Grand Rapids Symphony helps inaugurate new pipe organ at Hope College’s new Miller Center for Music

Media Contact:
Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
Public Relations Manager
616.454.9451 ext. 139

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., May 10, 2016 – Hope College was founded in 1866, but never in its 150-year history has it had a venue devoted entirely to music until the opening of the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts last fall.

Today, Hope College not only has a new center for music, its 800-seat auditorium now is the biggest concert hall in West Michigan featuring a permanently installed pipe organ.

The Grand Rapids Symphony will put the “King of Instruments” in the spotlight for a special Musical Arts Celebration at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, in Hope College’s Miller Center for Musical Arts, 221 Columbia Ave., Holland.

Tickets start at $20. Call the Grand Rapids Symphony at (616) 454-9451 ext. 4 or go online to

GRS Associate Conductor John Varineau leads the orchestra in music highlighting the new Casavant Brothers pipe organ in the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. The three-manual, 54-rank organ, designed to be a concert instrument to play the repertoire for organ and symphony orchestra, encompasses a total of 3,092 pipes, ranging from 20-feet tall down to the size of a pencil,

Hope College organist Huw Lewis, who has appeared previously with the Grand Rapids Symphony, will be soloist in the second movement of Camille Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony No. 3 as well as for Invocation and Dance for organ and strings by contemporary composer Alfred Fedak.

Grand Rapids Symphony principal cellist Alicia Eppinga will be soloist in a portion of a Cello Concerto by Leonardo Leo, an early 18th century Italian Baroque composer.

The program, which opens with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3, includes the third and fourth movement from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. Dvorak’s Carnival Overture opens the second half.

The organ, built by Casavant Frères of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, is a major gift given to Hope College by David P. Roossien, of Holland. Prominent concert halls featuring instruments built by Casavant include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Hope College’s new Casavant pipe organ is a permanent installation in the Miller’s Center’s main auditorium. But its console is moveable, so it can be placed anywhere on the stage, depending on the needs of the performance.

The 64,000-square foot Miller Center for Musical Arts, which opened in October, was a $35 million project including the costs of construction plus an endowment to provide for its maintenance.

A 1954 graduate of Hope College, Jack H. Miller retired in 2002 after 48 years at the helm of the Howard Miller Company, which was founded by his father, Howard C. Miller, in 1926.

The former member of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s board of directors continues as an honorary member of the board.


Tickets start at $20 and are available at the GRS box office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)

Tickets also may be purchased through Ticketmaster at 800.982.2787, online at or in person at Ticketmaster outlets at select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee.

Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Passport program. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

About the Grand Rapids Symphony

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Advisor Larry Rachleff, 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 given each year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities all reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra; and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. GRS sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival and provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the Grand Rapids Symphony’s website or follow us on the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Facebook page.


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.