Symphony Concerts at Farmers Markets this Summer

Look for music at local Farmers Markets this summer. The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra has received a grant from Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan to bring 12 free outdoor concerts plus Instrument Petting Zoos to 6 area farmers markets each summer for the next three years.

Read all the details below:

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra is happy to announce that the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan will support a three-year project, A Taste of Music: The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Goes to Market,” with a $50,000 grant.

“A Taste of Music” combines two outstanding components of the A2SO’s Education and Outreach programming – its Ensembles composed of professional A2SO musicians, and its Instrument Petting Zoos. With the A2SO’s long-time commitment to serve Washtenaw, Western Wayne, Livingstonand Oakland counties, this project will feature a total of 12 free outdoor concerts each summer in six area Farmers Markets. In addition to small ensemble performances, each “Taste of Music” Program will include an A2SO Instrument Petting Zoo, where children of all ages will have theopportunity to try out real violins, cellos, flutes, clarinets, trumpets and trombones. Child-sized instruments along with trained “zookeepers” ensure that even the smallest child will have a successful first instrumental experience.

Instrument Petting Zoo – 2009 

With the growing understanding that performing arts organizations and classical music institutions must provide more accessible programming in order to reach new audiences and maintain existing interest in this genre, the A2SO has partnered with area farmers’ markets which are not only essential gateways to fresh, healthy local food, but community gathering places for a variety of social, cultural and educational activities. Farmers’ markets provide the A2SO a forum to reach diverse populationsas well as to provide meaningful work for its professional musicians.


The A2SO will also, as part of its community commitment, offer up to 700 complementary concert tickets to up to market customers who are SNAP Bridge Card users, and at participating sites, beneficiaries of the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks Program, which also receives support from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

A2SO Board President Bob Gates notes, “We are not just a Saturday night main stage orchestra. We’re of the community. We’re in the schools, retirement centers, day care centers and libraries—and now in farmers’ markets.” Executive Director Mary Steffek Blaske concurs, “We want people to know that wherever you are in your life, and wherever you live, there is an A2SO concert for you. Music is for everybody.”


The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra is a premier regional orchestra offering live, symphonic music for audiences of diverse ages and classical music experiences. The A2SO touches the lives of over 76,000 people every year, from tiny tots to seasoned citizens in venues ranging from the Michigan Theater to Hill Auditorium, as well as schools in the five-county area including Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Dexter District Libraries, and senior citizen centers.

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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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