Musical Family Fun Abounds at the 2015 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops

Media Contact:
Samara Napolitan
Grand Rapids Symphony
616.454.9451 x 110

With the 2015 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series, the Grand Rapids Pops brings a summer season fueled by legendary singer-songwriters, family fun and classical favorites. The Grand Rapids Pops collaborates with award-winning artists once more to bring talent to an affordable and family-friendly atmosphere at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Again this season, D&W Fresh Market is the Title Sponsor of this annual summer series, and GR Outdoor joins as the Series Partner for the first time. 

Four concerts highlight the virtuosity and versatility of the Grand Rapids Pops orchestra, beginning with a high-octane Neil Diamond tribute—“Super Diamond.” Associate Conductor John Varineau leads the orchestra, bandleader “Surreal Neil” and his rock group in power ballads, up-tempo hits and classic tunes like “Sweet Caroline,” “I’m a Believer,” “America” and “Red Red Wine.” “Super Diamond” is Thursday, July 9 and Friday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. Concertgoers who arrive early can enjoy pre-concert entertainment provided by The Gentlemen of Ragtime, a local jazz group. The Benefactor Sponsor for “Super Diamond” is TerryTown RV.

A West Michigan tradition returns with “Classical Fireworks” on Thursday, July 16 and Friday, July 17 at 8:00 p.m. Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt leads a performance that celebrates all the best things about living in the U.S.A. complete with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and the best fireworks show in West Michigan. Pre-concert entertainment will be provided by keyboardist Bob VanStee and vocalist Susan Pangborn. The Benefactor Sponsor for this summer favorite is Chemical Bank.

Thursday, July 23 and Friday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. ushers in the must see multi-media musical journey, “The Piano Men” featuring the most-loved hits of Billy Joel and Elton John. Award-winning artist Jim Witter’s masterfully recreates cross-generational favorites, including “Your Song,” “My Life” and “Candle in the Wind.” Pre-concert entertainment will be provided by accordionist Michael Schaeffer. Benefactor Sponsors for “The Piano Men” include Kennari Consulting, Mercy Health, Miller Johnson and Universal Forest Products. 

Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik, best known by his stage name, Five For Fighting, joins the Grand Rapids Pops onstage Thursday, July 30 and Friday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will include fan favorites including #1 Billboard hits “Superman (It’s Not Easy)” and “100 Years” with lush orchestral arrangements. Nobody’s Darlin’ will be the pre-concert act for “Five For Fighting.” Major Sponsors of this special event concert are Lacks Enterprises, Levitation Staging, MLive Media Group and Southwest Airlines/Gerald R. Ford Airport/Lambert-St. Louis Airport. 

The family fun begins at 5:45 p.m. each night when the Cannonsburg grounds open for picnicking and pre-concert entertainment. Children can enjoy face painting, crafts and explore the sounds of the orchestra at the instrument petting zoo at the Kid’s Corner. The Kid’s Corner is sponsored by David & Linda Mehney. Families may bring their own picnics or purchase grilled items and beverages at the Cannonsburg concession stand. Alcoholic beverages may be brought onto the grounds. General admission parking is free and VIP parking is available for a $10 fee. 

D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops offers a casual atmosphere with several seating options. Reserved table seating near the orchestra must be purchased in advance. Chair seating is also available in a reserved, general admission area close to the stage. For general admission lawn seating, concertgoers may bring their own blankets, lawn chairs and picnics and choose their favorite spot on the hill.

Media partners for the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series are Townsquare Media, WOODTV 8, MLive and On The Town Magazine. Townsquare Media will provide emcee’s for select evenings, including Andy Rent from WTRV on July 10 and July 31, Connie and Curtis from WLHT on July 17, and JoJo Girad from WFGR on July 24. 


Advance lawn tickets are $18 ($16 for students/seniors; $5 for children ages 2-18) for “Super Diamond,” “Classical Fireworks” and “The Piano Men.” Advance lawn tickets are $30 ($28 for students/seniors; $15 for children ages 2-18) for “Five For Fighting.” Children under the age of 2 are admitted for free on the lawn. Other prices are: $30 for reserved chair seating ($40 for “Five For Fighting); $48 for individual table seats ($65 for “Five For Fighting”); $384 for a full table of eight ($520 for “Five For Fighting). Tickets increase by $3 if purchased the day of the performance. Table and reserved chair seating is available through the Symphony Ticket Office at 616.454.9451 x 4 or by visiting the Symphony Ticket Office at 300 Ottawa Ave NW, Suite 100, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Lawn tickets may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800.982.2787, online at or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets are also available at the Cannonsburg box office beginning at 5:30 p.m. each concert evening. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert. 

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, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine 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

This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.