The Grand Rapids Symphony's 2015 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops summer concert series will include Five For Fighting and the music of Neil Diamond, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Billy Joel and Elton John in July.

The outdoor concert series at Cannonsburg Ski & Ride Area in Belmont has eight dates in July, and is the first to feature new Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt.

"I'm so happy to begin my tenure as Principal Pops Conductor of the GRS with the Classical Fireworks concerts in this summer's Picnic Pops,” Bernhardt said. “Summer pops concerts have been a tradition and delight in my career."

The 2015 D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops is Thursdays and Fridays, July 9 through July 31, and features the following concerts:

  • July 9-10, 7:30 p.m.: Super Diamond, featuring the music of Neil Diamond. Associate Conductor John Varineau will lead the orchestra and guest performers in power ballads, up-tempo hits and classic tunes like “Sweet Caroline,” “I’m a Believer,” “America” and “Red Red Wine.”
  • July 16-17, 8 p.m.: Classical Fireworks, featuring the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
  • July 23-24, 7:30 p.m.: The Piano Men, featuring the music of Billy Joel and Elton John. With Varineau conducting and featuring pianist Jim Witter on a grand piano and with multimedia projections, the Grand Rapids Pops' journeys through contemporary music with songs like Joel's "My Life" and "Just the Way You Are" and John's “Your Song" and "Candle in the Wind."
  • July 30-31, 7:30 p.m.: Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik, best known by his stage name Five For Fighting, joins the Grand Rapids Pops on stage for two performances. The concerts include his inspirational hit songs such as “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” “100 Years” and “The Riddle."

The Cannonsburg Ski Area gates open at 5:30 p.m. each night for picnicking and pre-concert entertainment, including child-friendly activities like face painting, crafts and an instrument petting zoo.

Concert-goers can take part in the tradition of packing their own picnic baskets and coolers, or they can purchase food off the grill at the Cannonsburg concession stand. Alcoholic beverages are permitted on the grounds and parking is free for attendees. VIP parking upgrades are available for a fee beginning in June.

Ticket options include saving up to 30 percent with a Three-Concert Series or Flexpass.

The 3-Concert Series subscription is good for lawn seating to Super Diamond, Classical Fireworks and the The Piano Men, and is $39 for adults, $33 for college students and seniors, and $15 for children (2- to 18-year-olds). Children the age of 2 or under are admitted for free.

Series tickets for general admission chair seating are $75, $135 for an individual reserved table seat and $1080 for a reserved table of eight.

The Flexpass Six-Pack offers six lawn tickets which can be used in any combination for Super Diamond, Classical Fireworks and The Piano Men. Flex passes are $90 for adults and $78 for seniors.

For Super Diamond, Classical Fireworks and The Piano Men, advance lawn tickets to are $18 for adults ($21 the day of the show) and $16 for college students and seniors ($19 the day of). Tickets for children (ages 2-18) for $5 in advance or $8 on the day of the show.

MySymphony360 members can attend for $15 or $21 the day of the show. Children the age of 2 or under are admitted for free.

Other prices include $30 for reserved chair seating ($33 the day of), $48 for individual table seats ($51 the day of) and $384 for a table of eight ($408 the day of).

For Five for Fighting, lawn tickets are $30 for adults ($33 the day of), $28 for college students, seniors and MySymphony360 members ($31 the day of), and $15 for children ages 2-18 ($18 the day of). Other prices are: $40 for reserved chair seating ($43 day of), $65 for individual table seats ($68 day of) and $520 for a table of eight ($544 day of).

Tickets are available through the Grand Rapids Symphony office, 300 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 100, in Grand Rapids; by calling  (616) 454-9451, ext. 4 (days) or (616) 885-1241 (evenings); or online at

Group tickets are also available, with discounts for 10 or more people. Call (616) 459-9451, ext. 142, for more details.

Five For Fighting Performs 'Superman (It's Not Easy)'

Five For Fighting Performs 'World'

Jim Witter Performs 'The Piano Men'

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