Grand Rapids Symphony Salutes 'Queens Of Soul' With Spectacular Tribute

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Grand Rapids Symphony Salutes 'Queens Of Soul' With Spectacular Tribute

Detroit's own Aretha Franklin truly was the "Queen of Soul," recording more than 100 charted singles including 17 Top 10 Pop singles and 20 No. 1 R&B singles. The first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Franklin was ranked number one Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2010.

Tina Turner, dubbed the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," is a 12-time Grammy Award winner, ranked 17th on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Her 50th Anniversary Tour in 2008 became one of the highest-selling ticketed shows of all time.

Franklin died last year at age 76, and Turner celebrates her 80th birthday in November. But their music lives on. Together with their contemporaries, Patti LaBelle, Thelma Houston, and the late Etta James, they ruled the pop and R&B charts in the late 1960s and 1970s, paving the way for singers such as Whitney Houston, Adele, Alicia Keys and Amy Winehouse.

The Grand Rapids Pops pays tribute to the voices that revolutionized rock and revitalized R&B with Queens of Soul on September 27-29 in DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, to open the 2019-20 Fox Motors Pops series. Guest Artist Sponsor is Carter Products.

Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt will be on the podium for concerts at 7.30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday. Please note that 7:30 p.m. is a new start time for concerts on Fridays and Saturdays in the Fox Motors Pops series

Special guest vocalists Shayna Steele, Kelly Levesque and Brie Cassil join the Grand Rapids Symphony for songs such as Respect, as recorded by Aretha Franklin; Proud Mary, as recorded by Tina Turner; and New Attitude as recorded by Patti LaBelle.

The concert also includes such songs as Rolling in the Deep, as recorded by Adele; Girl on Fire, as recorded by Alicia Keys; and You Know I'm No Good as recorded by Amy Winehouse.

In all, 18 songs covering six decades of pop and R&B come to the Grand Rapids Pops stage in the show co-produced by Schirmer Theatrical and Greenberg Artists with musical arrangements by Grammy Award-winning arranger, composer, conductor and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik.

Guest vocalist Shayna Steel, who made her Grand Rapids Symphony debut at the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops with Women Rock! in 2017 and who returned to Cannonsburg Ski Area this past summer with Dancing in the Streets: Music of Motown, has appeared on Broadway in the original cast of Hairspray as well as revivals of Rent and Jesus Christ Superstar.

In December 2016, Steele reprised her role with the Dynamites in NBC TV's broadcast of Hairspray Live. She has been a featured singer with Snarky Puppy in 2014 at the Nice Jazz Festival and has worked as a sideman with Bette Midler, Natasha Bedingfield, John Legend, Matthew Morrison, Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson.

Vocalist Kelly Levesque has shared the stage with such artists as Sting, Jamie Foxx, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, Josh Groban, Michael Bolton, Smokey Robinson, John Legend, Patti LaBelle, and many more. She has been featured on several film and television soundtracks, including America's Sweethearts starring Julia Roberts, and the title song on the new Inspector Gadget series. She also has been a featured vocalist on numerous national TV and radio commercials.

Vocalist Brie Cassil has appeared in New York Off Broadway as Suzy in The Marvelous Wonderettes and as Blast in the new rock musical CHIX 6. She has performed as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, as Little Sally in Urinetown and as Mimi in Rent. She is lead singer with her band Rebel, and she has opened for Adler, the original drummer for Guns & Roses.

Tickets for Queens Of Soul start at $18 adults, $5 students, and are available at the Grand Rapids Symphony box office, weekdays 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across the street from Calder Plaza). Call (616) 454-9451 x 4 to order by phone. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum).

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place ticket office, weekdays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours before the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at

Special Offers

Full-time students of any age can purchase tickets for $5 on day of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Tickets program, sponsored by Calvin University. Students age 7-18 also are able to attend for free when accompanied by an adult. Free for Kids tickets must be purchased in advance at the GRS Ticket office. Up to two free tickets are available with the purchase of a regular-price adult ticket. Go online for more details.

Symphony Scorecard provides up to four free tickets for members of the community receiving financial assistance from the State of Michigan and for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, whether on active or reserve duty or serving in the National Guard. Go online for information to sign up with a Symphony Scorecard Partner Agency.

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