News

Helen DeVos Legacy Award: Announcement + Postponement

St. Cecilia Music Center is pleased to announce Karen Henry Stokes as the third recipient of the Helen DeVos Legacy Award. The event to honor Karen was scheduled for March 2021. Due to the pandemic, the gala event been postponed until next year on March 5, 2022.

Cathy Holbrook, Executive and Artistic Director of St. Cecilia Music Center, said, “We are thrilled to honor Karen Henry Stokes with the next Helen DeVos Legacy Award, but sad that we have to wait to do so until 2022. We felt it was the best option to ensure that people felt safe attending a gala ceremony and dinner event. We wanted as many people to attend and pay tribute to her as possible and March of 2022 felt like the best choice.”

St. Cecilia Music Center started the Helen DeVos Legacy Award in 2019 to pay tribute to the late Helen DeVos for her support of and involvement in the arts. Last year’s recipient, the late Stella Royce, embodied the same spirit of giving and love of the arts. Karen Henry Stokes is the perfect person to receive the next Helen DeVos Legacy Award as she has demonstrated exemplary service within the arts community and her efforts have helped expand the cultural landscape of West Michigan.

Karen has shown commitment to many arts organizations in the region, as a board member, trustee and committee member, including the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids, St. Cecilia Music Center, as well as other organizations such as Grand Valley State University, Hospice of Grand Rapids, Gilda’s Club and Hope Network.

An accomplished pianist, Karen was a member of the piano faculty of Grand Rapids Baptist College (now Cornerstone) from 1974 to 1981, as well as a member of the piano faculty of Calvin College from 1981 to 1989. Karen holds performance degrees from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and the University of Manitoba.

Karen has lived in Grand Rapids since 1970. She was married for 28 years to the late Paul B. Henry and has three grown children and four grandchildren. Karen was married for 20 years to the late James L. Stokes gaining five more children and eight more grandchildren through that union.

Karen’s true connection to SCMC is our partnership with The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She is a dedicated subscriber, and when we launched the series in 2012, Karen helped us spread to the word to other classical music lovers in the community.

We are looking forward to honoring Karen Henry Stokes in 2022 when we can gather together safely and bestow the third Helen DeVos Legacy Award to her in an evening of music and celebration.