Meet OGR Board Member, Kyle Van Andel.

Where are you originally from?
Grand Rapids, MI

What do you do for a living?
There isn’t only one thing that I would say I do for a living, as I been able to manage my time in a way that allows me to wear more than one hat so to say. For the last few years I have been working in marketing, but currently represent as an Ambassador for Amway. Additionally, I serve with my immediate family as a member of my family’s foundation. Lastly I have become more and more engaged with the local community; by working closely with the amazing people over at Kids’ Food Basket, now the Opera of Grand Rapids, and most recently as a board member of the John Ball Zoo. It’s a thrilling time for Grand Rapids and I am excited to be increasingly more a part of it.

My favorite hobby is most definitely travelling. The World is a beautiful and vastly changing place that offers so much to see and to experience. I believe we learn the most by immersing ourselves in other cultures and places, making ourselves uncomfortable and pushing ourselves. Travelling affords me with the best way to learn without being stuck in a classroom. It is also a nice way to experience warm weather in the midst of a Michigan winter….

Where is your favorite place to travel? Why?
I have a number of favorite places to travel depending on the purpose but usually my favorite is the next place that I have never visited prior. I love to get lost in cities and experience the culture whether it be food, fashion, historical sites, etc. Although, a few reoccurring favorites that I cherish spending time in are London, Tokyo, and the British Virgin Islands.

What/Who got you involved with OGR? (Past and Current)
My family has for many years now, been big supporters of Opera Grand Rapids. It was near and dear to my grandmother, Betty Van Andel, which continued onto my parent’s supporting the organization to this day. This legacy inspired me to say yes, when my mother asked me if I would consider me to become more involved with OGR.

What do you like about Opera?
I like Opera because of its unique style in communicating a story to an audience. Many of the best Operas of the world are from different cultures and performed in different languages. However, they have the ability to pull together any person and cover themes, emotions, and life events that we all can identify with.

Who/what brought you into the world of Opera?
My first exposure to the world of Opera happened when I was very young. I performed in Opera Grand Rapid’s production of Carmen, as a little French kid back in 2001! I had such a wonderful experience that from then on, I was hooked.

What is your favorite form/piece of art? (symphony, opera, painting, book, etc.) Why?
Oddly enough, my favorite form of art is architecture. Ever since I was young I have always had a fascination with how architectural styles evolve and change over time in different parts of The World.

Why do you think it is important to have an Opera company in our community?
Well to say the least, it is an entertaining artform. But beyond that, in reference to what I mentioned earlier is Opera’s ability to bring people together and communicate a story that allows people to interpret. Opera exudes culture and it retains that, teaching new generations in a way no other artform does. It is important for our community to have this wonderfully entertaining piece of art!