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BHE – Spring Concert Series

This spring, we are delighted to host a series of concerts thanks to the incredible generosity of the Beacon Hill Foundation. The series features five performances of talented, renowned concert artists, soloists, chamber musicians and a singer-songwriter. Once again, the Foundation’s commitment to Celebrating the Arts allows us to bring this world-class entertainment to the Beacon Hill Auditorium, just steps away for our residents. And this series also illustrates the Foundation’s dedication to building community through shared experiences. We look forward to enjoying these exceptional, gifted musicians together this spring.

Sunday, March 5, 2:00pm
Robert Byrens, Pianist & Diane Penning, Soprano

Sunday, March 12, 2:00pm
Phil Pletcher, Pianist & David Fair, Tenor

Sunday, April 2, 2:00pm
MSU Music On the Road: International Chamber
Soloists and Professor Berlinksy

Friday, April 28, 7:30pm
Michelle Billingsly, Country Vocalist and Guitarist

Mother’s Day Special Concert
Sunday, May 14, 2:00pm
Phil Pletcher, Pianist

Please read on for details about each performer.

Robert Byrens, Pianist
Pianist Robert Byrens is recognized for his profound, emotion-evoking style. He has spent more than forty years as a concert artist, and has played over a thousand performances regionally and around the world. Byrens’ deep ties to the local musical scene and collaborative pursuits make him a well-known and sought-after musician. He’s held roles at Grand Valley State University and the Opera Grand Rapids. The list of renowned musicians that he has collaborated with is lengthy, including his most recent partnership with cellist Nancy Steltmann to form Il Duo Lirico.

Diane Penning, Soprano
Excelling in both classical repertoire and pops, Diane Penning has performed with more than thirty orchestras around the country. She has astounding vocal agility as a coloratura soprano, allowing her to produce incredible range and sound. Described as a “21st century Julie Andrews and Sarah Brightman combined,” her engaging style and exquisite voice bring to life familiar classics with her powerful stage presence.

Phil Pletcher, Pianist
Phil Pletcher began playing piano at age four and now runs a private piano studio while also performing as both a soloist and collaborative musician. In addition, his creative pursuits include teaching, conducting, acting, composing, arranging and singing. Pletcher serves many local organizations, including as a pianist for the Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus and for Temple Emanuel of Grand Rapids. He is the artistic director of the Schubert Male Chorus and conducts the Shir Shalom Jewish Choir, serves as Chair of the Indoor Classical Division of Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts. Pletcher also arranges music for and performs with the POSH4 piano ensemble.

David Fair, Tenor
David Fair has a background in opera and musical theater and currently holds the position of Cantor-Educator at the United Jewish School. He has a degree in Theater from the University of Maryland College Park, a Professional Studies Diploma and an Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. He was ordained in 2021.

MSU Music On the Road: International Chamber, Soloists and Professor Berlinksy
The Michigan State University music program shares its talented students and faculty members with the public via the MSU Music On the Road program. The International Chamber, led by MSU Professor of Violin Dmitri Berlinsky, features an exceptional group of violinists from all over the world. Professor Berlinsky has performed as a soloist with major orchestras in the US, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia.

Michelle Billingsly, Country Vocalist and Guitarist
Michelle Billingsley is a singer-songwriter who describes her sound as “alt-country honky tonk.” Her folk-music style and often humorous lyrics take listeners on a journey, as her original songs reflect her personal experiences, and create a unique intimacy between performer and audience. In 2020, Billingsly released her debut album, Not the Marrying Kind.

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Beacon Hill at Eastgate is a distinctive, not-for-profit retirement community located in Grand Rapids’ desirable Eastgate neighborhood.

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