The Rapidian

Grand Rapids' Symphony invites younger patrons to last summer picnic performance

The Grand Rapids Symphony's final Music and Microbrews Picnic Pops of the summer features music from The Eagles.

Upcoming Grand Rapids Symphony Events

Symphony in D, October 15, 2014, 6 p.m.

LiveArts, April 24, 2015, 7:30 p.m. 

Concerts for the upcoming season have not been announced yet. 

Selections of beer for Music and Microbrews

Selections of beer for Music and Microbrews /Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Symphony

/Courtesy of the Grand Rapids Symphony

From 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, the Grand Rapids Symphony invites young people ages 21-35 to the Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Road in Belmont, for a night of music and beer with friends old and new.

“The reason we’re [focusing on young professionals] is because last November we launched a new membership program here at the symphony. It’s called MySymphony360 and it’s for ages 21-35,” says Samara Napolitan, Patron Engagement and Communications Coordinator for the Symphony.

It’s important to the Symphony, Napolitan says, to be affordable and inclusive for young people who are interested in the arts, but wouldn’t be financially able to attend performances. While attending college classes, students enjoy discounted tickets of $5 per concert.

“Students get used to this $5 price, and after graduation, those [prices spike]. We felt it was almost like a cliff and people, after college, aren’t finding jobs that pay enough for extracurricular activities like the arts,” says Evette Pittman, Director of Events and Community Engagement for the Symphony.

MySymphony360 affords other benefits to members aside from a discount on tickets. They also offer the best available seating for concerts, exclusive backstage access, musician meet-and-greets, special discounts at participating restaurants and networking opportunities.

“Last year, we did an open rehearsal and people from professional organizations [such as Spectrum Health] came out. [They] were able to network with different people while hearing the symphony practice,” Pittman says.

One goal of the MySymphony360 program is to help mix younger audiences with established professionals, and bridge the gap between them. Events like Music and Microbrews are a prime opportunity for this interaction to happen.

“[It’s a great chance for young professionals to get feedback] on how [established professionals] got from one point to another in their careers,” Pittman says.

Another goal of events such as Music and Microbrews is to show a different side of the Grand Rapids Symphony that people might not have seen before.

“Instead of having to get dressed up and go to the hall and have this stuffy feeling, we want people to come out and see the symphony has a fun side,” she says.

The Music of The Eagles was chosen for the last summer performance to go along with the upcoming Eagles concert happening this fall at the Van Andel Arena.

“We find that with this age group the ‘retro’ thing is very popular. We thought it would be a nice fit with the Eagles being a big group from the 70s and 80s,” she says. “And of course, with the Eagles concert coming to Van Andel Arena this fall, we were able to cross promote which is a great collaboration.”

The cost for a single ticket to Music and Microbrews is $30, and the cost for a couple is $50. That includes a free beverage ticket, a steak dinner from Brann’s, complimentary snacks and the classic songs of the Eagles as performed by the Symphony.

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