The Grand Rapids Symphony, founded in 1930, delivers more than 400 performances across the community each year. Photo via fb.com
The Grand Rapids Symphony is reaching out to young leaders and music lovers in the community with a launch party Monday for MySymphony360.
The symphony will make MySymphony360 memberships available for young people, ages 18-35, with a particular focus on 21-35-year-olds.
The membership program will offer discounted tickets and other perks to enrollees.
The program is one of several that the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Community Engagement Committee has developed since 2010 to fill the DeVos Performance Halls seats with a more diverse audience.
“The community engagement committee has a range of young leaders in Grand Rapids, and we’ve been looking for ways to help the symphony audience better reflect the faces of our community,” explained Corinne Sprague, co-chair of the symphony’s Community Engagement Committee. “How do we get the symphony’s DeVos Performance Hall for an average performance to look more like what it looks like when you walk down the street or when you are downtown for ArtPrize?”
Other programs have been adopted to reach out to segments of the Grand Rapids community that have been under represented in the symphony audience.
The Holiday Pops Spectacular Saturday, shows for families with young children, and the Celebration of Soul and Mosaic Scholars both focus on attracting racial and ethnic minorities.
The symphony wants to engage these new audiences and help foster community.
The annual membership allows members to purchase tickets for any of the classical, pops or MusicNOW concerts at a discounted rate of $15.
The membership fee is $25 for an individual membership or $40 for a plus one, which allows a member's guest to buy tickets at the $15 price.
Members will be given seats in sections regularly priced at $30-60, so they’ll receive at least a 50-percent discount when purchasing a ticket.
In addition to the discounted tickets, Sprague said that the symphony is working on partnerships with downtown restaurants and bars to provide discounts at their establishments for MySymphony360 members on concert nights.
There will also be several other added perks for members.
“We have a lot of plans for exclusive events, meet and greets and backstage opportunities,” Sprague said.
For instance, when people join MySymphony360 between now and Jan. 11, they'll get a complimentary ticket for the symphony’s Jan. 11 Brahms concert.
After the Brahms concert, the symphony will do a toast with the guest conductor backstage with the musicians, and MySymphony360 members will get to be part of that backstage meet and greet.
“After our Symphony Idol concert in March, we will have a backstage party going on where they will get to meet those American Idol finalists who will be performing with the symphony that weekend,” Sprague added.
The symphony expects that having several opportunities for young leaders to connect with each other around a common interest will help the program grow.
It also wants to connect young symphony lovers with their more seasoned counterparts.
“So that young professionals get the opportunity to meet some of the well-known movers and shakers of the community, our big names in the community and having the opportunity to have one on one conversations with them,” Sprague said.
MySymphony360 is holding a launch party on Monday night at LaFontsee Galleries, from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
“A collaboration of musicians, spoken word and art will be a huge part of the MySymphony360 launch event,” said Johannah Jelks, member of the symphony’s Community Engagement Committee.
Jelks said the launch party will be a good preview of what members can expect from future meet and greets and special events they’ll be invited to as part of their MySymphony360 membership.
The launch party is limited to the first 300 registered guests.
People will be able to sign up for their memberships at the party, as well as online at the symphony website, beginning that day.
“Our goal on the committee is to reach out to potential members who may have interests in the Grand Rapids Symphony,” Jelks said. “Our mission is simple: We want to develop the future of the Grand Rapids Symphony.”
The symphony would like to see at least 70 people sign up for the MySymphony360 membership in the first year.