family Charitable Foundation

Benefactor Sponsor:
Keller Foundation

Patron Sponsors:
The Gerbens/Nedd Family | Mercy Health | Tim O'Donovan

Table Sponsors:
Grand Wealth Management, LLC | Grand Rapids First | Spectrum Health