GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The sounds of summer beat back into West Michigan on Sunday as Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park held its first Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series performance in more than a year.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed alongside the Grand Rapids Symphony.
According to organizers, roughly 1,300 tickets were sold.
“Lots of smiles, very, very happy, lots of joy,” said Mary Tuuk Kuras, the symphony’s president and CEO. “It’s our hope that all of that joy that we feel will immediately spread through the audience tonight too.”
This year, the symphony is partnering with Meijer Gardens and playing at three concerts over the next two weeks. Tuuk Kuras described it as a way for the symphony to find a new audience in new locations while the organization recovers from the pandemic.
Running through September, the 28-performance series came together cautiously and was ready to go once pandemic restrictions lifted.
“Anytime that you have a difficult situation, when you get teams of people - you get the artist, you get our team, you get the symphony’s team - working on a common goal, it’s fun, even though there’s a little bit of stress going on,” said David Hooker, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park president and CEO. 16:59:03 “My favorite part is when you look out to the crowd and you see so many people experiencing joy. These concerts are a fantastic way for us to connect with people from all walks of life.”
People in attendance said Sunday’s performance allowed them to reconnect with acts and loved ones they missed spending time with during the pandemic.
“I like it especially when they play the second line song, like the Bourbon Street Parade, Take Me to the Glory Land,” said Bill Paulson, who lives in Muskegon and is an avid jazz fan. “It’s been a pretty dull 18 months lately you know. Gives you a chance to go out.”
“We all love music and it’s just a way to spend time together with friends,” said Grand Rapids Resident Jill Miller, who came with her husband and close friends.
Tickets for several shows are still available. To purchase one, click here.