GRS Receives Getty Grant to Develop Music for Health Program

Media Contact:
Samara Napolitan
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 4

Grand Rapids Symphony is one of only twenty-two orchestras from across the United States selected by the League of American Orchestras to receive Getty Education and Community Investment Grants. The grant was awarded to develop the orchestra’s Music for Health program, and is recognition of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s innovation and dedication to increasing its relevance to the community.

“Forging partnerships to ensure that all members of the West Michigan community receive the benefits of orchestral music remains a priority of the Grand Rapids Symphony,” said Peter Kjome, the orchestra’s President and CEO.  “We are pleased and gratified to receive the Getty Education and Community Investment Grant.”

“We are grateful to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for their forward-thinking support,” said League President and CEO Jesse Rosen. “This year’s grants give orchestras a significant opportunity to offer communities greater access to the orchestral experience. These programs demonstrate the remarkably wide assortment of populations orchestra musicians serve, from multi-generational Native musicians, student songwriters, and elementary school children in an entire California school district, to babies in the NICU, teens and adults in the criminal justice system, and the developmentally challenged.”

The Grand Rapids Symphony’s Music for Health program is a new health and wellness program, piloted during fiscal year 2014 and entering its second year during fiscal year 2015, in collaboration with Spectrum Health and Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation.  The GRS Music for Health program serves patients at Spectrum Health who suffer with a neurological impairment, such as stroke or traumatic brain injury, or are experiencing some level of dementia.  These patients experience deficits in motor planning and/or control, muscle weakness, impaired cognition, limited attention control, impaired short- and/or long-term memory, emotional impairments, limited responses to social interaction, depressed mood, and difficulty in engaging in tasks – all of which can be positively impacted through music therapy.

“Thank you for supporting the Music for Health program. The pilot year of this program exceeded our expectations by positively impacting patients in our short-term rehabilitation program, and residents in our long-term care facility and residential homes,” said Cindy Barrus, Director of Post-Acute Neuro Rehabilitation at Spectrum Health.  “Thank you for funding the second year of this program. We are thrilled to be able to continue this wonderful partnership between the Grand Rapids Symphony, Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation, Spectrum Health and now the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.”

Orchestras receiving Getty Education and Community Investment Grants recipients for 2014-15 are: Allentown Symphony Orchestra, for El Sistema Lehigh Valley; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for OrchKids; Central Ohio Symphony, for Reconnecting; DC Youth Orchestra Program, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, for Tocando; Grand Rapids Symphony, for Music for Health; Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, for Metropolitan Youth Orchestra; Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, for Kalamazoo Kids in Tune; Kidznotes; Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, for KSO Music & Wellness; Los Angeles Philharmonic, forYouth Orchestra LA (YOLA); Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, for Soul Strings; Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, for Progressions; New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project); Orchestra of St. Luke's, for Youth Orchestra of St. Luke’s (YOSL);Phoenix Symphony, for The B-Sharp Music Wellness, a W.O.N.D.E.R. Project: Alzheimer’s Expansion pilot Initiative; San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, for Community Opus Project; Seattle Symphony, for NativeLands Community Composition Project; Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, forSYSO in the Schools; Spokane Symphony, for Music Heals; Stockton Symphony, for Harmony Stockton; and Yakima Symphony Orchestra for Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA).

A total of $425,000 was awarded for this year’s grants, part of the League’s three-year, $1.5 million re-granting program made possible by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. The orchestras, encompassing a full range of budget sizes, will receive individual grants ranging from $13,000 to $27,500 for a variety of community-based programs taking place during the 2014-15 season. 61% of the grants were awarded to after-school educational programs with social development components, 22% to health and wellness programs in hospitals, nursing homes, and treatment centers, 14% to in-school partnership programs, and 3% to orchestras’ artistic programming with a focus on social issues and community dialogue. A prerequisite for qualifying orchestras was the existence of partnerships with local community or social service organizations. Details of each grantee program can be found linked here.

The initial 143 applicants were narrowed by an independent advisory panel of experts to 32 semi- finalists; all programs were then judged on a number of criteria, including innovation and relevance to community needs, strength of partnerships, extent and quality of professional development, and strength of evaluation activities, among other assessment categories.

For first-hand video accounts from grantee program stakeholders and others, visit the League’s new online story bank.  Health care providers, parents, musicians, orchestra administrators, and students are all spotlighted in a regularly updated array of videos, articles, and infographics, all showing the many ways in which orchestras serve communities.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

The Grand Rapids Symphony was officially organized in 1930 and is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director David Lockington, ten concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are presented each year, touching the lives of some 170,000. Nearly half of those who benefit are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities reached through extensive education and community service programs. The Symphony’s Affiliated Organizations include the Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. The Symphony also provides the orchestra for Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony please visit

About the League of American Orchestras

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of approximately 800 orchestras across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned symphonies to community orchestras, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement for managers, musicians, volunteers, and boards.  Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform music lovers around the world about orchestral activity and developments.  Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners.  Visit to learn more.