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.
The Murder Mystery Company's talented troupe of improv actors performs live-action murder mysteries at public and private events to sharpen guests' latent detective skills. Throughout the play, the cast drops hints and misdirects blame, inviting audience members to get involved in a web of intrigue and hilarity. Besides public dinner parties, murder mysteries can unfold during corporate events, team-building exercises, and birthday parties for aging Sherlock Holmes impersonators.
Cascade Yoga Studio's trained yogis teach students to rekindle inner harmony. With an emphasis on body awareness and the controlled inhalations and exhalations that support each posture, they teach this ancient yet progressive holistic practice. Classes of all skill levels take place in rooms adjusted to heat levels between 72 and 90 degrees to augment each class's effects. The studio works to abolish physical and mental limitations with a variety of yoga types, which include Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, and Yin.
Most of Cascade's instructors migrated to yoga from careers in healthcare, and many are practicing physical therapists or have knit sweaters for cold stethoscopes. Cascade Yoga Studio also illuminates the path for aspiring yogis by hosting teacher training classes, which teach meditation, key alignment principles, and each yoga style's effects.
After slinging itself onto the Michigan art scene in 1996, The Mud Room has since spun into a hub of creativity for artists of all ages and artistic experience. Under the direction of the studio's in-house teachers, small groups learn to wield everything from paintbrushes to pottery wheels during four types of classes, which teach such skills as fusing colored glass tiles into kaleidoscopic works or hand-forming ceramics to recreate ancient casseroles. Customers can also stop in to paint pre-made ceramics themselves. The pieces come in various shapes and sizes, which patrons can adorn with colored glaze before handing their artwork over to the professionals to be fired and finished. The studio also offers group pottery classes for parties including girls' nights out, birthdays, and kids' celebrations. In keeping with its safety-first approach, The Mud Room features only nontoxic, lead-free products, ensuring the finished pieces are safe to use with food.
As the top AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, the Grand Rapids Griffins glide through Van Andel Arena on a quest to dominate the Western Conference. Bone-rattling checks and supersonic breakaways echo in the 10,000-seat venue as the Griffins take on Midwest Division rivals. Having sent 125 former players to the National Hockey League, the Griffins provide audiences with an opportunity to scope out future stars, whose autographed pucks can be added to memorabilia collections or given to mascots Griff and Finn to help build their nest in the arena’s rafters.
Founded by local civic leaders in 1854, the Grand Rapids Public Museum continues to keep the city’s history alive in the minds of its current residents with a trove of exhibits that explore West Michigan’s natural and cultural past. Current exhibits and standing collections cast a spotlight on past and future centuries, giving voice to the stories that helped shape our modern world while speculating about when our politicians will be finally replaced with robots. If visitors to the three-story Van Andel Museum Center can pry their eyes away from the exhibitions inside, they will be treated to stunning views of the downtown skyline; similarly, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium enthralls with its panoramic photographs and up-close looks at the night sky.
Just as history constantly replenishes itself, the Grand Rapids Public Museum never stops working to collect local treasures, educate members through camps and special programs, and develop projects for the future.