August kicks off with art and music in the Pointes

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 26, 2023

 Violist Alexander Mishnaevski will solo and conduct the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra during a concert Aug. 2 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Violist Alexander Mishnaevski will solo and conduct the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra during a concert Aug. 2 at The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Photo provided by the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — For many, one of the highlights of summer is the chance to enjoy outdoor concerts and art fairs. Residents in the Pointes won’t have to travel far to do both in early August.


Hear a symphony on the water
The Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra will close out its 70th anniversary season with a concert on the lakeside terrace of The War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms, at 7 p.m. Aug. 2. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved into The War Memorial’s Crystal Ballroom.

The concert will be conducted by Alexander Mishnaevski, who will also be performing a viola solo during the orchestra’s performance of Georg Philipp Telemann’s Viola Concerto and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Romance. Other works to be performed include the Bacchanale from Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera, “Samson and Delilah,” Ferdinand Hérold’s overture to the opera “Zampa,” a medley of Duke Ellington works and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” march.

GPSO Music Director Joe Striplin, who typically conducts the orchestra, was scheduled to be on vacation and GPSO Board President William Hulsker said that since the GPSO has tapped Mishnaevski before, he was a logical choice. He’ll bring his own unique touch to the selections.

“Although he has a traditional music training he still has his own emotional reactions to the music as do all good conductors,” Hulsker said in an email interview. “He studied mainly in Russia so you might say he has a Slavic sensibility for a strong sense of the drama and romance of the music.”

Mishnaevski started studying violin at age 6 at the Central Music School of Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He emigrated to the United States in 1973 and studied with the acclaimed Dorothy Delay at the Julliard School of Music in New York City; it was Isaac Stern who encouraged him to switch to the viola. Mishnaevski became an American citizen in 1983 and was named the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s principal violist in 1986. He has performed as a soloist with symphonies around the world.

Audience members are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, although folding chairs will be available as well. They can bring picnic fare, too, Hulsker said.

He said audiences can expect everything from baroque to jazz at this concert.

“The concert will be light as the summer breeze and will feature music from different periods and styles,” Hulsker said. “The guest conductor will play two solos from two very different eras.”

While this is a milestone anniversary for the GPSO, Hulsker said they’re really gearing up for an even bigger anniversary — their 75th. Hulsker, a bassoonist who lives in Grosse Pointe Park, started working with the GPSO in 1965 as a substitute and became a regular member circa 1992. He’s been the board president since 2012. He said there are several factors that have kept the GPSO going for so many years.

“It’s the musicians who love to play and really appreciate having a first-rate orchestra in their backyard,” Hulsker said. “From the beginning the audiences expressed their joy at having an orchestra of such quality and have expressed their feelings … not only with generous financial support but also in continued and growing attendance.”

Tickets cost $20 for regular admission, $15 for seniors, $5 for college students and they are free to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance from the GPSO website,


Art rises on the Hill
The Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce will host its third annual The Pointes Art Festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 5 in the Hill business district in Grosse Pointe Farms, along Kercheval Avenue between Hall Place and McMillan Place.

Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce President and Executive Director Jenny Boettcher said that about 80 artists and artisans are expected this year. They’ll be offering paintings, pottery, jewelry, clothing, candles, woodwork, purses, potted succulents, glass, rock art, chimes, mosaics and more.

“The Chamber started the event 3 years ago to highlight the unique talent and creativity within our midst,” Boettcher said in an email interview. “This popular event has grown each year so to accommodate the request of the artists, we moved it from a parking lot to Kercheval on The Hill. This allows us to showcase and celebrate the artists while also promoting our restaurants and merchants.”

In addition, the local female student robotics team, Botmasterz, will be giving painting demonstrations; Part of Your World princesses will be doing face painting, rock painting and glitter application; horses Honey and Romeo will be milling about; and The Reptarium, a reptile zoo in Utica, will be on hand with an assortment of reptiles. Snow cones and sweets will be available for purchase, but Boettcher said they won’t be having food trucks this year.

“Instead, we are encouraging the attendees to (patronize) our local restaurants,” Boettcher said. “Bronze Door, Luxe, Dirty Dog Jazz Café, Morning Glory and Jumps will be open with special menus to accommodate the crowd. You can dine inside or out and there will also be a grab and go option.”

Visitors can enjoy live entertainment as well, with The Reason You Came (Bobby and Naomi McManus) performing at 10 a.m., Hannah Francis performing at noon and Laurie and the Lefties performing at 3 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public, but dress for the weather — Boettcher said it will take place rain or shine.

Kercheval will be closed from Hall Place to McMillan Place to accommodate the festivities. However, there should be plenty of parking available. Boettcher said there will be parking along Kercheval from McMillan Place to Fisher Road, as well as in a lot off Kercheval and in the municipal parking lot behind Rite Aid.

“Our hope and goal is to create a platform that entertains, educates and inspires,” Boettcher said. “By bringing together talented artists, crafters, musicians, and fabulous cuisine, we can create an unforgettable experience for both locals and visitors alike.”

For more information, visit or call the GPCC at (313) 881-4722.