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Musical Moods celebrates 75 years of showcasing GRCC student hard work and talent

Feb. 6, 2023, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –  Just after Albert P. Smith arrived at what was then Grand Rapids Junior College in 1947, he created an event intended to serve as both a celebration of student hard work and talent.  

Now in its 75th year, Musical Moods remains one of the highlights of the Music Department calendar, an opportunity to showcase the college’s performing arts opportunities with the campus and greater community.

Musical Moods 75 will be presented by the Grand Rapids Community College Music Department on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the East Grand Rapids High School Performing Arts Center.

Admission is $15 for adults, while high school and GRCC students are free with a current and valid student ID at the door and children 12 and under are also free. Contact for more information.

Featuring GRCC ensembles and soloists, the approximately 80-minute concert will feature not only the college’s 100 music majors but also many other GRCC students who are not majoring in music but are talented instrumentalists and singers, nonetheless.

Kevin Dobreff, Music Department head and program director, has been with GRCC since 1991 and said each year’s edition of Musical Moods is still a thrill.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “It showcases so many fine ensembles and vocal groups. It’s been a great thing for me to be part of over these last 30 years, and I can’t wait for this one.”

Dobreff noted that the concert tradition was started by Smith, who founded the Music Department during his 35 years at the college, and is the man for whom the current GRCC music center is named.

“We know him as Smitty,” Dobreff said. “He was a graduate of the University of Michigan where he had been part of a similar concert, and when he came to what was then Grand Rapids Junior College, he brought this idea with him, and we have been presenting it ever since.”

That included, Dobreff said, during the pandemic when Musical Moods went virtual. But last year, and now this year, the concert is back to an in-person event.

The event is intended to both present outstanding music and also be a recruiting tool for the GRCC Music Department. As such the location is always a local high school. Over the years, Dobreff said, it has taken place in almost every high school in the Kent Intermediate School District.

This year’s concert, Dobreff said, will feature a variety of musical styles, everything from the classical and Renaissance periods to jazz and contemporary.

“We're covering pretty much all the bases there with all the different styles,” Dobreff said. “There will be something for everybody.”

And, he added, it won’t all be soft, soothing and sedate fare, pointing to the percussion ensemble and a percussion solo on the djembe, a West African drum. “People aren’t going to be falling asleep,” he said laughing.

This story was reported by Phil de Haan. 


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