August 26, 2016
Dear Friend of Music and Talented Youth:
It has been a wonderful year with the talented and dedicated young musicians in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra. Last season, our orchestras gave riveting performances of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio espagnol, Marquez’s Danzon No. 2, Handel’s Water Music and Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 in A Major, just to name a few. About 50 of our students went to Vienna, Salzburg and Prague and played in the hometowns of Beethoven, Mozart, Dvořák. Imagine my surprise when, after our concert in Stephensdom in Vienna a man came up to me and congratulated me on our performance. He told me that he played in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony years ago and was now living in Vienna working for an NGO supporting freedom of the press. He saw our concert poster and simply couldn’t miss it!
What we do in the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra is very special: We tackle some of the world’s best (and hardest) music. We jump in with both feet and in a few short months present exciting, wonderful, and vibrant performances. When our students go out into the “real” world I know that, like our alumnus in Vienna, we have music lovers for life.
I write to you today with two requests. One is to join with me in helping this area’s most talented young musicians grow their musical abilities and a lifelong commitment to great art, regardless of their eventual vocation. We ask for donations twice a year, and if you haven’t helped us out this year, we would very much appreciate your generous donation.
Another is to invite you to our performances this year: October 30 at the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand Rapids Christian High School; March 5 at DeVos Performance Hall downtown; and May 14 at DeVos Hall. All of our performances start at 3:00 P.M. And when you come, bring a young person. There are no better ambassadors of great orchestral music to young people than our own youthful musicians.
Finally, I ask you to join with me in encouraging arts and music in our schools. We could not do what we do without the herculean efforts of the fine teachers in our schools. They need advocates. Encourage young people to participate in the arts and encourage administrators to keep developing their art and music programs. Without art and music in the schools, the future of the arts in our society is bleak.
Thank you for your support.
John P. Varineau
Conductor, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra