Symphony awarded NEA grant

Grand Rapids Symphony, under the direction of Marcelo Lehninger. Courtesy photo.

The Grand Rapids Symphony has announced it is the recipient of a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The money will be allocated to its Music For Health initiative, which provides support in the form of music to patients facing health challenges in area medical facilities. 

Among 1,130 projects chosen by the NEA in the second round of funding, the money will be used to continue the symphony’s practice of sending musicians into local hospitals, veterans centers and senior care facilities to perform music that targets specific medical goals; a practice that improves physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences for patients, their families, and the providers who care for them.

Diane McElfish Helle, Grand Rapids Symphony.

“We are thrilled and honored that the NEA has recognized the value of our Music for Health program and offered this support,” said the symphony’s Music For Health administrator Diane McElfish Helle, a violinist who has been with the Grand Rapids Symphony for more than 40 years. “This grant will enable us to extend our service further as we provide live music for music therapy sessions with patients recovering from brain injury, cancer, and other challenges.” 

During a time when patients are facing a time wrought with anxiety and uncertainty, Music for Health is provides important, supportive, emotional, physical, and mental health aid to people who would not otherwise be able to experience the power of live music. 

“These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson.





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