Grand Rapids Symphony to commission work in Betty Ford’s memory

Posted on: July 15, 2011

In Friday’s (7/15) Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk writes, “The Grand Rapids Symphony will commission an orchestral tribute to honor the late First Lady Betty Ford that will be premiered during the orchestra’s upcoming 2011-12 season. The announcement was made [Thursday] evening at the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Picnic Pops concert at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Details were finalized this afternoon with Grand Rapids area composer David Culross. Betty Ford was interred this afternoon at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in downtown Grand Rapids on the 98th anniversary of President Ford’s birth in 1913. … The Grand Rapids Symphony previously commissioned Culross to compose a work for narrator and orchestra honoring former President Gerald R. Ford following his death in December 2006. That work, ‘One of Us, Portrait of a Humble Healer,’ was premiered in May 2008 with Broadway star Doug LaBrecque, a Battle Creek native, narrating and associate conductor John Varineau leading the orchestra. The orchestra has recorded the 15-minute work for a compact disc. ‘Given the strong connection of our former President and First Lady to our city, all of us feel it is very important that this work composed in honor of Betty Ford should be written in Grand Rapids and premiered by our Grand Rapids Symphony,’ said Peter Kjome, Grand Rapids Symphony president and CEO.”

Photo of the Grand Rapids Symphony by Jon M. Brouwer/Grand Rapids Press

Posted July 15, 2011