Although officially founded in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony's history stretches back to 1917 when an enterprising group of local musicians began practicing together and holding regular concerts. In the years since, the ensemble has retained this self-starter mentality while growing into one of the nation's preeminent regional orchestras. Always asserting its idiosyncratic individuality, the organization earned a 2007 Grammy nomination for its collaboration with flamboyant electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant and the ire of conductors for its rule that all batons should be able to shoot sparks.
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.
• For $38, you get two tickets for the performance on Friday, July 22, at 8 p.m. (up to a $79.50 value) • For $36, you get two tickets for the performance on Sunday, July 24, at 7 p.m. (up to a $73 value) • For $36, you get two tickets for the performance on Tuesday, July 26, at 8 p.m. (up to a $73 value) • For $36, you get two tickets for the performance on Wednesday, July 27, at 8 p.m. (up to a $73 value) • For $36, you get two tickets for the performance on Thursday, July 28, at 8 p.m. (up to a $73 value)
Blackhawk boasts a history as flavorful as its food, starting in 1830 when Colonel Isaac Barnes built a crude cabin that would later develop into a multilevel trading post, then into an event hall, and finally into the current bar and grill. The historic restaurant, which was rebuilt in the 1970s after a devastating fire, continues to draw crowds with heaps of old-fashioned hospitality, as well as a monumental menu of fire-grilled pizzas ($9.95–$13.95), pastas ($6.95–$9.95), burgers ($6.95–$9.95), steaks ($12.95-$17.95), salads ($6.95–$8.95), and more. The Wet Burrito ($8.95) forms the saucy spine of Blackhawk's Latin American menu with mounds of meat smothered in colby jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and black olives. The pan-fried walleye ($14.95) is a house specialty, pairing perfectly with frosty suds from the bar.
Scores of dedicated volunteers fuel the nonprofit community Muskegon Civic Theatre, which has entertained western Michigan audiences with classic and contemporary shows since 1985. The catchy melodies, energetic cast, and colorful sets of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat resuscitate the Old Testament in the historic Frauenthal Center. Musical styles ranging from country-western to calypso drive the biblical story that follows Joseph and his kaleidoscopic coat from his enslavement to his eventual inception as the dream interpreter of the Pharaoh and number-one active-wear model in Egypt.