Detroit Symphony Orchestra Kicks Off First Annual Ford House Concerts This Weekend


DETROIT, (July 6, 2010) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (Ford House) will kick off the Detroit Symphony @ Ford House concerts this weekend on July 9 and 10 at 8:30 p.m. Conductor Ward Stare will join the DSO on both evenings, with virtuosic clarinetist and Michigan-native Dave Bennett and his Sextet on July 9. These concerts are sponsored by The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and Ford Motor Company Fund. A new collaborative partnership between the DSO and Ford House, the concerts will include popular musical favorites performed on the grounds of the Ford House by the Lake St. Clair shoreline, with the backdrop of the magnificent estate literally setting the stage. Concerts will be followed at approximately 10 p.m. by a thrilling fireworks finale.


The July 9 program will feature the swinging sounds of jazz with the DSO, Dave Bennett on clarinet, Tad Weed on piano, Paul Keller on bass, Pete Siers on drums, Hugh Leal on rhythm guitar and vocalist Carol McCartney along with arrangements of Benny Goodman and other favorite big band composers for full symphony orchestra.  Hits include Airmail Special, Slipped Disc, Why Don’t You Do Right and many more.


The program on July 10 includes includes selections of popular classical music including George Frideric Handel’s Suite from Water Music, Aaron Copland’s Variations on a Shaker Melody, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Polonaise” from Eugene Onegin, Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dances Nos. 5 and 6, Johann Strauss, Jr.: On the Beautiful Blue Danube and many more.


The concept of hosting outdoor concerts at Ford House goes back to the 1920s when the Fords were planning their new home.  Landscape architect Jens Jensen, who designed the grounds more than 80 years ago, incorporated clearings whenever possible, to embrace and promote the use of outdoor spaces as places for drama, pageantry and musical performances.  Today, concerts at Ford House serve as an example of what many are calling “the new Ford House.”  


According to President Kathleen Mullins, establishing collaborations and partnerships with organizations like the DSO enables the estate to be used for different experiences, helps build awareness and expands audiences – which is the centerpiece of the 32-year old nonprofit’s first strategic plan.


“We have hit the ground running with our new mission, vision and strategic plan.  There is no better way to launch this new initiative, to introduce Ford House to a broader audience and to offer a new way to experience this great estate than with performances by one of America’s top orchestras.” 


“The atmosphere throughout the House and grounds is magical.  Adding music is a natural but inspired next step in developing an experience that just might become a new Grosse Pointe tradition for music and nature lovers alike. We are grateful to Kathleen and her team for the invitation to collaborate,” said Anne Parsons, DSO President and CEO.


According to Mullins, Ford House encourages visitors to look at the estate in new ways and to embrace it as a place of inspiration, reflection, discovery and creativity.


“Whether visitors come to enjoy a walk among nature, to learn about architecture and art, or to escape in the music they hear while lying on the grass, we want to help them to look at the world differently.  Our greatest hope is that they will use their experience at the estate to find inspiration and discover their own creativity.”


The grounds of Ford House will open at 6 p.m. to allow attendees the opportunity to explore the gardens, stroll along the lake and Bird Island – a small peninsula on the premises that is a well-known stopping place for migratory birds.  The Play House, a favorite for children of all ages, and the historic Garage featuring Different By Design: the Styling of Edsel Ford, will be open to attendees until the concert begins.  Additionally, there will be activities for families and concessions.


Ward Stare is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting young conductors in America.  In the fall of 2008, he assumed the newly created post of Resident Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, at the invitation of Music Director David Robertson.  Stare also acts concurrently as Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and is active in music education and outreach programs in the Saint Louis area.  He previously served as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting Fellow and as assistant conductor for the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2008.


 Michigan clarinetist Dave Bennett is an authentic musical prodigy who brings to life the classic sound and music of Benny Goodman with incredible technique, style, beauty of tone and naturalness.  Bennett, a resident of Waterford, MI,  began playing at age 10 on a clarinet given to him by his grandparents.  He then taught himself how to play Goodman songs by ear, listening to a tape given to him by his grandfather.  At age 12 Bennett was invited to the bandstand of the famous Sweet Basil jazz club in New York to sit in with trumpet great Doc Cheatham. 


Bennett premiered his Tribute to Benny Goodman septet in November 2003 at Windsor’s Capitol Theatre.  The concert resulted in Bennett’s first feature CD of Goodman material, released on PKO Records.


 Bennett has made a great impression on several of Benny Goodman’s famous band members, including vibraphonist Peter Appleyard, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli and pianist Dick Hyman.  They all strongly endorse Dave Bennett as “the closest ever” to Goodman’s sound and style.   He has performed with them in the U.S., Canada and Europe and they have recorded as “Special Guests” on Dave’s two recent CDs.


About ford house

Since 1978, Ford House has been inspiring visitors from all over the world through interpretive tours, lectures, exhibits, classes, special events and programs. For more information about Ford House, go to or call (313) 884-4222. Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich.


About the DSO

The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the fourth-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros and collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists.  Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season.  The DSO offers a year-round performance schedule that includes classical, pops, jazz, young people’s concerts and festivals.  The DSO makes its home in historic Orchestra Hall, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, and actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music.  For more information visit



  • The entire grounds will be open to guests to walk or visit the gardens, outer buildings and exhibits.
  • Picnics are allowed.
  • Food and beverages will be available for purchase.
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be brought onto the grounds.
  • Please only bring beach and sand chairs with short legs and back (26″ height max.).



Tickets for the Detroit Symphony at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House can be purchased at or via the box office at 313-576-5111. 


General Admission:

Advance Purchase – Adult: $19, Adult Subscriber/Member: $17, all Children: $12

At the gate – All Adult: $20, all Children: $15     

Groups of 20 or more – Adults: $17, Children: $12

Parking is available on the grass lot directly across the street from Ford House. Cost is $2 per car


Preferred Admission: All Preferred Tickets – $50; Groups of 20 or more – $40 

Includes on-site parking with shuttle to the concert area and a reserved seating area with chairs available.


VIP Admission: All VIP Tickets – $150; Per pair – $275 

Includes valet parking, dinner, afterglow, access to the house and reserved seating with chairs available.


In the event of a cancellation due to weather there will be a make-up concert on Sunday, July 11th. If weather does not permit a concert on Sunday you may redeem your Ford House ticket for a ticket to one of the DSO’s regular season concerts between Oct. 8, 2010 and Dec. 5, 2010.



Edsel & Eleanor Ford House, 1100 Lake Shore Rd., Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236


Directions from I-94 East

Exit at the Vernier/8 Mile exit and turn right. Follow Vernier until it ends at Lake Shore Road. Turn left and continue approximately one mile. Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is on the right.


Directions from I-94 West

Exit at the 9 Mile exit and turn left. Follow 9 Mile until it ends at Jefferson. Turn right on Jefferson Ave. (which becomes Lake Shore Rd.) and continue approximately one mile. Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is on the left. 



Detroit Symphony @ Ford House


Fri., July 9 at 8:30 p.m. (Pops)

Fireworks Finale begins approximately at 10 p.m.

Tickets: or 313-576-5111

Sponsors: The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; Ford Motor Company Fund

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Ward Stare, conductor

Dave Bennett Sextet

Dave Bennett, clarinet; Tad Weed, piano; Paul Keller, bass; Pete Siers, drums; Hugh Leal, rhythm guitar; Carol McCartney, vocalist


Gregory Stone, Joseph Bonime, Fanny M. Baldridge: Let’s Dance

Elmer Schoebel, Billy Meyers, Jack Pettis: Bugle Call Rag

Benny Goodman et. al: Benny Goodman Hits Medley

Joe McCoy: Why Don’t You Do Right

Jack Strachey: These Foolish Things

George Gershwin: “I Got Rhythm” from Girl Crazy 

Benny Goodman, James Mundy, Charles Christian: Airmail Special

Benny Goodman: Slipped Disc

Ziggy Elman & Johnny Mercer: And The Angels Sing

Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen (arr. Keller): Blues In The Night

Jonny Mercer & Matty Malneck: Goody Goody

Louis Prima: Sing Sing Sing

Gordon Jenkins: Goodbye



Sat., July 10 at 8:30 p.m. (Classical)

Fireworks Finale begins approximately at 10 p.m.

Tickets: or 313-576-5111

Sponsors: The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; Ford Motor Company Fund

Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Ward Stare, conductor


Felix Mendelssohn: The Hebrides Overture, Op. 26, “Fingal’s Cave”    

George Frideric Handel (trans. Hamilton Harty): Suite from Water Music 

Aaron Copland: Variations on a Shaker Melody 

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: “Polonaise” from Eugene Onegin, Op. 24    

Hector Berlioz: Overture to Béatrice et Bénédict    

Johannes Brahms (orch. Albert Parlow): Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor & No. 6 in D major    

Johann Strauss, Jr.: Overture to The Gypsy Baron    

Johann Strauss, Jr.: Künsler Quadrille, Op. 201

Johann Strauss, Jr.: On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op. 314

2 Responses to “Detroit Symphony Orchestra Kicks Off First Annual Ford House Concerts This Weekend”

  1. avatar M. K. DuCharme on July 9th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Beach chairs ????? How many of the people you expect to attend have the lower level beach chairs?????Where do ideas like that get hatched? When you place requirements like that on a wonderful new idea that everyone I know would like to succeed, it provides a great opportunity to not go. Of course that would be thoughtful but so would a guarantee of no rain or mosquitoes or fish flies or waiting in line or walking from the parking field etc. etc.

  2. We were at the Ford house concert both nights and it was fantastic! We loved the music, the estate, lake St. Clair and the fireworks at the end. You must do this every year. This was a great idea to have the concert in the summer at the breath taking Ford estate. The music and the setting complimented each other. This is a must each year!!
    Thank you!!!!

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