Unwrap the Holidays with the Grand Rapids Pops

Media Contact
Kathryn Hartel
Public Relations Intern
616.454.9451 ext. 139

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., Nov. 8, 2016 – The Christmas holidays, with shining lights, soft snow, cheerful fires, and, of course, enchanting music, soon will be upon us.

The warm, familiar feelings of awe, wonder, and magic, and the desire to share it with family and friends, are the inspiration for the Grand Rapids Pops’ holiday concerts

Four separate shows are sure to enhance your holiday season, providing wonderful memories for returning members of the Grand Rapids Symphony family, or launching a new family tradition for first-time guests.

In addition to the Grand Rapids Pops concerts in November and December, the Grand Rapids Symphony will join the Grand Rapids Ballet for the annual productions of The Nutcracker Ballet in DeVos Performance Hall in December.

Celebrate the holiday season at one or more of these shows with the Grand Rapids Symphony:


The Snowman – Sunday, Nov. 19, in DeVos Performance Hall

Based on the award-winning children’s book by Raymond Briggs, the 30-minute animated film shares the delightful story of a boy and his snowman friend on one magical winter’s night. The Grand Rapids Symphony brings to life the film, as seen on TV, only with Howard Blake’s memorable musical score played live. Members of the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys will join the orchestra for the performance that includes Blake’s memorable song, “Walking in the Air.”

The Grand Rapids Symphony also will perform holiday classics such as “Sleigh Ride” and “Let it Snow” plus selections from the wildly popular Walt Disney movie Frozen.

Join the Grand Rapids Symphony for the DTE Energy Foundation Family series program at 3 p.m. in DeVos Hall. Come early at 2 p.m. for pre-concert activities including a musical instrument petting zoo. Tickets start at $15 for adults and only $5 for children.


MercyMe – Tuesday, Nov. 29, in Resurrection Life Church in Grandville

Last year, the Christian pop/rock group appeared on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised on NBC-TV. This year, celebrate the start of the Christmas season with MercyMe and the Grand Rapids Pops, conducted by Associate Conductor John Varineau.

One of the most successful Christian groups of the past two decades, MercyMe will be in Resurrection Life Church with a Christmas-flavored concert including songs such as “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “Silent Night.” The ResLife Choir under Ken Reynolds will be featured as well.

The Grammy-nominated band from Greenville, Texas, credited by Billboard with six of the top 50 Christian songs of the first decade of the 21st century, also will perform some of their biggest hits such as “I Can Only Imagine” In 2010, it became the first Christian single certified platinum with over 1 million digital downloads. Four years later, it was certified double platinum with over 2 million digital downloads.

MercyMe’s Christmas show with the Grand Rapids Symphony will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, in Resurrection Life Church, 5100 Ivanrest Ave. SW in Grandville. Tickets start at $30. Concert sponsor for MercyMe's appearance is Steenstra Windmill Cookies.


Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops – Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 1-4, in DeVos Hall

Join the Grand Rapids Symphony along with the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, conducted by Pearl Shangkuan, and the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, directed by Sean Ivory, at one of five performances of this annual holiday favorite. The show features a variety of beloved seasonal tunes including “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” and “Spirit of the Season” from The Polar Express, plus more under the direction of Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt

Special guests include bass-baritone Justin Hopkins, known internationally for his rich, warm voice and magnetic stage presence. Grand Rapid’s own Embellish Handbell Ensemble directed by Stephanie Wiltse also will join the Symphony with 15 musicians ringing 130 bells and chimes.

The Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 and at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3. Matinees will be at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3-4 in DeVos Performance Hall. Tickets for the Holiday Pops start at $18 for adults and $5 for children and students at select performances.

Families with children are invited to the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops Spectacular on Saturday, Dec. 3, just before the matinee concert. From 1-2:30 p.m., children can enjoy festive treats, arts and crafts, games, and much more leading up to the concert. Tickets for the Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops Spectacular, which include tickets to the concert, are $20 each.


Cirque de Noël – Thursday and Friday, Dec. 22-23, in DeVos Performance Hall

Back by popular demand, Cirque de la Symphonie returns to DeVos Performance Hall for the seventh annual show featuring the Grand Rapids Symphony and Associate Conductor John Varineau plus the musical talents of the David Arkenstone Group. This growing Grand Rapids tradition includes performances by world-renowned aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and jugglers, all professionally choreographed to seasonal favorites.

See Olympic athletes, world record holders, and gold-medal winners of international competitions perform to familiar music from The Polar Express as well as classical and holiday favorites.

“Cirque de Noël,” part of the Gerber SymphonicBoom Series, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 22 and at 8 p.m. Friday, December 23. Tickets for this one-of-a-kind holiday show start at just $32.


  • The Snowman – Tickets are $15 adults and $5 children.

  • MercyMe – Tickets start at $30.

  • Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops – Tickets start at $18 adults. Student tickets for the Thursday, Dec. 1 concert and the 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 matinee only are available for $5. Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for those two events on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Passport program.

  • Cirque de Noël – Tickets start at $32.

Tickets are available at the GRS ticket 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 are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.

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 Director Marcelo Lehninger, 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 provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet and sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in March 2017.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the website or

| Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Flickr |

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.