Orchestra seeks memories, pictures for Centennial Celebration

Krystle Wagner • Sep 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM

The Grand Haven schools’ orchestra program is preparing to celebrate 100 years and is seeking assistance from alumni.

To tell the orchestra’s history, alumni are being asked to share their pictures, memories and milestone accomplishments from their time in the program. The information will be included in a slideshow and timeline for the Centennial Celebration planned for late October.

Information can be shared via the Grand Haven Orchestra Facebook page or its website at www.grandhavenorchestra.org.

Grand Haven High School Orchestra Director Melissa Meyers said it’s humbling to be part of the celebration and the history of the school district’s orchestra. She said it makes her realize how many years came before her.

“It’s all about the people who helped grow this program,” Meyers said.

A Centennial Celebration is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the high school’s Field House. The concert is open to the community and admission is free.

The concert will feature the grades 5-8 orchestras, as well as the high school’s chamber, symphony and concert orchestras. The orchestras will play individually and join together to perform the world premiere of a piece by Bob Phillips, a Grand Haven resident and composer.

Throughout the celebration, past and current directors will join as honored conductors and guests.

Following the concert, alumni, past directors, current directors, sponsors and the centennial board who are age 21 and older are invited to attend an afterglow celebration at St. Patrick’s Family Center in Grand Haven. Interested participants must RSVP for the afterglow, and can do so through the Facebook event.

Since it began in 1917, the Grand Haven school district’s orchestra has grown from seven members to more than 500 students in grades 5-12. Meyers, the current director, is beginning her 15th school year with Grand Haven.

Meyers said it’s rare to find an orchestra program so old and established, and she’s proud and humbled by the people who came before them.

Meyers said she has enjoyed helping the program grow, working alongside middle school director Tatyana Walters, and watching students grow into adults who share what orchestra meant to them. 

Walters said it’s been fun reaching out to alumni, some of whom have pursued careers in music.

“It makes it more rewarding to work in such a community that values music education,” she said.

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