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GR Symphony debuts virtual full orchestra performance for Mother's Day weekend

International effort took more than 100 hours
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Posted at 2:22 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 15:54:59-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following the smashing debut of its virtual "Hallelujah Chorus," the Grand Rapids Symphony released a second full orchestra performance today.

The piece even has a previous connection to our state. The 18th variation from Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was used as the main theme for the 1980 film Somewhere in Time, which was shot on Mackinac Island the previous summer.

The choice of music was an easy one for Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, "because we're approaching Mother's Day, we thought it would be a nice thing to send a love message to all moms out there, some of them, they're alone."

To pull off the performance, members of the orchestra had to prepare and play at home, since the state's Stay at Home order is still in effect.

Since the video's debut comes at the start of Mother's Day Weekend, Lehninger decided to honor his mother by having her join the orchestra on the piano. Sônia Goulart is an internationally awarded pianist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She previously joined the symphony in person in 2019, and had planned to be in Grand Rapids to celebrate Mother's Day

Instead, she played the piano in her apartment in Brazil, sending the video thousands of miles north to be combined and synchronized with the other musicians.

"Some people are alone like my mother. She's been in her apartment for two months. It's hard. And so to be able to give the gift of music for people, they're going through hard moments right now. It's the mission of the Grand Rapids Symphony. And we've been delivering music almost every day," said Lehninger.

The final video took more than 100 hours of time for a team to put together.

The performance of Rhapsody is just the latest in the symphony's "From Our Home to Yours" series. So far, 39 videos have been uploaded to the symphony's social media pages.

As for whether we can expect another performance by the full orchestra, Lehninger says, "Yes. We have plans. Stay tuned."