Symphony members host porch concert in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The sounds of the symphony echoed through a Grand Rapids neighborhood Monday night.

One of the Grand Rapids Symphony musician decided to put on a show from her front porch on Innes Street on the city’s northeast side. She invited neighbors and two fellow symphony members to join her outside, implementing social distancing. 

It’s the first time in five months that members of the symphony held a concert open to the public as the pandemic has their performances on hold.

At a time when we are told to stay apart, this concert aimed to bring people together.

“We are not thinking about what we can’t do, we are thinking about what we can do,” said Diane McElfish Helle, a violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony. “I’ve never done a porch concert. I’ve lived here 30 years. It’s about time I do a porch concert.”

On Monday, Helle passed out flyers to everyone on the  block to invite them to the Innes Street Porch Concert. 

One by one, people came out of their homes serenaded by the sweet sounds of the symphony, sharing a seat on their lawn, a glass of wine or a greeting with neighbors and strangers alike.

As the sounds grew, so did the crowd, stopping people in their tracks and bringing others from far away.

“We are connecting people in a really profound way at a time when we all are feeling not so connected,” Helle said. 

The Grand Rapids Symphony plans to have more concerts at city parks. The schedule is still being worked out.