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THE SNOWMAN Returns to The Grand Rapids Symphony Stage

THE SNOWMAN Returns to The Grand Rapids Symphony Stage

Enjoy the end of the holiday season with the delightful tale, the charming animation, and the magical music of The Snowman. Back by popular demand, the classic animated film, returns to Grand Rapids to inspire children of all ages and open the Grand Rapids Symphony's 2019-20 DTE Energy Foundation Family Series.

The hour-long concert, which has sold-out past performances by the Grand Rapids Symphony, features the well-known animated film, projected onto a 40-foot screen while accompanied by the musical score performed live at 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW.

Hailed as "iconic and ethereal" The Snowman wordlessly tells the story of a boy who builds a snowman who comes to life and leads him on a wide-eyed and wondrous adventure to meet Father Christmas.

Led by Associate Conductor John Varineau, the Grand Rapids Symphony will perform the magical score by Howard Blake as the snowman and his young friend adventure through darkened woods, over rolling mountains, and above quiet ocean waves in the film that garnered an Academy Award nomination in 1982.

plucky violins and xylophones for mischief, reflective piano melodies for soft, falling snow, and deep bass notes for night-time flight - it is an invitation for children ages 8 to 13 and adults to savor the simple joys of the holiday season.

Besides The Snowman, the program also features the Grand Rapids Symphony performing such wintery melodies as the "Winter Train Ride" from Prokofiev's Winter Bonfire Suite and the "Winter" Concerto from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.

Violinist Paola Dara, of Grandville, who formerly served as concertmaster of the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, will return as soloist in the concerto movement from The Four Seasons. Dara is a past winner of the Vamos Violin Concerto Competition for high school violinists at Western Illinois University, where he won first prize in 2013 during his sophomore year at Grandville High School. He went on to be a semifinalist in 2018 at the Irving M. Klein International String Competition in San Francisco.

Come early for pre-concert activities beginning at 2 p.m. Children can experience the joy of making music with an instrument petting zoo and keep their creative juices flowing with crafts inspired by the playful snowman they'll soon see in the show.

published in 1978 by famed children's illustrator Raymond Briggs, The Snowman has become one of the world's most popular children's books, selling in excess of 8.5 million copies worldwide, with translations into 15 different languages.

Adapted for screen by producer John Coates, the 30-minute film first premiered in the United Kingdom in 1982 on a British public television station. The film quickly became a beloved staple of the Christmas season in Great Britain, and later found a home in America, with the help of an introduction by rock icon David Bowe. The film has since been broadcast on a global scale, and garnered an Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA TV award.

First performed by Peter Auty, a choirboy at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, the song, "Walking in the Air," provides the only dialogue in the otherwise wordless film. The startlingly beautiful melody with an almost haunting orchestration will be performed by singers of the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus's select ensemble, Mandala.


Tickets for The Snowman are $15 adults, $5 children, available by calling the GRS ticket office at (616) 454-9451 ext. 4. Phone orders will be charged a $3 per ticket handling fee ($18 maximum per order). There are no fees for tickets purchased in person at the GRS ticket office at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across the street from Calder Plaza). Ticket office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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

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.

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts, the breadth of its educational programs, and the innovation of its efforts to support diversity, equity and inclusion as well as to serve the wider community in non-traditional settings. Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, the Grand Rapids Symphony presents nine concert series each year. Its Gateway to Music provides a matrix of 18 unique access and educational programs for adults and children of all ages. Altogether, West Michigan's largest performing arts organization offers more than 400 performances per year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens or people with disabilities. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, and the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in April 2021. GRS collaborates annually with Opera Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Ballet and biennially with the Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Kalamazoo.

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