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Ruth Bylsma's 50 Seasons with the  GRS

Congratulations to GRSMA flutist Ruth Bylsma, who has just entered her fiftieth season with the Grand Rapids Symphony!


When Ruth started playing in the GRS, she was a music major at Calvin College. She has performed thousands of orchestra concerts under the baton of five music directors, been featured soloist on many occasions with the GRS, and charmed young audiences as flutist with the symphony's educational ensemble WünderWind Quintet.


This photo gallery takes us down memory lane with Ruth, and GRSMA congratulates her on achieving this milestone with the GRS.

DEC 1974

During her first season with the GRS, Ruth was a featured soloist in J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No 4, along with her flute teacher and GRS Principal Flute, Darlene Dugan.

FEB 1995

Ruth was again in the solo spotlight for Will Gay Bottje's Concerto for Two Flutes, with GRS Principal Flute Chris Kantner. (Chris Kantner Musician Profile)

SEPT 1996

From the first year of the popular GRS musician trading card.

MAY 1997

Frequently performing the alto flute with the GRS, Ruth is seen here as soloist in Suite Modale by Ernest Bloch on the GRS Casual Classics series at St. Cecilia Music Center. 

OCT 2003

Ruth demonstrates the flute for elementary school audiences through the GRS education department.


SEPT 2019 Photo Credit: Joel Schekman

The WünderWind Quintet dresses appropriately for storytime in their K-2 educational program, telling the tale of "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub." Left to right: "The Knight" Joel Schekman (clarinet), "The Queen" Ruth Bylsma (flute), "The King" Andrew Genemans (bassoon), "The Page" Paul Austin (horn), and "The Duke" Alexander Miller (oboe).


SEPT 2023 Photo Credit: Jamie Geysbeek

Ruth, shown here in the opening concert of her 50th GRS season, performing Ravel's La Valse.


Photo Credit: Joel Schekman

Today's GRS flute section has been in place since 1976! Check out our article Harmonious Winds from the January 2020 issue that features Judy Kemph (piccolo), Chris Kantner, and Ruth Bylsma.

Notes from GRSMA: Learn more about Ruth from her Musician Profile that appeared in our spring 2023 issue.


Ruth joins former GRSMA violinist Lenore D'Haem in the "Fifty GRS Seasons" club. Here is our article from the fall 2019 issue that recognized Lenore's tenure with the GRS. 

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