Arts at Noon series provides bite-sized performances, award-winning musicians


Filling the room with sound, the Mirror Visions Ensemble tell musical stories through song. The ensemble will be the first group to perform at Arts at Noon concert series, which begins Wednesday at noon.  Courtesy  / Matthew Makowski

Jenny Adkins

While many students are busy scurrying to class amid the school day, they may catch escaping rhythms and melodies from the Cook-DeWitt Center. As they rush around campus, others are surrounding themselves with sound through the Arts at Noon concert series which kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Described as a break in the day and an opportunity to hear award-winning musicians, this year’s season of Arts at Noon features a variety of recognized musicians, ranging from local to international. Each concert lasts 50 minutes, which is designed to make concerts easy to consume, often a rarity for the musicians involved.

“There are lots of times where [the audience] gives a standing ovation and they don’t want the performers to leave the stage, which is problematic because students have to go to class,” Duitman said. “But I think that it is a really special thing that it’s a 50 minute concert.”

The concert series also allows guests to see the talent that GVSU staff and faculty have to offer within their own crafts. Duitman said that many of the performances either feature faculty or were scheduled due to connections by staff in the field, which allow for the series’ musical diversity.

“There are connections with local people and our own incredible faculty; the Donald Sinta Quartet features our saxophone faculty member, Dan Graser,” Duitman said. “There’s usually connections there somehow, and we provide a pretty wide variety of genres and styles.”

That vast diversity in musical styles draws a wide range of students. Because Arts at Noon serves both a casual and educational audience, Duitman said that music students especially can benefit both from the break in the day it provides, as well as the outstanding musicianship on display.

“There are busy students, so I think virtually every one of them would like to be able to attend every concert, but often they can’t due to other commitments,” Duitman said. “But they certainly come to one that they’re interested in. For instance, when the Donald Sinta Quartet is here, I’m sure every saxophone player and most woodwind player we have will be there.”

The series is coordinated with the Arts at Noon class, which involves in-class instruction for half of the weeks and viewing the concerts for the other half. The class is just one of many reasons that the series applies to students, staff and faculty.

“[Arts at Noon] functions as a class, as an enrichment for our music majors, an opportunity to take a break in the middle of the week for any student or staff member,” Duitman said.

While the concerts are held on campus at the Cook DeWitt center, the concert also keeps in mind the greater Allendale community. The concert is something GVSU can offer its community due to its size and support. 

“[Arts at Noon] is one of GVSU’s hidden treasures,” Duitman said. “It’s a fabulous benefit of being at a large university like this where we can do something for the students and the community.”

All concerts are held on select Wednesdays at the Cook-DeWitt Center at noon.