West Michigan seniors enjoy special concert

Becky Vargo • Mar 30, 2017 at 12:00 PM

SPRING LAKE — Clay Boatman and more than 130 other West Michigan American House residents tapped their feet to the music when they were entertained Wednesday by a lively brass quintet from the Grand Rapids Symphony.

Boatman, a former trombone and saxophone player, said that he enjoyed the concert and liked the idea of the event being held right in the housing complex where he lives. 

Residents of all of the West Michigan American House senior living communities — Spring Lake (formerly Oak Crest), Holland, Jenison, Grand Rapids and Kentwood — were invited to the event at Lloyds Bayou, and they came by the bus load. 

Lloyds Bayou Director Barb Dekker said the private concert was the result of a partnership with the symphony, which allowed them to give back to the residents.

Residents and staff were also treated to champagne and hors d’oeuvres during an afterglow with the musicians.

Fruitport resident Ernie Wass, who still lives at home but meets with his senior friends at Lloyds Bayou, said the concert was excellent.

“This has been a great day,” he said, emphasizing that he particularly enjoyed the patriotic marches played to honor the service men and women among them.

Jim Walkenhorst joined his mother-in-law, Lloyds Bayou resident Pauline Devlin, originally of Omaha, Nebraska, at the event.

“We really enjoy music,” he said.

Devlin added, “They made it fun, too.”

The musicians entertained with a variety of classics, jazz and patriotic music, mixed in with opportunities for questions and answers, many about the instruments themselves.

“It’s a real honor to be invited and share our music with these folks,” said the symphony’s assistant principal trombonist, Dan Mattson. “It’s nice to be able to share our skills with them.”

Also playing were the symphony’s assistant principal second (French) horn Erich Peterson and second assistant principal trumpet Charley Lea, Western Michigan University professor and trumpet player Scott Thornburg, and WMU assistant professor and tuba player Jacob Cameron.

Residents will have another opportunity to hear the Grand Rapids Symphony in concert during an American House-sponsored event on May 2 at the Jenison Performing Arts Center. This is a private concert for American House residents, who will get the opportunity to hear a performance of the entire symphony.

“This is kind of a special partnership with American House,” symphony spokesperson Stephanie Snyder said.


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