PLAY YOUR PART is a $5,000,000 campaign that will build a strong foundation for WMS to continue enriching our community.

Why Music Matters

Many have tried to answer this question, but perhaps Plato said it best: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

There is simply nothing to equal the soul-stirring joy of a live musical performance. But that joy is often only to be found in large cities that boast full-time symphonies and plenty of wealthy patrons.

How fortunate we are that Muskegon has found a different approach! The West Michigan Symphony provides every bit of the soul-stirring excitement that can be found in Chicago, Atlanta or New York. We have simply created a unique solution that fits our community needs.

We start with Music Director Scott Speck, a high profile, sought-after conductor who shares his time with other acclaimed ensembles (including Chicago’s famed Joffrey Ballet).

Then we add highly-qualified musicians. WMS is one of the country’s hybrid orchestras, with musicians who are paid “per service” (rehearsals and concerts) rather than salaried. Scott has cultivated an ensemble of 60 committed professionals who travel from throughout Michigan and 12 other states.

And finally, we highlight multiple facets of every performer, bringing in guest artists who can command the Frauenthal stage one night and transition to an intimate performance at The Block the next. We carefully plan educational outreach between performances to extract maximum return on investment for our community.

That is how a community like ours can enjoy live musical performances of this caliber.

We enrich the lakeshore communities in three vital and exciting ways:

Timeless symphonic presentations in a welcoming environment
WMS annually presents an 8-concert series of classical masterworks and entertaining pops in the Frauenthal Center. Internationally acclaimed soloists are drawn to West Michigan’s rich artistic environment.

Uncommon live experiences for the musically curious
WMS also offers 10-15 innovative performances of jazz, crossover-folk and classical chamber music at The Block each season. Neither club nor concert hall, The Block is a vibrant musical “third place” in the heart of downtown Muskegon

Enriching educational outreach to inspire a new generation of music lovers
WMS enriches the lives of children and youth through education programs provided free or at low cost to ensure wider access. Music and the arts furnish young people with important skills they need to better navigate through life.

Campaign Leadership

Larry & Lari Hines
Robert & Wendy Kersman
Fred & Joanna Norris
Mike & Kay Olthoff
Peter Turner & Jean Enright

Jan Deur
Kay Olthoff

Sherry Becker
Jon & Jane Blyth
Pete & Sherry Brown
Ryan Bryker
Susan Cloutier-Crain
Anne Dake
Kevin Even
Bill Eyke
Jim & Susan Geisler
Dave Gerdes
Kim Hammond
Paul & Karen Jackson
Roger Morgenstern
Steve & Deb Olsen
Mike Olthoff
Susan Rehrer
Tom Schaub & Mary Price
Al Steinman

Marilyn Andersen
Bernie & Cathy Berntson
Pat Donahue
Judy Hayner
Amy Heisser
Brad Hilleary
Clara Lang
Cindy Larsen
Gary Nelund
Dale Nesbary
Frank & Emma Peterson
Asaline Scott
John Severson
Dan & Ann Tabor
Rebecca Veltman
Troy Bell
Todd Jacobs
Steve Gawron
Walter Watt