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10.27.16 – Luncheon Notes and Photos

SPOKES Notes written by Mark Johnson

President Michael Sytsma opened the meeting talking about Rotary Relevance. He congratulated Dale Robertson on receiving the Hispanic Advocacy Award from Grand Valley. Steve Starnes introduced the guests and visiting Rotarians and Grace said “grace”.

Jon Hankins invited Lindsey Droski to the podium to share her story about Habitat for Humanity and receiving a new home. Her husband, an Iraq war veteran, said “it means stability for their family”. Jon Hankins shared the statistics that Habitat for Humanity has had 35 volunteers and 262 hours from our Rotary Club this year so far. Rotary has also helped raise $6,500 for homes. Locally, more than $8 million has been raised to impact 300 families with homes. There were approximately 11,000 volunteers last year in West Michigan.

Larry Robson introduced the keynote speaker from the Grand Rapids Symphony. Peter Kjome shared the good news that Marcelo Lehninger had been hired as Music Director and would be conducting the orchestra this weekend. Lehninger will lead an all-Russian program, featuring a Russian-born soloist, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, October 28-29, in DeVos Performance Hall. Miller Johnson is the Concert Sponsor. Guest artist sponsor is the Edith I. Blodgett Guest Artist Fund. The program includes Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2, a work of hope and redemption as well as a superb “starter symphony.”  Grammy-nominated violinist Philippe Quint returns for his second appearance with the Grammy-nominated Grand Rapids Symphony for the third concerts of the 2016-17 Richard and Helen DeVos Classical series.

Peter shared that the Grand Rapids Symphony – led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Associate Conductor John Varineau, and Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt – touches the lives of some 200,000 people from 14 counties across the state through its 10-concert Richard and Helen DeVos Classical, six-concert Fox Motors Pops, three-concert D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops, and three-concert Crowe Horwath Great Eras among other series. Peter said the symphony has a budget of $9 million and is focusing more and more on educational programming.

The symphony helps 85,000 kids each year with educational programming. Peter shared that studies have shown music helps kids be more likely to stay in school and say no to drugs and gangs. The goal is to continue to expand the educational programming.

Peter and Marcello took questions from the club before the meeting was adjourned by President Michael Sytsma.

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