Two Grand Rapids concert halls kick off new seasons with touring stars this fall, while the downtown arena continues to make headlines nationally.
Bruce Hornsby, Irma Thomas & The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tower of Power and the Dublin Irish Dance troupe will pump up this year’s concert series at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center.
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The FHFAC’s 14th season will kick off Oct. 30 with a Southern twist: New Orleans singer and “soul queen” Irma Thomas, along with the Grammy Award-winning gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet. Billed as “The Heart and Soul Queen of New Orleans,” this combo is touring the United States together for the first time. (Single tickets, $32-$50, on sale Oct. 4.)
On Jan. 17, another milestone tour will play the FHFAC at 600 Forest Hill Ave. SE: The Tower
of Power 50th Anniversary Tour featuring the legendary Tower of Power, which has been churning out its horn-driven “urban soul music” since 1968. (Single tickets, $40-$60, on sale Nov. 6.)
The four-concert series continues on Feb. 8 with Dublin Irish Dance and its production of “Stepping Out,” which tells the story of the Irish immigration to America after The Great Famine. This production features “favorite Irish melodies, traditional steps and Celtic instrumentation.” (Single tickets, $28-$40, on sale Nov. 6.)
Finally, the series closes out with the return of Bruce Hornsby, the eclectic, genre-spanning piano-playing favorite who’s made a splash on everything from pop music to the jam-band scene. The Grammy-winning musician has played Forest Hills Fine Arts Center before and most recently performed with his band, The Noisemakers, at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in July.
Season tickets — $146-$176 — go on sale at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 at the box office or by calling 616-493-8966. Details online at fhfineartscenter.com.
CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE, BRAD MEHLDAU & MORE TO LIGHT UP ST. CECILIA JAZZ SERIES
Grand Rapids’ St. Cecilia Music Center will once again host stars of jazz, folk and classical music for its 2017-2018 season, with Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride kicking off the jazz series on Nov. 16, cellist David Finckel leading the “Essential String Trio” show for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center series on Nov. 2, and acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke launching the Acoustic Café Series on Oct. 26.
The renovated Royce Auditorium will host what executive director Cathy Holbrook calls “a jazz series for the record books,” focusing on favorite artists from the first 10 years of St. Cecilia’s jazz series.
Featured performers will be bassist McBride and his trio on Nov. 16; jazz pianist and composer Brad Mehldau and his trio on Nov. 30; Grammy-winning singer Gregory Porter on Feb. 22; and world-renowned jazz singer and composer Kurt Elling on March 22.
The previously announced Acoustic Café Folk Series so far has booked guitarist Leo Kottke for Oct. 26 and folk icon Judy Collins for Feb. 1, with more announcements to come.
The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Series will feature “Essential String Trio” (David Finckel, Arnaud Sussman, Paul Neubauer) on Nov. 2, “Brahms & Dvorak” (Wu Han, Michael Brown, Chad Hoopes, Paul Huang, Matthew Lipman, Dmitri Atapine) on Jan. 18, and “Mozart, Weber & Brahms” (Lilles Vonsattel, Ida Kavafian, Erin Keefe, Yura Lee, Nicholas Canellakis, Tommaso Lonquich) on April 19.
Season subscription tickets to the 2017-18 jazz and chamber music series are available by calling 616-459-2224 or visiting St. Cecilia Music Center at 24 Ransom Ave. NE. Single tickets to chamber, jazz, and Acoustic Café concerts are also on sale now and can be purchased by phone at 616-459-2224 or online at scmc-online.org. Single tickets range in price from $35 to $55, depending on the concert.
VAN ANDEL ARENA, DEVOS BOOST REVENUE DURING ANNIVERSARY YEAR
SMG, which manages the facilities, hosted 37 events at Van Andel Arena – including a concert by Paul McCartney which set a record for gross ticket sales for a single event – that boosted revenue over the previous year at the facility which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
(According to Pollstar, the arena also ranked 75th in the world among arena venues for ticket sales the first six months of 2017. Grand Rapids’ The Intersection was No. 34 among “club venues.”)
According to SMG, the revenue totals for all three facilities resulted in a “record-breaking combined fiscal performance” for the year, which also saw regional general manager Richard MacKeigan named among Billboard’s “Top Arena Managers” and earning “Hall of Headlines” honors for bookings from Venue Today magazine.
Copyright 2017, Spins on Music LLC