The friendly, experienced teachers at Allegro School of Music delight ears and bolster brains with a variety of music and movement activities for learners of all ages. The summer music pass offers tune-thusiasts two private lessons, with choices ranging from classical violin to blues kazoo (a $40 value). Children ages 5 and younger can enjoy sing-along songs, puppet theater, and tent-fort jam sessions at four open-play sessions (a $20 value), and those 7 and younger may attend four craft- and story-filled classes with their parents and other families, exploring exciting themes such as farm life, dinosaur kingdoms, and cat ennui (a $60 value). Hit up the Family Music Festival on July 26 at 10 a.m. and use the included $5 for food toward concession delights. Festival admission is free.
Once each new batch of beer has passed through The Hideout Brewing Company's 155-gallon system, brewers transfer it from fermentation drums into kegs one by one. The hands-on process takes time, but brewmasters still manage to keep The Hideout's 25 taps filled. Drafts like the Promiscuous Pilsner and the Gangster IPA are available year-round, thought most of the bar's selection rotates among specialty and seasonal beers, as well as occasional hard ciders and meads. The brewers are often playful with different styles of beer, steeping chocolate and jalapeños or using wild yeasts that build a complex maze of flavors.
Along with food from outside vendors, The Hideout's pours pair well with a modest menu of bar snacks such as mini tacos, corn dogs, and soft pretzels. Drinking and dining commences on the main floor, where Prohibition-era photographs surround weekly rounds of trivia, board games, and chess. Competitive shouts drift from shuffleboard and dartboards, and there’s also a horseshoe pit in The Hideout's backyard garden, where steeds respectfully leave their hoofwear before coming inside for a drink.
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.
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.