Paddle to the Symphony 2019

Paddle to the Music of the Movies with the Michigan Philharmonic

For over 20 years, Kensington Metropark in Milford has been the home to Paddle to the Symphony. Once again, the event returns to the park and to Kent Lake for an evening of music and paddling. The Michigan Philharmonic performs a free concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at Maple Beach. Adding to the experience, Paddle to the Symphony goers will meet on the other side of the lake at the shoreline of North Martindale Beach and “paddle to the symphony” beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Event Logo showing kayaks on the lake

Paddle to the Music of the Movies with the Michigan Philharmonic

Started by the Michigan Council of Hostelling International (HI-USA), Paddle to the Symphony grew to be a celebration of Southeast Michigan outdoor enthusiasts, including the School for Outdoor Leadership, Adventure, and Recreation (SOLAR). The event is now run as a SOLAR Outdoors activity. Both non-profits have had a long history of collaborating with this event. Open to members and non-member to enjoy, Paddle to the Symphony celebrates outdoor recreation with a cultural musical experience.

“As an orchestral musician, it is always a wonderful feeling to look out into an audience and see so many families enjoying live music,” said Lisa Rosenberg, Michigan Philharmonic Clarinet Musician and Rochester resident. “The outdoor setting next to the lake at Kensington Metro Park provides a beautiful environment which is truly inspiring and relaxing.”

Partners Making the Event Happen

HI and SOLAR, along with Heavner Canoe, and several online groups join forces for the evening on the water, while enjoying the sounds of the Michigan Philharmonic. This year’s theme is “Michigan Phil goes to the Movies” with a variety of songs from the movies throughout the decades. Joining them on stage for a few numbers will be vocalist Taylor Haring.

Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark welcomes Paddle to the Symphony every year - photo by Michael Dwyer

Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark welcomes Paddle to the Symphony every year – photo by Michael Dwyer

“The concert is a popular event held at Maple Beach,” said Michael Dwyer, Event Organizer, “Paddlers will avoid parking and traffic by starting from and returning to North Martindale Beach – across Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark.” Those attending the paddle event need to register in advance. While the concert is free, there is a modest fee to participate in the paddle event, which runs from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Heavner Canoe, a long-time partner with the annual tradition, will be providing the canoes and kayaks. They have special permission to launch from the shoreline. The cost is $30.00 per person ($25 for SOLAR and Hostelling International Members). Those bringing their own canoe or kayak will pay only $15.00 ($10.00 for members). The fee goes toward the transportation and launching of the boats at the special launch area, assistance in/out of the area, and refreshments.

Details and registration are available at Deadline to sign-up is July 12.

A group of people hold paddles up after completing the event along the shoreline

Paddle to the Symphony – Photo by Michael Dwyer

Michigan Council of Hostelling International

To help people of all ages gain a greater understanding of the world, locally and internationally, through educational programs, cultural connections, recreational activities and positive hostelling experiences.


Introducing Southeast Michigan to the outdoors since 1976. SOLAR is a Southeast Michigan based social club with more than 400 members dedicated to the enjoyment of nature and outdoor activities. Whether a beginner or experienced wilderness enthusiast, SOLAR members offer classes and trips for all skill levels and interests.

The Michigan Philharmonic

Nan Washburn, Music Director & Conductor since 1999, has won 19 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music from the League of American Orchestras. The orchestra performs in an ever-expanding roster of Michigan communities; including Plymouth, Canton, Northville, Livonia, Brighton, Downtown Detroit, and others. The “Michigan Phil” is committed to reaching out to a broad and diverse array of audiences and providing enjoyable cultural and social experiences.

Kensington Metropark

Offers a multitude of recreational activities throughout the year, from biking and boating to cross-country skiing and tobogganing. It has 4,486 sprawling acres of wooded, hilly terrain that surrounds beautiful Kent Lake and is home to an abundance of wildlife and waterfowl. In addition to striking sunrises and sunsets, 1,200-acre Kent Lake offers plenty of fun activities, including swimming, paddling, and fishing.

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