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.
Within an intimate studio characterized by exposed-brick, Tiffany-box-blue, and burnt-orange walls, Allegro Coaching stirs with a bustling schedule of more than 20 different group fitness classes per week. During warm months, coaches lead outdoor boot camp classes at parks around Grand Rapids. Certified instructors, many of whom hold degrees in exercise science and have trained MMA fighters, shepherd both exercise-uninitiated and seasoned athletes through the cardio and strength-training exercises of boot-camp sessions or muscle- and definition-building TRX-suspension-training, Pilates, or boxing classes. The studio's personal trainers also travel to local businesses, where they enlighten employees with wellness counseling and onsite coaching and offer practical tips for staying active in the office that move beyond typical exercises such as crab-walking in circles around cubicles or shadow-boxing the water cooler.
At the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse, yogis of all levels practice within a space maintained at a balmy 95 degrees, a temperature ideal for releasing toxins, warming leftover lasagna, and boosting flexibility. Seventy-five-minute cardio-heavy classes tone muscles and keep hearts steadily pumping blood through the body. Senior instructors lead Absolute Beginners classes, teaching the fundamental poses and terminology of Vinyasa sequences so pupils can eventually move on to more advanced Power Vinyasa courses.
The Elbow Room's cozy neighborhood confines welcome grub-guzzlers and fryer fanatics for spirited rounds of conversation and culinary consumption. Plop into a cushy green booth and sidle up to the menu, bedecked with a bounty of bar favorites that are served till 2 a.m. nightly. Turophiles can take leave from composing their Piave-themed opera and enjoy the dairy deposits of cheese-slathered items such as the chicken quesadilla ($7.25), deluxe chips and cheese ($7.25), chili-cheese-loaded fries ($6.25), or cheese pretzels ($7.25). The Elbow Room's savory wings ($7.25 for nine, $10 for 15) send poultry patrons aflutter, while the bacon cheeseburger ($8.25) impresses meat historians with its monumental merging of previously warring proteins. Vegetarians can opt for a large green salad ($5) or a garden burger ($6.75).
Lego bricks are the building blocks of most kid-friendly, collaborative projects at Bricks4Kidz—but they may also represent the foundation of tykes' minds. In step-by-step projects, kids work together to engineer prescribed structures and gizmos, learning to work together as teachers introduce concepts such as friction, gravity, torque, scale, and gears. The classes are tailored to certain age ranges, ensuring that children take on projects that are appropriate for their developmental skill set.
Grand River Music selects its instructors not only for their musical prowess, but also for their demonstrable teaching abilities. Students of all experience levels can strum the taut veins of guitars, bass guitars, banjos, or mandolins or study music theory to gain a deeper understanding of chords, harmonies, and the saxophone solos of Plato and Aristotle. Singing classes strengthen vocal cords, and song-writing classes encourage self-expression with reliable formulas. The school’s JamCamp gives blossoming musicians exposure to a collaborative group setting where they can learn to harmonize with other musicians and argue about which incarnation of Fleetwood Mac was the most authentic.
Grand River Music also stocks an inventory of instruments available for purchase, ranging from mandolins, banjos, and amps to acoustic guitars, bass guitars, and electric guitars. Students can also buy preowned vocal cords with their last words still intact. :m