Courtyard Concerts benefit Northern Ottawa and Southern Muskegon

Speaker:  Michelle Hanks, President
Guest:  Mike Cotterall, Director
By RIM Reporter Lori Weiler

Michelle Hanks, right,  a fellow Rotarian from Spring Lake and all-around great person, gave insight about all the good achieved by Courtyard Concerts. This 501(c)(3) organization is supported solely by business sponsorships, donations, grants and proceeds from community concerts. This all-volunteer, no paid staff’s motto:   “Do good. Have Fun. Concerts for the benefit of the community.” This is not just for the Spring Lake/Grand Haven area—they reach across that bridge to our communities and see us as one big lakeshore family.

“You call ‘em parking lots; we call ‘em courtyards.”

Courtyard Concerts started with the opportunity to host a concert with a rock band from Washington DC for outdoor concerts, but quickly found that being a 501(c)(3) organization makes accomplishing it much easier. But the most important value was because they are able to make a difference in the community. This group knows that music brings people together in a way nothing else does. They believe all people (and especially children) should have access to a variety of music. Notebook in hand, Lori Weiler mentioned being a RIM reporter (for this issue, as it happens), part of Red Star Removal requirements that newbies undertake.   They provide grants and support to encourage kids’ exposure to music lessons, and Liz’s Concerts which exposes children aged 4-12 to acoustic, non-mainstream music in a safe, friendly environment. They will do over 70 events this year!

The Rapid Response Community Fund is a way for Courtyard Concerts to quickly and easily provide emergency funds to other local non-profits and emergency situations. These may include emergency housing, medical care, or any other situations that the non-profits they work with don’t normally provide.

They have a goal of two outdoor community concerts per year, held two Sundays after Labor Day. This year will be September 9 with Kyle Cooke from Matchbox 20, Mandy Fer & Dave McGraw, the Contenders, and Kate Johnson, a local artist. The Courtyard Concerts are held in the public parking lot (“Courtyard”), in downtown Spring Lake. You can purchase advance tickets for $15, at the door for $20, kids 12 and under are free. Company events are encouraged and 20 or more attend for $10 tickets. There are generally 400-700 people, food, beer, wine and lots of fun.

Looking forward, Courtyard Concerts is having conversations that include music in Downtown Spring Lake Weekends, the Grand Haven Art Fair, collaboration with the Watermark, adult special needs and drug addiction programs.

To find out more, reach out to They will always need more sponsors, more events, more collaboration, more volunteers, and more awareness. This all means more benefits for our community.

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