Category Archives: Entertainment

GVSU presents Guest Artist Recital: Yoo Jin Noh, piano on Jan. 31

Yoo Jin Noh

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University

Yoo Jin Noh made her debut with the Cape Ann Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in 2017. She also performed at the United Nation Headquarters in New York City for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2015. Her recent performances include appearances with the Quincy Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Halfner Symphony and a solo recital at Azusa Pacific University.


Noh, who was born blind, pursued her interest in music in early childhood and began her piano study at age 14. Despite her late start, she has received many awards from local competitions. In 2005, she received a grand prize at the U.S. String and Piano Concours of Hymn and played at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York City. In 2008, she received the VSA Young Soloist Award and was invited to play at the National Federation of the Blind Convention.

  • What: Yoo Jin Noh, piano
  • When: Jan. 31, at 7:30 pm
  • Where: Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus

On the shelf: ‘The Shipping News’ by E. Annie Proulx

By Amy Cochran, Grand Rapids Public Library, Seymour Branch


As the weather turns colder, I like to curl up with favorite reads of years past, especially books with settings that make me glad to be inside with a hot cup of tea. This year I turned yet again to The Shipping News and found myself as always completely immersed in the language and setting.


After losing his good-for-nothing wife to a car accident, Quoyle returns to his ancestral home in Newfoundland with his beloved daughters and an aunt finally ready to face her brutal upbringing.


This is the story of three generations of Quoyles working to climb out of past tragedy.  Proulx targets the bad choices people make in life as well as the choices that are forced upon them. Her prose style echoes the cold, tight-knit community that Quoyle settles into as she distills each sentence to its most essential message, as if relating a tale straight from the mouths of the village elders.


I enjoy watching Quoyle grow as a father and a man as he becomes a decent writer for the local paper, learns to love squidburgers and various types of bologna dinners and gradually surpasses his grief in order to look ahead to the future. I especially like the dark humor infused in every page, the horrifying stories melded with the amused resignation and jokes of the residents.


Quirky characters, a setting that sticks in the mind, and stark yet descriptive language make this a book I will continue to reread, probably during the winter, for years to come.

Songs from ‘Wicked,’ ‘Lion King,’ ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at Grand Rapids Pops’ Blockbuster Broadway

Jessica Hendy ppeared on Broadway as Grizabella in “Cats” as well as in Grand Rapids on its national tour.

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk

Grand Rapids Symphony


Ask anyone to name their favorite Broadway musical, and you’ll almost certainly get a list of several, if not many. And there’s only one way to hear music from many of your favorite musicals in one night.


The Grand Rapids Pops presents Blockbuster Broadway, with music from some of Broadway’s biggest and best-loved shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Chicago, and many more.


Hear songs from Wicked, The Lion King, and Jersey Boys at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26-27, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. Enjoy old favorites from The Sound of Music and Annie in DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW.


Part of the Fox Motors Pops series, John Varineau will conduct the Grand Rapids Symphony as the orchestra performs an eclectic mix of songs in the show created, produced, and directed by the acclaimed cabaret artist Scott Coulter.


Guests include Jessica Hendy, who previously sang at Grand Rapids Symphony’s “Celebrate America” concert at Cannonsburg Ski Area for the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops in July 2009. Hendy previously appeared on Broadway as Grizabella in Cats as well as in Grand Rapids on its national tour.


Scott Coulter, one of New York’s top award-winning vocalists returns to West Michigan to sing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” with the Grand Rapids Symphony among other songs.


Not long ago, Scott starred in An Evening with Scott Coulter: Broadway and Beyond at Kalamazoo’s Farmer’s Alley Theatre, a theater founded by a friend from music school.


“I think of my [singing] style as musical storytelling,” Scott said to Farmer’s Alley Theatre. “I do pretty familiar material but people often tell me that they felt like they heard the song for the first time – or in a new light.”


It’s not only theater and concert goers who enjoy Scott’s musical interpretation. The Oscar and Grammy award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, whose work includes Godspell, Wicked, and Enchanted, has described Coulter’s musical talents like this: “One of the best things that can happen to a composer is to have his music interpreted by Scott Coulter.”


Coulter has worked frequently with Schwartz, as have guest soloists Jessica Hendy, Kelli Rabke and John Boswell.


Called a “vocal powerhouse” with great range by critics, Jessica Hendy most recently worked with Schwartz on his cabaret-style show, The Wizard and I. Hendy, whose voice sometime seem to defy gravity, will sing some of the most electric songs of the program including “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, “Memory” from Cats, and, of course, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked.


Kelli Rabke

Kelli Rabke, best known for her role of Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Eponine in Les Misérables, also worked with Schwartz in The Wizard and I. As a frequent musical partner with Coulter, she will join him again in the upcoming show, Music of the Knights, which features songs composed by three British musical legends, all knighted by the Queen of England: Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Paul McCartney.


Along with other songs, Rabke will perform, “I Dreamed a Dream,” the song that serves as an emotional lynchpin in Les Misérables, one of the best-known musicals of all-time.


Music Director, pianist, and vocalist John Boswell co-arranged the music for Blockbuster Broadway with Scott Coulter. In addition to writing music for television, John has crafted numerous piano-driven albums, called “accessible, impressionistic tone-poems” by critics. For Blockbuster Broadway, he sings “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.


With the warmth and energy of the Grand Rapids Symphony, Broadway returns to Grand Rapids. Performed with a live symphony, it’s a rare opportunity to hear some of Broadway’s best songs by stellar vocalists.




Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at


Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Ticketsprogram, sponsored by Comerica and Calvin College. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

Be neighborly: One Wyoming brings back Winterfest community-wide event to seven neighborhoods

Students participate at one of the 2017 Winterfest booths. (WKTV)

WKTV Staff


After a successful debut last year, the One Wyoming Community Collaborative will present the 2018 version of its Winterfest community-wide series of events on Saturday, Jan. 27, with events planned any seven different locations but with one goal: to get people out and talking to their neighbors.


One Wyoming is made up of a collaboration of schools, businesses, local government, churches, nonprofits and residents to improve the quality of life in the community. It is best known for its successful 1-on-1 mentoring program.


Wyoming’s Winterfest is similar to National Night Out, which takes place in August. This years’s event will have seven different locations in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Each location has activities that have been planned by churches, residents and businesses of that neighborhood. Each site will have its own slate of events, but all will feature food, family-friendly activities, health related information and activities, and giveaways from businesses and other local organizations.


Where things are happening


The list of morning locations, open from 9-11 a.m., include: The Dock, located near Kelloggsville High School at 4669 South Division Ave. (actually Grand Rapids);  Wyoming Junior High School, 2125 Wrenwood St. SW; West Elementary School (with Calvary Church), 1840 38th St. SW; and Grace Bible College, 1011 Aldon St. SW.


The list of afternoon locations, open from noon-2 p.m., include: North Godwin Elementary School, 161 34th St.; Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center, 961 Joosten St. SW.; and Vanguard Charter School, 1620 52nd St, SW.


For more information about the event or about One Wyoming, visit


On Tap: Perrin hosts benefit winter fest, Bier Distillery goes all Tesla

Beer and cold weather do go together — really. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris 


Getting a good sweat going, for a good cause, followed by good beer and food? Sounds like a great idea for a cold January day.


Comstock Park’s Perrin Brewing will host its second annual “Perrin Ice Jam Winter Festival”, a benefit for the local Kids’ Food Basket of West Michigan, on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 3-8 p.m.


The event will feature live music from Jake Kershaw, Mustard Plug, and Hollywood Makeout, as well as specialty Perrin beers, and follows the running of the Frostbite 5K Run/Walk at 2 p.m.


Admission without running is either a cash donation or a donation of food items from Kids’ Food Basket wish list. The Kids’ Food Basket provides kids in need in the community with a nutritious evening meal. Perrin Brewing has already begun to collect food donations in the front foyer from the group’s wish list, which includes fruit/ applesauce cups, granola bars, toasted oat cereal, cheese crackers cracker packs, pretzels and snack-size zipper bags.


The run/walk is $25 for adults and $15 for age 12 and under. Packet pick-up will be on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Perrin Pub. The run check-in is from noon to 2 p.m., and online registration is available at Frostbite 5K Run .


Perrin Ice Jam Winter Festival pre-sale online tickets are available here .


Bier Distillery has Michigan first: electric car chargers


Also in Comstrock Park, Bier Distillery recently announced the availability of its Tesla car chargers, a first for a Michigan distillery, brewery, or winery, according to supplied material. Owned and operated by Bier Distillery, the Tesla chargers are available free of charge to electric vehicle drivers on a first come, first serve basis. There are four chargers that can be used simultaneously.


Got an electric car? Bier Distillery has a charge for you.

“Bier Distillery is proud to support the electric vehicle community,” Joel Bierling, president of Bier Distillery, said in supplied material. “The number of electric cars on the road will only be increasing in the near future. The cars need convenient places to recharge, and the drivers often need to recharge as well. … Why not do it in one location?”


Bier Distillery produces an expanding line of grain and fruit-to-glass spirits, beer and wine at the distillery. Its leading brands are Sole Cry Rye Whiskey, Devil’s Message Rum, Mum’s Ruin Gin, Heart Cut Vodka, Brillari Amaro Americano, Henry’s Absent Absinthe Verte, and JusttheShine Moonshine.


For more information visit bier .


GVSU Arts at Noon presents Perugino String Quartet on Jan. 24

The Perugino Quartet

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


Named after Renaissance artist Pietro Perugino of Grand Rapids’ sister city Perugia, Italy, The Perugino String Quartet has performed across Michigan and at the world-renowned Julliard String Quartet Seminar at the Lincoln Center in New York City. The group is composed of violinists Eric Tanner and Christopher Martin, violinist Barbara Corbato and cellist Stacey Bosman Tanner. Together, the quartet performs classics of the string quartet repertoire, as well as a variety of new chamber works.


The Perugino String Quartet centers its appearances around Michigan, having performed at many arts-based series and events, such as the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck, Art Reach of Mid Michigan and Muskegon’s Feeding the Soul of the City concert series.


Arts at Noon brings nationally and internationally known musicians to Grand Valley State University for 14 performances each academic year. All Arts at Noon concerts will take place in the Cook-DeWitt Center, located on the Allendale Campus. They will begin at noon and last approximately one hour. Every concert is free and open to the public. For more information about Arts at Noon, visit or contact Henry Duitman, series coordinator, at

On the shelf: ‘Unbroken’ by Laura Hillenbrand

By Jean Sanders, Grand Rapids Public Library


The author of the 2001 bestseller Seabiscuit returns with the remarkable story of Louie Zamperini. Laura Hillenbrand proves she is a gifted writer who once again strikes a perfect balance of solid research and wonderful storytelling. Unbroken examines the life of Louie from his wild days as a neighborhood prankster and petty thief to his transformation into an Olympic runner in the 1936 games.


In 1942, Louie became a crewman aboard a B-24 that eventually crashed into the Pacific Ocean. After surviving a record 47 days in a life raft, he was picked up by the Japanese and sent to a series of POW camps. Portions of this story are very difficult to read as Hillenbrand describes how thirst, starvation and fear of shark attacks plagued the men.


During the two years that Louie spent in the POW camps, he and the other prisoners were starved, brutalized and dehumanized by their Japanese captors. When Louie finally returns home he continues to face battles as he is tormented in his thoughts and dreams by memories from his war time experiences. With the help of his wife and a young Billy Graham, he eventually discovers the path which leads him from despair and eventually enables him to forgive.


As the subtitle suggests, Unbroken is a true tale of “survival, resilience and redemption” that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

‘Concerts Under the Stars’ begin this month at the GRPM’s Chaffee Planetarium

The Grand Rapids Public Museum begins 2018 Concerts Under the Stars on Jan. 18 hosting local band hi-ker for a fully immersive audio and visual experience in the Chaffee Planetarium.


hi-ker will feature experimental synth and post new wave bizarro pop. Visitors can sit back and experience the wonder of the cosmos and the wonder of music. Live concerts will be held through April with five concerts total featuring pop, jazz, folk and rock sounds.


hi-ker is composed of Spencer Gordon, Chris Ryan and Kohl Sprader, and their newest album titled “Lippe” was self-released on Dec. 1. In the new album, the band explores a more sample and synth-based sound compared to their previous works. With influences ranging from Talking Heads and Animal Collective to Aphex Twin, hi-ker is trying out new sounds that will be sure to keep your attention.


The January concert will also feature visuals by Nate Eizenga. Nate is a Grand Rapids native who moonlights as video artist, focusing on accompaniment for live musical performances. By using controllers intended for digital music production to create, mix and manipulate video in real time he crafts a visual experience that toes the line between artistic spontaneity and musical synchronicity. Since his first public show in 2015 Nate has performed for numerous events, including Concerts Under the Stars 2017.


Concerts will begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase.


Tickets are $10 for GRPM members, $12 for non-members if purchased in advance, and $15 for non-members on the day of the concert. Tickets are currently on sale at, by calling 616.929.1700 or at the Museum’s front desk.


The 2018 Concerts Under the Stars Series will continue on Feb. 8 with jazz from Edye Evans Hyde, March 1, with one-woman-band Jes Kramer, March 22, with alternative folk by Dan Rickabus, and will close on April 12 with the alternative rock sounds of Major Murphy.

Electric bikes, skateboards return for 2018 Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show

Electric Bike Place (powered by MACkite Board Sports Center) makes a return for the 2018 Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show displaying electric bikes and electric skateboards. The show is set for Jan. 18 – 21.


This year, Electric Bike Place is simplifying its design by focusing on two out of the eight bike brands: Raleigh and Haibike. Raleigh focuses on creating functional bikes with fun designs and moderate price points. Haibike focuses on creating bikes that let riders perform and their peak, featuring full suspension, fat tire, and hardtail bikes. Electric Bike Place will have one bike for display and the other for guests to ride stationary.


Evolve Bamboo One Electric Skateboard

Electric skateboards will also be available. This year, Electric Bike Place will be showing the Evolve GTX Street and All-Terrain electric skateboards. These are the latest design from Evolve, traveling upwards of 22 to 25 miles per hour and having a range of 18 miles. Electric Bike Place is the only Evolve Skateboard dealer in Michigan.


The 2018 Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show hours are 3 – 9:30 p.m. Thursday, noon – 9:30 p.m.Friday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. 5 p.m. Sunday. The event is being held at the DeVos Place. For more on the show, visit


Electric Bike Place is an ebike company based in Grand Haven and is an authorized dealer for Pedego, Focus, Kalkhoff, Faraday, Haibike, Stromer, ProdecoTech, and iZip electric bikes. Electric Bike Place focuses on ebike education, sales, service, and rentals. Electric Bike Place is powered by MACkite, a kiteboarding, snowboard, ski, stand up paddleboard (SUP), and ebike retail store that has been in business for more 30 years. For more one Electric Bike Place, visit

On the shelf — ‘A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World’ by Susanne Antonetta

By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Branch


How would you experience the world if you were N’Lili, with multiple personalities — all of whom are young girls, though N’Lili herself is a physically large, tattooed male? What kind of teenager would plan very carefully to kill a young boy in a bizarre way, while making almost no attempt to disguise his guilt? How does someone go from being a suicidal heroin addict, labeled a hopeless schizophrenic at one point, to being a good wife, a gentle mom and a successful university professor?


These are the types of questions Antonetta raises in A Mind Apart, an extremely readable book which draws on a number of disciplines and sources to delve into the conundrum of human consciousness, especially the minds that seem alien to us. A great book for anyone who loves poetry and philosophy with their neuroscience.



Snow Sports & Activities in Northern West Michigan

Skiing at Crystal Mountain Resort

By Jeremy Witt

West Michigan Tourist Association


Learn the essentials of skiing and snowboarding with the professional snowsports instructors at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, all while saving during National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in January, take advantage of special offers on lift tickets, rentals, and lessons.


All Seasons Hotel and Resort is conveniently located on your way to everything in northwest Michigan. Situated in the village of Kalkaska on US-131 at the junction of M-72, guests can ride their snowmobiles from the large parking lot directly to the trailheads for hundreds of miles of trail access. This great location is 30 miles north of Cadillac, 30 miles south of Boyne City, and 23 miles west of 1-75, making All Seasons the ideal location for snow skiing.


You’re invited to experience Black Star Farms Suttons Bay in its winter splendor. Explore their easy to moderate trails, then warm up with a glass of mulled wine and a hearty bowl of chili on their terrace patio. Round out your excursion with a tasting featuring award-winning wines, ciders, and spirits. This is your chance to take in the woods, orchards, and vineyards on their iconic estate while it’s beautifully blanketed in snow.


Evergreen Resort in Cadillac is the perfect locale for your ultimate Northern Michigan winter adventure. Located along a Lake Michigan snow belt, Evergreen Resort has everything you need for a fun-filled winter escape. You’ll have access to more than 200 miles of snowmobile trails, 100 miles of cross country ski trails, and trails for snowshoeing and downhill skiing.


Coyote Cup Youth Race at Coyote Crossing Resort

The 7th Annual Coyote Cup Youth Race at Coyote Crossing Resort in Cadillac is Saturday, Jan. 13. The event is open to racers 12 & under. These young snowmobile racers will enjoy an oval style track, as they race in five age groups across three categories.


Do you like to snowshoe in serene natural areas but enjoy a bit of friendly competition? Strap on your snowshoes and run through the beautiful snow-covered Grass River Natural Area in Bellaire on Saturday, Jan.13, as part of a fundraiser for their programs. This snowshoe race in northern Michigan is only a short distance from Traverse City. A prize is awarded to overall male and female 5K and 10K winners.


Conveniently located in Bellaire, just 31 miles northeast of Traverse City, the 4,500-acre Shanty Creek Resorts offers a variety of winter experiences for the entire family. The three distinct villages within the resort, Summit, Schuss, and Cedar River, offer everything from downhill to cross country skiing, multiple terrain parks, a multi-lane alpine tubing park, dog sledding, and more. With more than 180 inches of snowfall annually, snow-lovers can’t get enough of Shanty Creek. This winter, Shanty Creek Resorts’ Schuss Mountain will celebrate its golden anniversary. Opened on December 22nd, 1967, Schuss Mountain will celebrate its 50th anniversary with specials and events throughout the snowy season.


The barrel bar at Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery

This year, enjoy winter fun with the Old Mission Snowshoe Wine & Brew, Michigan’s only organized wine and snowshoe outing. Spend Sunday afternoons from Jan. 7 to March 11 with family and friends, taking in the sights and sounds of Old Mission Peninsula coated with shimmering snow. Board a tour bus, and visit Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery. This family-owned boutique winery, situated on 91 acres with breathtaking views of East Grand Traverse Bay, produces small batch wines including some of the most sought after red wines on the peninsula. Tickets are $28 per person, and include parking and shuttle service along with five samples at each stop, and various discounts for additional purchases.


Located in downtown Charlevoix, Pointes North Inn is a condo-hotel that is the perfect home base for your next up north excursion. Nearby, you can take a cross country ski trip, go on a dog sled adventure, take ski and snowboard lessons, and ride on a horse drawn sleigh. There are many more winter activities that await you, so carve your own path and plan your trip up north!


The Charlevoix area is a winter paradise. With lots of fresh snow falling weekly, there are lots of great outdoor recreation opportunities for everyone. Spend a day snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at one of the many nature preserves, then head over to Boyne Mountain, in Boyne Falls, for a variety of family friendly activities and challenging ski slopes. Winter is a great time to get outside and explore Michigan’s natural beauty.


Snow sports are a specialty in Sault Ste. Marie. Ice skate in one of the four rinks, or go downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and sledding. There are miles of snowmobile and non-motorized trails around Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding areas. You can even take your snowmobile downtown by following a designated trail. If you’re into cross-country skiing, there are trails throughout the area.


More Snow Sports & Activities in Northern West Michigan

GVSU presents ‘Anton, Himself: First and Last’ on Jan. 19, 20 & 21

Roger Ellis

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


This single actor tour de force reveals the deeply personal and artistic sides of Russia’s most famous playwright, Anton Chekhov. The play begins with the dramatist immediately following the failure of his early masterpiece “The Seagull” (1895) and concludes with the success of “The Cherry Orchard” (1903).


Written by Karen Sunde, this semi-documentary drama skillfully captures the soul and the spirit of this giant of the modern stage struggling with his literary identity, with the opinions of an often-hostile public, and with the challenges of pursuing romance and serving as head of a family.


The one-man show will be performed by Roger Ellis, professor of theater at Grand Valley State University.

  • What: ‘Anton, Himself: First and Last’
  • When: Jan. 19 and 20, at 7:30 pm, Jan. 21, at 2 pm
  • Where: Linn Maxwell Keller Black Box Theatre, Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus
  • Tickets: $12 for adults; $10 seniors and GVSU faculty, staff, alumni; $6 for students, groups — purchase tickets through the Louis Armstrong Theatre box office in-person Monday-Friday from 10 am-5 pm, by calling 616.331.2300, or online at

Snow Sports and Activities in Southern West Michigan

Timber Ridge Ski Resort

By Jeremy Witt

West Michigan Tourist Association


Timber Ridge Ski Area in Gobles has been giving families an opportunity to have some fun and make wonderful memories together since 1961. With over 40 acres of skiable terrain, Timber Ridge offers the easy runs for beginners and more difficult ones for experts. They offer lessons for any skill level, from ages 5 to 95! If you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, hit the tubing hill or relax in their lodge. Come on out and experience the family fun to be had at Timber Ridge!


Candlelit trails at Piece Cedar Creek.

Stop by the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings on Saturday, Jan. 27, and enjoy an evening on candlelit trails while taking in the enchantment of a rare blue moon, a term for the second full moon of the month. Stargazing and storytelling also may be available if the weather is clear. After hiking the trails, warm up in the visitor center with a crackling fire, coffee, and hot chocolate.


The Wings West in Kalamazoo is hosting wintery-fun events. Open skate and hockey is available daily, with times scheduled throughout the week. If you’d rather watch hockey than play it, they’re hosting the Pucks & Pints: Hockey Game & Tap Takeover on Saturday, Jan. 13. Enjoy a 24-tap takeover, and watch as teams from two Michigan breweries duke it out on the ice. Be part of the action, or watch it from the stands at Wings Event Center!


The Marshall area is perfect for cross country skiing. There are two nature areas that are excellent for hiking, bird watching, cross country skiing, dog walking, and biking. Both are located in lovely wooded areas where wetland wildlife is just waiting to be explored. Acres of prairie and ancient trees will be a highlight to your experience.


With more than 100 lakes, including two chains of lakes, Coldwater Country offers countless opportunities for anglers. The frozen-over lakes offer an opportunity to get outside and breathe in the cold, clean air. Spend an afternoon outdoors with friends and family in the quest to catch fish, or join in the festivities and contests at the Quincy Tip-Up Festival. Need an incentive to drop a line this winter? Try it as part of the Free Fishing Weekend on February 17th and 18th. This annual weekend provides two days where no fishing license is required for residents or non-residents, although all fishing regulations still apply.


River Country is home to a family-oriented ski resort with a snow sports learning center, kids learn-to-ski program, and cafe for grab-and-go meals. Ski and snowboard lessons are available with trained instructors anytime the resort is open. They can teach skiing and snowboarding, or help advance a person’s skills with one-on-one lessons.

More Snow Sports & Activities in Southern West Michigan

Snow Sports & Activities in Central West Michigan

The Luge Track at The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

By Jeremy Witt

West Michigan Tourist Association


The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is a beautiful facility inside of Muskegon State Park, and is the center of Muskegon’s winter activities. This huge complex offers exciting events and outdoor sports facilities to the public, including one of only four publicly accessible luge tracks in the United States. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and sledding are available on five miles of groomed track, day or night. Skis, snowshoes, ice skates, and sleds are available for rent.


Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus in Grand Rapids is hosting a female-focused event for intermediate and advanced level skiers on Friday, Feb. 23. The goal of the event is to improve your skiing, have a lot of fun, and make some new friends along the way.


Celebrate January in the crisp country air of Double JJ Resort in Rothbury. Have the time of your life as you race down the resort’s 660-foot tubing hill, or climb aboard one of the resort’s horse-drawn sleighs for a magical glide through the snowy woods. They have overnight stay packages through the winter, so that you will have a place nearby to warm up by the fire or in your jacuzzi. Double JJ Resort is an all-seasons destination.


Snow sports and activities are endless in Mecosta County. Soon, the City of Big Rapids will be opening a new ice rink for all to enjoy. A local farm offers sleigh rides, where you’ll enjoy a frosty ride through the woods before reaching a roaring bonfire. If you enjoy snowmobiling, the White Pine Trail is great for you, with many miles of trails for your convenience. Cran-Hill Ranch also offers a variety of winter activities, including ice climbing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing hills, broomball, and ice skating.


Lantern-lit Skiing and Snowshoeing in Ludington Skate Park

The Ludington area is hosting two series of events to help you enjoy some of the season’s favorite activities. Go on the Lantern-lit Skiing and Snowshoeing in Ludington Skate Park on Jan. 20 and Feb. 3 and 17. Bring cross-country skis or snowshoes and trek the one-mile groomed trail lit by oil lanterns. Park staff can help novice trekkers get started. The state park will also host Guided Snowshoe Hikes on Jan. 20 and 27 and Feb. 3, 10, and 17. Join an hour-and-a-half-long guided snowshoe hike highlighting the park’s nature and history through the park’s snow-covered sand dunes. The park has 40 pairs of snowshoes to loan for free on a first-come, first-served basis for visitors aged 10-years-old to adult.


The Mt. Pleasant area has everything you need for a winter experiencing the great outdoors. Their indoor ice arena provides public skating, hockey, figure skating, and more, with a pro shop for any and all gear you may need. On the northwest side of Mt. Pleasant, there is a 60-acre park, featuring a giant sledding hill! Grab your sled and have a blast.

More Snow Sports & Activities in Central West Michigan

St. Cecilia chamber concert to feature unique ‘piano for four hands’ selections 

Four hands on the piano. (photo by Masataka Suemitsu)

By WKTV Staff


St. Cecilia Music Center’s next Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center concert, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 18 will feature Society co-artistic director Wu Han and five internationally acclaimed chamber musicians performing the works of Brahms and Dvořák — including selections from both Brahms’ and Dvořák’s “Piano for Four Hands” compositions with pianists Wu Han and Michael Brown playing together on one piano.


At the 7:30 p.m. concert Wu Han and Brown will be joined by violinists Chad Hoopes and Paul Huang, violist Matthew Lipman and cellist Dmitri Atapine. Tickets are still available.


The musical and personal friendship between Brahms and Dvořák is the stuff of legend, according to supplied information. Their pairing brings to life the creative energy that reverberated between the German neo-classicist (Brahms) and the champion of Czech folk music (Dvořák), producing a glowing array of classical music’s most essential works.


Wu Hann (Supplied)

“Brahms and Dvořák were great friends. Brahms helped bring Dvořák’s music to the forefront in 1878.  Brahms, who was seven years older than Dvořák, mentored him and helped him to realize financial gain for his artistic works including some of the selections to be performed at the January 18 SCMC concert,” Wu Han said in supplied material. “Michael Brown and I will play Dvořák’s ‘Selected Slavonic Dances for Piano, Four Hands’, the works that brought Dvořák his first significant sum of money through Brahms efforts in introducing him to the esteemed Berlin publisher Fritz Simrock. We will also perform Brahm’s ‘Selected Hungarian Dances for Piano, Four Hands’, which was inspired by Brahms’ special affection for Gypsy Fiddlers and their music.


“These selections, as well as the two others to be performed — ‘Trio in C minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 101’ by Brahms, and ‘Trio in C minor for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 101’ by Dvořák were incredibly popular during those times (1868 – 1891).”


For a video introduction of the concert, visit here.


The concert will also likely introduce Brown, a rising star in chamber music circles, to the grand Rapids audience.


Michael Brown (Photo by Jamie Beck)

“The January 18 concert at SCMC will bring some new faces, introducing us to the next generation of chamber music stars,” Cathy Holbrook, St. Cecilia executive director, said in supplied material. “I’m especially looking forward to the pieces for four-hand piano that Wu Han and newcomer Michael Brown will be performing. It’s not often that you can experience two artists performing on one piano simultaneously in a chamber music performance, which makes this concert very special.”


Concert tickets are $38 and $43, and can be purchased by calling St. Cecilia Music Center at 616-459-2224 or visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Tickets can also be purchased online at .


A pre-concert wine and hors d’oeuvres event for $15 is available and begins at 6:30 p.m. (reservations for the pre-concert reception need to be made by Monday, Jan. 15.)


There will also be a pre-concert talk with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center artists in the Royce Auditorium to discuss the music selection for the evening and any other questions that pertain to the artists themselves. A post-concert party is open to all ticket-holders giving the audience the opportunity to meet the artists and obtain signed CDs of their releases.


The final 2017-18 season performance by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will take place April 19, with a performance including pianist Gilles Vonsattel, violinists Ida Kavafian and Erin Keefe, violist Yura Lee, cellist Nicholas Canellakis and clarinetist Tommaso Lonquich performing Mozart, Weber and Brahms.


Dancing into area, Grand Rapids Ballet finds new artistic director in San Francisco

Skyla Schreter and James Sofranko in Forsythe’s “Pas/Parts”, part of the San Francisco Ballet’s 2016 season. (© Erik Tomasson)

By K.D. Norris 


The Grand Rapids Ballet has named James Sofranko, currently a featured solo dancer with the San Francisco Ballet and an advocate for contemporary dance and social causes, as its new artistic director.


Sofranko will officially join GRBallet on July 1, after his final production with the Bay Area dance company, and will replace Patricia Barker, who is leaving Grand Rapids to lead the Royal New Zealand Ballet.


James Sofranko. (by photo Andrew Weeks)

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead Grand Rapids Ballet into their next chapter,” Sogranko said in supplied material. “Upon my visits, I was impressed with the dancers, the board, the staff, and the city of Grand Rapids. The company works easily in both contemporary and classical styles, which makes them a natural fit for me. I’m excited to begin working to continue to bring great dance to the city of Grand Rapids, as well as to continue my growth as a choreographer.”


The naming of Sofranko comes after a nationwide search by the Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Search Committee, led by co-chairs Dana Baldwin and Leah Voigt.


“On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, and dancers of Grand Rapids Ballet, we are excited to welcome James Sofranko to Grand Rapids,” Baldwin and Voight stated in supplied information. “He is a true star and brings a passion for dance along with the sophistication, grace, and knowledge required for this leadership position. We expect great things as we move forward in an incredible new era of the Company’s history.”


Sofranko is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, received his dance training at The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, and The Juilliard School in New York City, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, according to supplied information. Upon graduation in 2000, he joined San Francisco Ballet and was promoted to soloist in 2007.


He comes to West Michigan with a glowing recommendation from the leadership of the San Francisco Ballet.


James Sofranko. (© Erik Tomasson)

“James is an intelligent, thoughtful, and versatile dancer who has dedicated so much to the company over the last 18 seasons,” San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson. “He has also made a lasting impact on the Bay Area dance community through performances he has produced himself. With his vision, I have no doubt that he will bring Grand Rapids Ballet to new heights, and I wish him all the best on this exciting new chapter. We will miss him.”.


Sofranko’s last performance as a dancer with San Francisco Ballet will take place during the Company’s Unbound Festival in May. He will officially join Grand Rapids Ballet July 1.


Along with his duties to Grand Rapids Ballet, Sofranko will continue to develop SFDanceworks, currently presented in San Francisco each summer, and may continue his Dance For A Reason (DanceFAR) a dance event supporting cancer prevention, a cause Sofranko strongly believes in.


At GRBallet, Sofranko will be responsible for all artistic direction and artistic planning including programming and hiring of dancers and choreographers, production staff, touring, and outreach efforts.


He also plans to choreograph new works for Grand Rapids Ballet, as well as hire outside-the-company choreographers, so he will have an important role in development of 2018-2019 season programming, to be announced in early Spring 2018.


For more information visit .

On the shelf: ‘Vanishing Acts’ by Jodi Picoult

By Megan Adres, Grand Rapids Public Library, Seymour Branch


“I learned a lot that night,” Delia Hopkins remembers of a magic show her father held when she was young. “That people don’t vanish into thin air.”


Delia, a 32-year-old making her way in the world, uses her skills to find missing people with the help of her search-and-rescue bloodhound, Greta. One day, however, Delia has a flash of memory that she hardly understands. When the arrest of her father on kidnapping charges follows, Delia quickly finds herself overwhelmed.


With the help of a childhood friend turned reporter, Delia puts her life on hold, including her wedding, in order to prove her father’s innocence. Slowly Delia finds her father, Andrew, may not be as innocent as she believes. For 28 years Delia has lived one life. Yet her first four years add to the doubts surrounding her father.


Delia’s fiance, Eric, is a lawyer who agrees to take Andrew’s case. As the search for the truth begins, Delia and Eric battle through years of lies and deceit to find the truth that just may destroy the close relationship between father and daughter.


Jodi Picoult’s thirteenth book is sometimes heavy with drama but quickly engages readers. She focuses on the emotional impact of the case and lets readers wonder until the last moment who is guilty when both parents believe they were in the right. Vanishing Acts delivers all the drama, emotion, and plot twists of this year’s One Book, One County novel, My Sister’s Keeper and should hold readers in its grip long after the books ends.

GVSU presents Guest Artist Recital: Mika Sasaki, piano on Jan. 19

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


Pianist Mika Sasaki has established herself as a sought-after soloist, chamber musician and emerging educator. Since her concerto debut with the Sinfonia of Cambridge in the United Kingdom at the age of 7, she has appeared twice with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and more recently with the 92Y Orchestra in New York City. She has performed at venues including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Peter J. Sharp Theater, Palazzo Chigi Saracini (Italy), Minato Mirai Hall (Japan) and Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Japan). Her solo debut album “Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann” was released on Yarlung Records in 2016.

  • What: Mika Sasaki, piano
  • When: Jan. 19, at 7:30 pm
  • Where: Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts, Allendale Campus

‘Ebb and Flow: Explorations in Painting by Herbert Murrie’ Exhibition at GVSU Jan. 15-March 30

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


For more than 40 years, Herbert Murrie had a successful advertising and design career based in Chicago. However, because of his artistic upbringing and drive, he always returned to the studio in pursuit of a more spontaneous and freeing output.


In 1988, Murrie began painting more seriously and by the late 1990s, he was exhibiting regularly. Over the next 15 years, evidence of his freed state leapt off the canvas. Controlled manipulation of paint and color bore witness to his understanding of design, while his process of working intuitively noted elements of the artistic movements he grew up with in the mid-20th Century.


Like many artists, Murrie often steps away from his art and then returns to work on pieces in his studio that he feels are unfinished. This exhibition examines the ebb and flow of his creative process, while looking back at his painting career and forward to a new body of work. It includes 26 pieces that span his career as a painter — from 1995 to the present. They are drawn out of private collections and the Grand Valley State University permanent art collection, which includes 16 works that were donated by Herbert and Lisa Murrie in 2015.

  • What: ‘Ebb and Flow: Explorations in Painting by Herbert Murrie’ Exhibition
  • When: Jan. 15-March 30; opening reception: Jan. 18, from 5-7 pm
  • Where: GVSU Art Gallery (room 1121), Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts

On the shelf: ‘Ellen Foster’ by Kaye Gibbons

By Stephanie M. White, Grand Rapids Main Library


In her first novel, Kaye Gibbons tells the story of Ellen Foster, a strong, funny, and honest girl. Or rather, she lets Ellen tell us herself. Gibbons brilliantly plays her characters’ voices, allowing each to ring true. But Ellen’s voice is strongest of all as she tells us about her family, her friends, and her search for a place and a life she can call her own.


Ellen begins her story with her mother’s death and continues with the journey of her own life. It is indeed a journey; while Ellen moves  from house to house and family to family,she begins to form her own traditions and ideas of how to survive in this world. She learns to take care of herself, to take care of her friends, and to decide for herself what is right and what is wrong.


Ellen’s story is gripping because she tells it so well. As she talks about living with different families, dealing with death, living with emotional abuse, and finding friends along the way, she convinces the reader to trust her and to be a part of her life. We come to feel sadness for a girl who must develop her own sense of who she is and where she stands in the world, as she gets little help from those around her.


Yet, we also trust Ellen because we can relate to her. We may not have had such tragic childhoods, nor had to address racism, alcoholism, abuse, and death at an early age, but we have all had to come to grips with these and other issues at some point. We may be five or ninety-five but, like Ellen, we will always be making choices about who we will be, what we will stand for, and with whom we will share our lives. Gibbons’ readers will learn something from Ellen, no matter who they are now and who they hope to become.

Grand Rapids Symphony performs an evening of Tchaikovsky to welcome the New Year

Note: Video is from South China Morning Post


By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk

Grand Rapids Symphony


At the height of the Cold War in October 1957, the former Soviet Union sent Sputnik into orbit, the first shot in the race for space. Six months later, a lanky, 23-year-old Texan fired back on behalf of the United States.


In Moscow before a Russian audience, Van Cliburn gave dazzling performances of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 to win the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition.


Pianist Gabriela Montero (Photo by Shelley Mosman)

Cliburn returned home to a ticker-tape parade in New York City, a cover story in Time magazine and a recording contract from RCA Victor. Soon, his Grammy Award-winning recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto became the first classical recording in the world to sell 1 million copies, helping the concerto become an all-time favorite among audiences.


In January, Grand Rapids Symphony returns to DeVos Performance Hall with an All-Tchaikovsky concert including the perennially popular piano concerto.


Music Director Marcelo Lehninger leads the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 and in the Polonaise from Tchaikovsky’s opera, Eugene Onegin, at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 12-13, in DeVos Performance Hall.


Guest pianist Gabriela Montero will be soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for the fourth concerts of the 2017-18 Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series. Guest artist sponsor is the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund.


The Latin Grammy Award-winning pianist and twice Grammy nominated artist, who performed at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008, won the Bronze Medal at the 13th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1995.


A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Montero gave her first public performance at age 5. Three years later, she made her concert debut with the Simon Bolívar Youth Orchestra, earning a scholarship from the Venezuelan government to study in the United States. At age 12, she won the Baldwin National Competition and AMSA Young Artist International Piano Competition, leading to a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.


In addition to her interpretations of classical masterworks, Montero is celebrated as a brilliant improviser, a skill that’s almost disappeared among contemporary classical pianists. A fearless barnstormer who often extemporizes on musical themes suggested by the audience, her improvisations astonish listeners for their craftsmanship and clarity as well as their complexity.


Montero began improvising at the piano at age 4. For many years, she kept her improvisational forays a secret. The world-famous Venezuelan pianist Martha Argerich encouraged her to do it in public.


“At that point I made the decision,” Montero told the British newspaper The Independent in 2010. “I’m a classical artist and if the classical world shuns me because I improvise, then that’s a risk I have to take, because I have to show myself exactly as I am.”


Montero has been heard on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” show, improvising on melodies called in by listeners. Montero also has been profiled on CBS TV’s “60 Minutes” in December 2006.


Her 2006 recording “Bach and Beyond” for EMI, a recording entirely of her improvisation on themes of J.S. Bach, held the top spot on the Billboard Classical Charts for several months. Two years later, her follow-up CD, “Baroque,” garnered a Grammy Award nomination.


Montero won the 2015 Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Album for her debut recording as pianist performing Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, as composer of an original work, “Ex Patria,” and as an improviser.


  • Inside the Music, a free, pre-concert, multi-media presentation sponsored by BDO USA, will be held before each performance at 7 p.m. in the DeVos Place Recital Hall.
  • The complete All Tchaikovsky program will be rebroadcast on Sunday, April 8, 2018, at 1 p.m. on Blue Lake Public Radio 88.9 FM or 90.3 FM.       



Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS box office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm, at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Tickets are available at the DeVos Place ticket office, weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at


Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Ticketsprogram, sponsored by Comerica and Calvin College. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

Important lecturers, well & lesser known, visit Calvin’s 2018 January Series

Kevin Olusola has re-imagined the cello by mashing it together and the urban art of beatboxing into a new musical genre. (Supplied)

WKTV Staff 


Calvin College’s January Series of lectures, always an intellectual bright light in the often dark days of mid-winter in West Michigan, has never shied away important if not always pleasant topics and often bright national speakers to local audiences.


The 2018 edition is no different, with weighty topics discussed including poverty and racism, and speakers including a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a New York Times best-selling author and a former technology adviser to the White House.


But Kristi Potter, director of the January Series, says there was a conscience effort this year to bring “positive and encouraging stories” to the college’s Covenant Fine Arts Center.


“This year as I reflected on what was happening in the news and what conversations would be good to have on the series in 2018, I felt a strong need to bring positive and encouraging stories,” Potter said in supplied material. “So as always, we will hear from speakers on a number of difficult topics like poverty, racism, pollution, restorative justice and dementia, but we will also hear stories of how we can make a difference in the world with our influence, our power, our money or even our mindset.”


From Wednesday, Jan. 3, through Tuesday, Jan. 23, attendees will hear 15 speakers who are leading voices in some of the nation’s — and world’s — most pivotal and timely discussions.


Among the featured presenters are Katherine Boo, a staff writer for The New Yorker whose work has been honored by a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and Pulitzer Prize, and Jeremy McCarter, co-author of “Hamilton: The Revolution” and a person who witnessed the Broadway show’s journey from concept to cultural phenomenon.


Among the other notable, if possibly lesser known lecturers, are Kevin Olusola, who is best known as the beatboxing member of the Grammy-winning vocal quintet Pentatonix but has re-imagined the cello by mashing it together and the urban art of beatboxing into a new musical genre called cello-boxing. He will talk Wednesday, Jan. 17.


Shane Clairborne
John Swinton

Also notable, if under-the-radar, lecturers are Shane Clairborne, who on Monday, Jan. 8, will present a talk titled “Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why it is Killing Us; and John Swinton, who on Tuesday, Jan, 23, will present a talk titled “Still Waters Run Deep: Reimagining Dementia and Humanness”.


And, also as is the January Series overriding theme, spirituality plays a central role in many lectures.


“I think this year’s lineup reminds us to have hope that God is in control and there are good things happening in the world and good people leading this work,” Potter said. “And we can be a part of it.”


The series runs from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Covenant Fine Arts Center on Calvin’s campus. A repeat performance and conversation with Olusola will take place on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. No tickets required for the day or one evening events (but they do fill up quickly, so do not be late).

For more information about the January Series visit


On the shelf: ‘Copper Country Postcards’ by Nancy Sanderson

By M. Christine Byron, Grand Rapids Main Library


Local author Nancy Sanderson has created a wonderful treasure with her book, Copper Country Postcards: A View of the Past from the Keweenaw Peninsula. The book features almost 300 postcards from Sanderson’s extensive personal collection. The book gives a glimpse of Copper Country in the first half of the twentieth century. A foreword by Peter Van Pelt gives a brief introduction to the region.


By the turn of the 20th century mines and mining towns were well established in Copper Country and many immigrants had settled in the area. The popularity of postcards boomed and captured many views of places, people and events. Many postcards were mailed to family and friends and others were kept in albums as mementos. Real photo postcards documented significant events of the era. Sanderson has included a brief history of the postcard and a helpful list of postcard publishers that printed views of the Keweenaw Peninsula.


The first three chapters document the mining industry of Copper Country. Views include mines, shafts, smelters and mills, and machinery and operating equipment. The group portraits of miners show what a hardy breed they must have been to perform such hard labor. Scenes of the underground mine shafts are especially haunting in light of this year’s West Virginia mining disasters.


The chapter on the strike of 1913 features some of the rarest postcards in the book. Sanderson has collected views of the Michigan National Guard troops and their camps. The messages on the back of some of these cards give a social history of the time. There are views of protests and parades and a wonderful portrait of Annie Clemenc, the heroine of the strike. On a sadder note there are also scenes of funeral processions for the victims of the 1913 Italian Hall tragedy.


In the chapter on shipping Sanderson gives us wonderful postcard views of ships, freighters, and other boats. Dock scenes show workers loading copper ingots. Lighthouse views of the Canal Light House and the Portage River Light are included as well as a rare view of the U.S. Life Saving Station on the Portage Canal.


The second two-thirds of the book is devoted to towns and villages in the area. Chapters include Calumet and Laurium, Hancock and Houghton, Lake Linden and Hubbell and other towns. The breadth of Sanderson’s collection is shown in views of churches, schools, libraries, fire halls, banks, railroad stations hotels and more.


There are wonderful street scenes that capture the flavor of the town and parades that capture the spirit of the people. The postcard showing the Gay Baseball team of 1907 is a real gem. Scenic views of the Brockway Mountain Drive and Fort Wilkins State Park show the appeal the peninsula had to tourists.


The final chapter of the book features miscellaneous cards with such diverse views as snow scenes, the Freda Park Copper Range Railroad and the famous Cornish pasty. Advertising postcards feature some of the local organizations and businesses. A worthwhile bibliography and recommended reading list close out the book.


Sanderson grew up in Copper Country and has been a life member of the Keewenaw County Historical Society since the early 1980s. She has been active in the preservation of the area and in 2002 was awarded the Lauri W. Leskinen Memorial Award by the historical society for her role in developing a Commercial Fishing Museum located at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Museum.


Copper Country Postcards is a wonderful collection to be appreciated by postcard collectors or anyone interested in Upper Peninsula history. The full-size, full-color views are accurate reproductions of Sanderson’s original postcards. The captions that the author has written for the cards give relevant background information to the views. Sanderson’s generosity and commitment to the area is evident in the fact that the proceeds from the sale of the book will help fund preservation projects of the Keweenaw County Historical Society

Meijer Gardens’ ‘Drawn Into Form’ exhibit to focus Pepper’s visionary creative process


By K.D. Norris


There is probably not a vantage point on the grounds of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park where you cannot see Beverly Pepper’s monumental sculpture “Galileo’s Wedge”. Depending on one’s world view, it is either an authoritative metal finger pointing toward the heavens or an elongated monolith-like spike sinking deep into the Earth.


Either way, the 2009 acquisition by Meijer Gardens is a soaring steel object of visual beauty and, simultaneously, engineering mastery which rises nearly 40 feet into the sky and an undefined depth into the ground.


It is that imagination-bending blend of engineering mastery and visual beauty which will be the focus of the next featured exhibit at Meijer Gardens as “Drawn Into Form: Sixty Years of Drawings and Prints by Beverly Pepper” opens Feb. 2, 2018.


The exhibition is the first public showing of the gift of Pepper’s expansive print and drawing archives that was given to Meijer Gardens in 2016 and 2017.  Spanning seven decades of work by the contemporary sculptor, the archives includes hundreds of drawings, prints, works on paper and notebooks, with many containing sketches of her major sculptural endeavors on display around the world.


Beverly Pepper at Meijer Gardens. (Undated photo taken by George Tatge)

“The 2018 retrospective surveying sixty-five years of work is a rare luxury, and an unbelievable opportunity,” Pepper said in supplied material. “Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has clearly demonstrated a strong commitment to my sculpture and I am enthusiastic to now have this major body of my work there.” Pepper said in supplied material. “To have in one location a space to study, compare and sequence my drawings and prints is an exceptional opportunity.”


Pepper (born 1922 in Brooklyn, N.Y.) lives and works in Italy. Her works have been exhibited and collected by major arts institutions and galleries around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Les Jardins du Palais Royal in Paris, and The Museum of Modern Art in Sapporo, Japan.


Joseph Antenucci Becherer, chief curator and vice president of Meijer Gardens, sees the exhibit as a logical public extension of the artist’s gift.


“The importance of the gift and this exhibition simply cannot be overstated,” Becherer said in supplied material. “The opportunity to experience the sheer brilliance of Pepper’s work and trace the trajectory of her career from a realist aesthetic in the late 1940s and 50s, through her embrace of abstraction to become one of America’s leading abstract sculptors, is beyond compare.”


The exhibition will run through April 19, 2018.


Pepper is world-renowned for her work, which often incorporates industrial metals like iron, bronze, stainless steel and stone into sculpture of a monumental scale, but her vast drawing and print repertoire is lesser known.


Associated with the exhibit will be several special events including a March 18 discussion on “Five Great Women Sculptors” by Suzanne Eberle, Professor of Art History at Kendall College of Art & Design. The talk will focus on important female artists — including Pepper, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth, and Louise Nevelson — who have worked in large scale.


For more information visit .


On the shelf: Eating words

By Melissa Fox, Grand Rapids Public Library


With soup season in full swing and family and friends snug in their beds, it seems the perfect time to cozy up with some delicious reading. Here are the books and authors that I return to when I want to be satiated with words.


Gastronomical Me by M. F. K. Fisher follows newly married Fisher and husband Al as they make a life for themselves in prewar France. We learn how Fisher came to taste and savor food and the immediate impact France and French cooking had on her life. This book is filled with Fisher’s signature prose that is as luscious and poignant as it is deftly humorous.


My life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme is the story of how Julia Child became Julia Child. It tells how she fell in love with France, learned how to cook, and wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Not only is this book filled with lovely images of France and food, it is also an intimate, romantic portrait of Julia and Paul Child’s early years of marriage.


Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl are a series of memoirs from the last editor of Gourmet magazine. This series covers much of Reichl’s life, from her childhood with her mother’s fantastic parties complete with spoiled food, to her job as New York Times food critic. Reichl’s descriptions of food and life are as unique and hilarious as are they are tender and revealing.



GR Symphony welcomes new year with Romantic Serenades

Grand Rapids Symphony Music Director Marcelo Lehninger leads the symphony in the Jan. 5 performance of music of Tchaikovsky and Dvorak. (Photo by Terry Johnston)

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk

Grand Rapids Symphony


Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Antonin Dvořák flourished in another time and place, in a world before cars and planes, telephones and television.


In the very same era, nine prominent women of Grand Rapids banded together in 1883 to found St. Cecilia Music Center, to promote the study and appreciation of music.


Grand Rapids Symphony returns to historic 19th century St. Cecilia Music Center and the elegant splendor of Royce Auditorium for The Romantic Concert: Dvořák & Tchaikovsky on Friday, Jan. 5.


Music Director Marcelo Lehninger leads the Crowe Horwath Great Eras concert at 8 p.m. in St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NW


Highlights of the evening concert will be given at 10 a.m. that morning for The Romantic Coffee Concert, part of the Porter Hills Coffee Classics series, a one-hour program held without intermission. Doors open at 9 a.m. for complementary coffee and pastry.


The Grand Rapids Symphony itself is the star of the show with music including Dvořák’s Serenade for Wind Instruments, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, and a Brass Sextet in E-flat minor by Oskar Böhme.


“It shows off each section of the orchestra, strings, winds and brass,” Lehninger said.


Dvořák, who drew from folk music of his native Bohemia, was inspired by the Old-World atmosphere of the late 18th century when he composed his Serenade for Wind Instruments in 1878.


An excerpt from its third movement is heard in the 2004 film Iron Jawed Angels, starring Hilary Swank as suffragist leader Alice Paul along with Frances O’Connor, Julia Ormond and Anjelica Huston


Tchaikovsky, who loved the music of Mozart above all other composers, paid homage to the German composer in the first movement of his Serenade for Strings, composed in 1881, two years before St. Cecilia Music Society was founded.


The waltz in its second movement was adapted for singer and orchestra and used in the 1945 MGM film Anchors Aweigh. Kathryn Grayson sang the song titled “From the Heart of a Lonely Poet.”

The complete The Romantic Concert: Dvořák & Tchaikovsky program will be rebroadcast on Sunday, April 1, 2018, at 1 p.m. on Blue Lake Public Radio 88.9 FM or 90.3 FM.




Tickets start at $26 for the Great Eras series and $16 for Coffee Classics and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., or at the door on the day of the concert prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at


Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Ticketsprogram, sponsored by Comerica and Calvin College. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.

Relive the excitement of ‘Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions’ with Grand Rapids Pop

Grand Rapids Symphony’s Pokemon 2016 (Photo by Terry Johnston)

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk

Grand Rapids Symphony


Grand Rapids, I choose you!


More than 20 years after its initial release, Pokémon fans, ranging from young children to seasoned adult players and entire families, have followed and celebrated one mantra: Gotta catch ‘em all!


Back by popular demand, you can catch Pokémon at the Grand Rapids Symphony this January, where Pikachu and the gang will appear on a 40-foot screen while the Grand Rapids Symphony plays the iconic music of the beloved video game.


Grand Rapids Pops presents Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions in a one-night spectacular on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 8 p.m. in DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids.


A concertgoer brings a special friend to the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Pokemon 2016 program. (Photo by Terry Johnston)

Two seasons ago, Grand Rapids Pops presented Pokémon to audiences keen to engage in sights and sounds of the endearing game. Now, with the advent of the location-based, augmented reality game Pokémon Go in 2016, more people than ever are participating in Pokémon, capturing and training wild Pokémon to do battle and become Pokémon tournament champions.


As part of the Gerber Symphonic Boom series, this concert gives fans a different kind of immersive experience: a symphonic one.


The fuzzy tones and beeps of the game that originated on the hand-held Game Boy now give way to big-screen images enveloped by the surround sound of the Grand Rapids Symphony, performing musical arrangements timed to the visuals from recent and classic Pokémon video games.


Guest Conductor Chad Seiter, Michigan native who attended Grand Valley State University from 2001 to 2003, conducts the concert produced by Princeton Entertainment. Seiter, a prolific composer, arranger, and orchestrator for film, television, and video games has provided compositions and arrangements for some of Hollywood’s biggest projects, including Lost, Star Trek, and the Medal of Honor video game series.


Grand Rapids Symphony’s Pokemon 2016 program had many bringing special guests. (Terry Johnston)

In 2016 season, guest conductor Susie Benchasil Seiter conducted Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions to an enthusiastic Grand Rapids crowed decked out in Pokémon garb and Game Boys. The husband and wife team also collaborated to orchestrate and conduct The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess.


Chad Seiter, originally from Okemos, now serves as the Associate Executive Producer at Princeton Entertainment, and was the lead arranger and music director for all of the Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions concerts.


Together with Benchasil Seiter, he transcribed the score of Pokémon’s original composer Junichi Masuda for symphonic audiences, while crafting additional music to enhance the concert-going experience.


“We started by listening to every single piece of music in all the Pokémon games,” Seiter said. “From there, we narrowed it down to our favorites that tell the story of Pokémon. Then we picked the pieces we thought would work best with a symphony orchestra.”


Their musical efforts have resulted in what iDigital Times called a “once in a lifetime event.”


Memorable musical highlights such as the Pokémon Red and Blue Overture, and the beautiful “Kiseki” from Pokémon X and Y, were handpicked by Masuda for Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions. The concert also features music from the Pokémon anime series and films.


Perhaps Game Music Online puts it best: there are few things as fun as celebrating beloved childhood memories played out in front devoted fans with the help of live, symphonic music.




Tickets for Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions start at $18 and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)


Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at

On the shelf: ‘Until Tuesday’ by Fmr. Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan

By Lisa Boss, Grand Rapids Public Library, Main Branch


How does a dog, partially raised in a U.S. prison, save the life of a 17-yr. Army veteran?  Well–it’s a great story!


Luis Carlos Montalvan is a veteran and former captain in the army, with two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. But after two tours in Iraq, and the war wounds received there, he found his life unrecognizable. Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, along with other severe injuries, had turned his life into agony, and it stayed that way for a long time.


Meanwhile, Tuesday was a pup in a litter of Golden Retrievers, destined to become a Service Dog for the severely disabled, and tweaked to help veterans with TBI and PTSD. The day they met changed both of their lives.


This is not so much a book about a dog, as how a life that is almost destroyed, can be painstakingly put back together. Montalvan’s writing is powerful and engaging, and Until Tuesday packs a wallop in its slim 252 pages.




George Peoples exhibit opening at Pine Rest Keep Art Gallery

A new exhibit titled, “Celebration,” by local artist George Peebles, opens at the Leep Art Gallery on Jan. 3 at the Postma Center on the Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services campus in Grand Rapids.


Grand Rapids artist George Peebles is an international artist within contemporary oil painting. He paints from the compelling force of emotion that continues to inspire his fascination of nature acquired through his devoted walk in faith. His deep and full-hearted feelings are forged from the vivid beauty of nature’s landscape that transcend onto the canvas with vivid colors.


Peebles uses an array of colors, even though he is red-green colorblind. He uses this as a gift to show his vision in a new perspective. Before he was aware of his colorblindness, he had already majored in printmaking, drawing, sculpture, painting and photography from Kendall College in 1986.


With every painting as individual as can be, he continues to create his masterpieces from memory.


“Every time you go outside and see the sky above the trees, it is different no matter how many times you go to the same place. Each spirited work of art created is as special as the earth itself.”


The Pine Rest Leep Art Gallery exhibit will be on display at the Postma Center located at 300 68th Street, SE, Grand Rapids, Mich., from Jan. 3 until April 3, 2018. The Leep Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 616-222-4530 or go to

On the shelf: ‘The Floor of the Sky’ by Pamela Carter Joern

By Laura Nawrot, GRPL Main


I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book when I first picked it up. The cover is a black and white photo of a farmhouse and barn huddling under what appear to be storm clouds. Pretty simple at first glance, kind of how I thought the story would play out, but I was happily surprised.


The story begins with Toby, a widow in her early 70s who is hosting her sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Lila, at her Nebraska farm for the summer. Toby seems to be a typical caregiver kind of person because her older sister, Gertie, lives with her and Lila is pregnant and unwed. The reader quickly learns, however, that there is much more to these characters than meets the eye as the story twists deeper with each turn of the page.


Carter Joern narrates the novel in third person and alternates the point of view between Toby, Lila, Gertie and George. While this method of storytelling can sometimes be confusing, the author makes it very clear to the reader who is doing the telling as each voice changes by naming the character instead of numbering chapters.


One thing I really liked about this book is the pace set by each of the characters. At times I felt like I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough, and other times it felt like I could savor the words on the page. The funny thing about this book was that none of the characters appeared to be remarkable in an obvious way, yet I felt very drawn into the telling of their lives, especially as more and more about each of them was revealed.


If you’re looking for something a little bit different, I suggest you give The Floor of the Sky a try.



‘Traveling with the Bangalore Wanderlusters’ at GVSU through March 2

By Maya Grant

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


In fall 2016, Maya Grant traveled to India on a study abroad scholarship from the GVSU Padnos International Center. Grant, a sociology major, was led to India by a need to escape and explore. She studied at Christ University in Bengaluru, volunteered at a local non-profit and captured her experiences and interactions through photography. On the weekends, Grant joined a group of expats called the Bangalore Wanderlusters, and traveled throughout Karnataka and its neighboring states. This exhibition includes more than 25 photographs documenting her experiences studying abroad, and exploring the landscape and people of India.

  • What: ‘Traveling with the Bangalore Wanderlusters: Reflections on a Semester in India by Maya Grant’
  • When: Exhibition on display through March 2
  • Where: Blue Wall Gallery (Building B), DeVos Center, Pew Grand Rapids Campus

On Tap: Railtown takes over Ionia, 57 Brew Pub sold, beer & doughnuts

Railtown Brewing Company knows its beers and has the taps to proved it. (

By K.D. Norris 


Kentwood’s Railtown Brewing Company — OK, actually Dutton’s Railtown — will be invading downtown Grand Rapids Ionia Avenue next week when several holiday variations of its Good Mooed milk stout are featured at a Tap Take Over at the Craft Beer Cellar.


According to Facebook posts by both brewer and tapper, the Railtown Good Mooed Tap Take Over will take place Thursday, Dec, 28, from 6-10 p.m. The Craft Beer Cellar is located at 404 Ionia Ave. SW.


Plan is, at this point, to have four versions of Railtown’s milk stout on tap. In addition to its Good Mooed (a true-to-style milk stout), also available will be Festive Mooed (featuring coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg), Best Mooed Ever (with coconut, almond and chocolate — think Almond Joy), and Viscous Mooed, which is described as “A completely new and experimental brew for Railtown. The base remains true to the Good Mooed brand however, it was double mashed leading to an ABV of 10.3 percent. They also added a generous amount of bittersweet cocoa. The resulting brew is thick, rich, and chocolaty with a nice balance between sweet and bitter.”


Oh ya, there will also be a couple other non-mooed kegs from Railtown on tap for those not into being mooed.


Also, remember there is free street parking at downtown parking meters after 5 p.m. weekdays. For more information visit the Facebook pages of either.


Greenville’s 57 Brew Pub and microbrewery sold, taps and all 


After five years in business, and plenty of great beers brewed and backyard concerts held, the 57 Brew Pub & Bistro has been sold to investment group HMV Holdings, according to a press release by Calder Capital.


HMV Holdings is a partnership between Andy Hurst, Jason Mahar, and Marc Vander Velde, who all have strong ties to the Greenville area and are excited to share their brewpub vision with the community, Hurst told WKTV.  Planned changes include a tap expansion that will allow them to continue to brew and serve their own beer while also offering other craft beers from around the state and country.


Founded in 2012 — and known to locals as simply “57 Brew Pub” — the pub is a family-owned, award-winning microbrewery and restaurant, according to the release. The business was designed and built from the ground up as a brewery and brew pub, and was founded and run by Greenville locals, Bob and Dottie Olsen. They decided to sell in order to retire to a warmer climate, and say they are pleased that the brewery will continue to be operated by locals.


For more information on 57 Brew Pub visit .


GRPM Beer Explorers goes all beer and doughnuts


Founders Brewing Company, Robinette’s and the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) will join forces for the next museum Beer Explorers program on Jan. 11, 2018,  as Beer & Doughnuts will offer a twist on a Founders beer tasting.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program will pair Founders beer with Robinette’s doughnuts. (Supplied)

According to supplied information, this class pairs Founders beer with Robinette’s doughnuts, allowing participants to “explore their sense of taste and what combinations appeal to individual palates.”


The class begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held on the 1st floor of the GRPM. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as four beer and doughnut samples. A cash bar will also be available.


Spoiler alert: Beer Explorers will continue on Feb. 8 with Brewery Vivant and the Pilot Malt House to learn all about how malts influence the different beers. They had me at Vivant …


Tickets are $22 for non-museum members and participants must be age 21 or older. Tickets can be purchased at


‘Drawn from the Desert: Australian Aboriginal Paintings’ at GVSU through March 2

By Matthew Makowski, Grand Valley State University


From 1940-1960, the Australian government forced Aboriginal groups off their lands and into organized communities of the Central Desert region and along the northern coast. Papunya, located about 150 miles northwest of Alice Springs, was the final community established to collect these displaced groups, and where the contemporary Australian Aboriginal art movement began.


This exhibition is drawn out of a recent gift of Australian Aboriginal paintings to Grand Valley State University, created by artists from Papunya and the surrounding region. It features artwork that provides insight into Aboriginal life, retellings of important ancient stories and symbols, and the sacred sites of this vast and arid landscape.

  • What: ‘Drawn from the Desert: Australian Aboriginal Paintings from the Central and Western Deserts’
    Exhibition on display through March 2
    Kirkhof Center Gallery (main floor), Allendale Campus

On the shelf: ‘The Killer Within: In the Company of Monsters’ by Philip Carlo

By Grand Rapids Public Library


The irony of being stalked by an remorseless killer is never far from Carlo’s mind, as he writes his last book,  which is the one we are reading. Diagnosed with ALS in 2005, he became even more driven to finish his projects before his “deadline”, and the result is that we are able to learn a little about life from a courageous man.


A true-crime writer for nearly 30 years, Carlo specialized in contract and serial killers. In this memoir he explains how his life intersected and diverged with Mafia figures at an early age. An inappropriate sexual relationship with a young female teacher led to the revelation that he was dyslexic. She helped him to read and it changed his life so much that he realized he wanted to be a writer. Later, he would  be drawn to subjects growing out of his early life in Brooklyn. Events, good and bad, shaped his journey, including a chilling series of encounters with a pedophile that almost ended his life.


Carlo ultimately saw his mission in unearthing and exposing the root and branch of the sociopathic personality, to understand them and  to warn others. The juxtaposition of the relentless disease process of ALS, and the “monsters” of Carlo’s acquaintance is thought provoking. Because who is not fascinated by evil? As long as humanity has struggled to understand it’s secrets, so it eludes us.