West Michigan Weekend Guide: April 26–28

Festival goers congregate outside the Chenery Auditorium, one of the many venues participating in the Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festvial. Courtesy photo.

Celebrate the universal language of music at this distinguished piano festival in Kalamazoo. The seventeenth biennial Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival (say that three times fast) is back, bringing world-class talent to southwest Michigan. With over 100 events spread across 26 venues, this festival promises something for every music lover. From performances by internationally renowned artists like Patti LuPone and Yuja Wang to master classes, concert previews, and on-stage conversations, there’s no shortage of excitement.

“The Gilmore Piano Festival will again bring the world to Kalamazoo and the surrounding community,” says Executive and Artistic Director Pierre van der Westhuizen. “Audiences will enjoy a diverse lineup of spectacular artists usually heard in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin, Cape Town, or Tokyo – all during almost three weeks of unforgettable experiences.”

The Festival’s varied schedule is complemented by master classes, concert previews, on-stage conversations with performers, film screenings, regional concerts and recitals hosted by community partners. In partnership with Kalamazoo’s Farmers Alley Theatre, the schedule will also feature a collaborative production of Sondheim by Sondheim about the “father of the modern musical,” Stephen Sondheim.

The lineup for the seventeenth biennial Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival includes (clockwise from top left): 2010 Gilmore Artist Kirill Gerstein, Patti LuPone, Yuja Wang, 2002 Gilmore Artist Piotr Anderszewski, Hiromi, Isaiah J. Thompson, 2006 Gilmore Artist Ingrid Fliter, NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron. Courtesy art.

“Thanks to financial support from individuals, businesses, and foundations, several concerts will be offered for free or by donation, many offer reduced student tickets, and 13 concerts will be livestreamed on a name-your-own-price basis, greatly extending the audience reach of the Festival internationally,” said van der Westhuizen.

The best part is many concerts will be offered for free or by donation, making this festival accessible to all. Join us as we celebrate the transformative power of music! This musical extravaganza his happening now until May 12. Get tickets by phone at 269-250-6984, or in person at the Community Box Office, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. For online purchases or to see the full Festival schedule, visit thegilmore.org.

If you’d rather stay closer to home, check out these options. From the ballet to classic literature brought to life on the stage, or a walk in the part with art, there’s much to do in West Michigan this weekend.

Jacqueline Williams as “Calpurnia” shares tea with and Richard Thomas portraying “Atticus Finch” in “To Kill A Mockingbird” on stage at DeVos Performance Hall through April 28, 2024. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Timeless Tale Comes to Life
Step into the world of Harper Lee’s classic novel as the First National Tour of Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation arrives at DeVos Performance Hall. Led by Emmy Award-winning actor Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, this critically acclaimed production promises an unforgettable theatrical experience. Thomas is best known for portraying John-Boy in the seventies era family Drama “The Waltons.”
Since its launch in 2022, the tour has captivated audiences across North America, setting records and earning rave reviews. Don’t miss your chance to witness this powerful story on stage!

All Broadway Grand Rapids presentations take place at DeVos Performance Hall located at 303 Monroe Ave NW in downtown Grand Rapids. Special $30 rush tickets for students and educators are available. For more information about the show, and to purchase tickets, visit www.BroadwayGrandRapids.com

Grand Rapids Ballet. File photo by Ray Nard.

Grand Rapids Ballet Presents “In The Upper Room”
Prepare to be dazzled by the final production of the Grand Rapids Ballet’s 2023-24 season. From April 26 – May 5, experience the magic of ballet with a captivating double bill featuring Twyla Tharp’s iconic ‘In The Upper Room’ and George Balanchine’s timeless classic ‘Serenade.’ This dynamic program showcases the company’s versatility and artistry, offering an unforgettable journey through the realms of dance. Don’t miss the special Family Matinee performance, designed to introduce audiences of all ages to the beauty of ballet.

Performances take place at Peter Martin Wege Theatre. Tickets can be purchased online, via phone at (616) 454.4771 ext. 110, or in person at GRB’s box office.

“Peaceful Day on the Marsh” by Patricia Westfield. Courtesy art.

Pop-Up Art Event to Benefit Ottawa County Parks
Get ready to immerse yourself in a world of creativity and nature at the Nature Center at Hemlock Crossing County Park. On April 27, 5 – 8 p.m., the Lakeshore Visual Arts Collective will host “Art for the Parks”— a one-night-only pop-up art venue. Featuring the works of 40 regional artists across various mediums. Enjoy live music, indulge in delicious pizzas from Around Baking Company food truck, and support a great cause. Plus, 10 percent of all art sales will go directly to the Ottawa County Parks Foundation. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to blend art, nature, and community!

More information on Art for the Parks 2024 at the event page, here.




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