Largest orchestra ever assembled on Frauenthal stage will perform Holst’s epic The Planets during WMS Season Finale

Muskegon, Michigan, May 31, 2023—Concertgoers will take a musical journey from the ocean to the cosmos when Music Director Scott Speck and the West Michigan Symphony present the 2022-2023 Season Finale, culminating with Gustav Holst’s epic work The Planets. The concert will open with Peter Maxwell Davies’s An Orkney Wedding with Sunrise, complete with solo bagpipes. This will be followed by Ralph Vaughan Williams’s beloved and poignant work for solo violin and orchestra, The Lark Ascending, featuring Concertmaster John Heffernan. Holst’s seven-part astrological suite for orchestra, in which every piece depicts one of the planets, will be the capstone of an evening of mystery and wonder.

The performance will feature an expanded symphony of 85 musicians—the largest orchestra assembled on the Frauenthal stage in memory—as required by Holst’s score for The Planets. Sponsored by Raymond James, the concert will be held at 7:30pm Friday, June 9 at the Frauenthal Center, 425 W. Western Avenue. The 2022-2023 Season is sponsored by Mike and Kay Olthoff. For tickets, starting at $19 for adults, $10 for students, call 231.727.8001, visit the Frauenthal box office or purchase online at

Gustav Holst was inspired by astrology—not astronomy—in composing The Planets. He wrote to a friend that the movement of the planets fascinated him, and their alleged influence on human lives suggested music. The different movements are really stand-alone pieces, each with a subtitle—from “Mars, the Bringer of War” to “Neptune, the Mystic” (the 1930 discovery of Pluto was still 10 years in the future when The Planets was premiered).  Scott Speck will discuss the entire program during a free Lunch ‘n Learn at The Block at noon Wednesday, June 7, sponsored by Embark Financial Partners with delicious small bites by Kuntry Cookin’. To RSVP, go to

Free shuttle transport is available for all WMS concerts from the Muskegon Farmer’s Market parking lot right to the door of the Frauenthal, and back again after the concert.  

An anchor cultural organization headquartered in Muskegon, WMS is a resident presenting group at the Frauenthal Center, where its eight-concert season is the most visible part of a larger artistic enterprise of far-reaching community benefit. At its live listening room The Block, just down the street, it mounts 15 performance events annually featuring jazz, classical, folk, ambient and other offerings. WMS concerts and education events bring 16,500 people—more than 30% of whom are children and students—downtown annually, making it the largest performing arts organization on the West Shore. Audiences come from throughout Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Oceana and surrounding counties. ###

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts