GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The Grand Rapids Symphony might not exist if it wasn’t for Rich DeVos and the rest of his family. DeVos was instrumental in starting the symphony.
They’re remembering DeVos as a friend and strong supporter of arts and culture in Grand Rapids.
A lover of music and the arts, Rich DeVos and his wife, Helen, provided the funds in 1974 to hire the first musicians for the symphony. To this day, four of the five spots are still known as the DeVos String Quartet.
“He lived fully 92 years, had an incredible life and I think right now it’s a reason to celebrate their legacy," said Marcelo Lehninger, music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Rich and Helen DeVos made building the DeVos Performance Hall possible; the setting for many of the symphony’s performances.
"It’s a reason to celebrate their legacy and I think right now we’ll be celebrating their legacy and the great life he had and the fantastic impact they had on this beautiful community," said Lehninger.
They were avid music lovers. In addition to financial support, the DeVos’s attended many of the symphony’s performances.
"Because of their generosity and their vision really to invest in the community, Grand Rapids has a high-quality symphony, a really fantastic orchestra that we’re fortunate to have in this community," said Lehninger. That is because of people like the DeVos family who believe in how important it is to invest in the community, invest in the arts and specifically in the symphony.”
Lehninger met DeVos at a dinner party at their home in Holland where some of his fondest memories come from.
"He had the power to inspire people, so I felt inspired by the conversation we had and that will be the last thing on my memory about him," said Lehninger.
The Grand Rapids Symphony plans on remembering Rich DeVos next Friday and Saturday when they start their concert season.