West Michigan Symphony announces new schedule, program changes for remaining concerts

Muskegon, MI, April 24, 2020 — West Michigan Symphony has postponed all concerts previously scheduled for May and will extend its performance season—which originally concluded in June—into mid-August. Executive Director Andy Buelow announced the new schedule today in response to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Governor Whitmer’s “Stay home, stay safe” order through May 15.

“West Michigan Symphony is committed to the well-being and safety of our community,” Buelow stated. “As announced last month, our policy during this crisis has been to reschedule our concerts, not cancel them. The new concert calendar provides for a full four-week time span between the end date of the current shelter-at-home order and the resumption of concerts. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will follow state and federal health and safety guidelines in all proceedings.”

The new concert schedule includes several changes in programming and featured artists. As previously announced, the Masterworks concert formerly slated for March 13—featuring Florence Price’s Dances in the Canebrakes and William Grant Still’s “Afro-American” Symphony—will take place on Friday, June 12. This now marks the next scheduled WMS concert. The originally planned Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 will be replaced with Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Cellist Sujari Britt, unable to appear in June, will instead perform on the 2020-2021 Season opening concert on September 25.

The Masterworks program originally dated for June 5 has moved to Wednesday, July 1. The scheduled work, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection,” has been postponed for a later season, due to the unavailability of the Muskegon and Grand Rapids chamber choirs. In its place, WMS will offer a mixed program that includes Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer and Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Platts and soprano Martha Guth, respectively—soloists previously engaged for the “Resurrection.” The concert will conclude with Brahms’s Symphony No. 2, a joyful, uplifting work that Music Director Scott Speck says will be “just what all of us—audience and musicians—need right now.”

Andy Buelow stated: “WMS is grateful to our subscribers and other ticket holders for their loyalty and trust. We are also grateful to the sponsors of our spring concerts—Nichols, Raymond James, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Eagle Alloy, the Friends of Bill Eyke coalition sponsors, and our special Anonymous donor. Every one of you has been supportive, patient and forgiving. We appreciate you!”

Although the West Michigan Symphony Administrative Offices at The Block remain closed in observance of Shelter-at-Home, Buelow stressed that the staff continues to work from home and maintain regular phone hours (11am to 4:30 pm M-F).

For those holding tickets to rescheduled events, no action is needed. WMS is automatically holding their seats and will honor their tickets on the new date. Patrons unable to attend a rescheduled performance are asked to choose from these three options:

• Exchange their tickets into a future concert (exchanges must be requested in advance of the rescheduled date)
• Donate their ticket value as a contribution to the Symphony—now more than ever, support is vital!
• Request a refund

For more information, contact the administration at 231-726-3231. WMS is committed to ensuring patrons the full value of their ticket purchase.

June-August 2020

American Symphonic Dances
Friday, June 12, 2020

Florence Price: Dances in the Canebrakes
Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
William Grant Still: Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American”

Barber, Mahler & Brahms
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Martha Guth, & Susan Platts, guest singers
Barber – Knoxville: Summer of 1915
Mahler: Songs of a Wayfarer
Brahms: Symphony No. 2

The Four Seasons
Friday, July 10

Chee Yun, violin
Golijov: Last Round
Piazzolla: The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Mardi Gras in Muskegon
Saturday, August 15

Byron Stripling, trumpet

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts