For more than 20 years, Copper Creek Shooting Academy's resident instructor and lifelong hunter, Mike Bernethy, has shared his expertise in shooting skills with first-time and seasoned students alike. In building his business, he also recruited the talents of fellow instructors, comprising two attorneys and two former members of the US Navy and Marine Corps. At several local facilities, they focus on safe weapon handling while still creating a fun and comfortable environment.
As West Michigan's only professional opera company, Opera Grand Rapids thrills audiences with the gripping tale of Verdi's Il Trovatore. The four-act opera chronicles a gypsy hag's lifelong revenge plot, fraught with kidnapping, a witch burning, and unregulated derivatives trading. Nationally acclaimed cast members, including seasoned tenor Arnold Rawls, belt out monumental arias and the spellbinding "Anvil Chorus" in elaborate period costumes. Operagoers delve into the dramatic story up close in the orchestra section of the 2,404-seat DeVos Performance Hall, refurbished in 2002 to further enhance the auditorium's sight lines and glowing amber wood panels.
Under the guidance of cofounders and brothers Mikhail and Arkadiy Sarkisov, the skilled coaches at Grand Rapids Fencing Academy enlighten budding swordsmiths on the essential techniques of modern fencing. During informative classes for all experience levels, students learn the foot moves, blade work, and confetti-cutting skills of èpèe-, foil-, and saber-style fencing. Each session is designed to improve mind-body coordination and flexibility while providing aerobic exercise. A wall of full-length mirrors allows pupils to view and modify their techniques inside the sprawling hardwood studio.
Mikhail and Arkadiy Sarkisov sharpened their fencing skills on the former Soviet Union's national fencing team before earning medals in their home country's national championship. In 2004, the United States Olympic Committee named Mikhail the Developmental Coach of the Year in fencing. Both brothers hold master's degrees in fencing and have placed highly in numerous tournaments across multiple globes.
In addition to sating stomachs with pulled-pork sandwiches and entertaining ears with live music, Cellar Brewing Company's dedicated staff fills glasses with libations fresh from its microbrewery, winery, and artisan distillery. The restaurant's plush, leather sofas sit beneath its rust-hued ceiling, and at a blond-wood bar, bartenders serve house brews and a variety of wraps and sandwiches. A glass of stout awakens taste buds craving a darker brew, and the cellar's servers pluck bottles of Michigan Apple Delight wine directly from in-house wine trees to complement sun-dried tomato and turkey sandwiches and soft pretzels.
Grand Valley State University’s athletic department brings together competition enthusiasts of all ilks for a three-hour celebration of sport inside the Fieldhouse Arena. GVSU Women's Basketball players and their coaches facilitate the festivities, guiding adolescent athletes through pinch-hits, free-throws, touchdowns, breast-strokes, and whatever happens in soccer. All campers will put their new-found skills to work as they face off against peers in their age group under the single watchful eye shared by all of GVSU's student-athletes. The athletic camp is hosted on Grand Valley's manicured, verdant campus, and campers must enroll before July 11th.
As the sun dips below Coopersville Farm Museum and Event Center’s grain silo, local musicians gather in the high-ceilinged hall against the backdrop of patchwork quilts and antique farm tools. They sing gospel, country, and folk songs that have been passed down for generations. Events such as these are one facet of the museum’s mission to honor and uphold rural traditions. In addition to the monthly jam sessions, the 12,000-square-foot facility hosts quilting circles, line dancing, and other skill-swapping events. Curators spotlight the region’s agrarian past by recruiting antique-farming tools and folk art and freeing hopelessly lost scarecrows from corn mazes. In addition to shining a light on the region’s past, the museum strives to support current culture makers; The hall serves as a gallery space for local artists, and during the youth-led Kids’ Day local teens teach tykes creative skills.