Just Lips rehearsal demonstrates the spirit of the Grand Rapids legal community



by Cynthia Price
Legal News

Humor, collegiality, generosity, and respect for diversity are just a few characteristics of the members of the Grand Rapids Bar, and they were all on display at Wednesday night’s rehearsal for the Just Lips celebrity lip sync event.

The actual Just Lips performance, held every other year at the Wealthy Theatre, is a big hit with the audiences, but what may be less apparent is how much fun the lawyers, judges, and legal staff have putting it all together.

That is not to negate the contribution of time and energy on the part of the performers, and their attention to doing a good job. At the rehearsal, dancer Amy Wilson, associated with the Wealthy and many other dance collaborations, gave them pointers to bring out their best.

But as former GRBA President Kris Vanden Berg notes, it is a win-win situation for who appear. “If you’re good on-stage, that’s great for you. But even if you’re not, you’re still doing it, maybe even making a fool of yourself, for the Justice Foundation... so either way it’s all good.”

The Justice Foundation of West Michigan, the charitable arm of GRBA, benefits from all the fun, enabling sponsorship of such projects as the Legal Assistance Center and the Newspapers in Education civics learning project.

In addition to those pictured, performers include soloists Kristen Britt as Marilyn Monroe in “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” Mark Smith doing “The Piano Has Been Drinking” by Tom Waits; and Randy Velzen lip-syncing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”

Michael Adams and Anita Hitchcock got together as a duo to pantomime singing ”Then Came You,” by Phillipe Wynne and Dionne Warwick.

Other group efforts include “Our Lips are Sealed” by the Go-Gos, featuring Amanda Narvaes, Kelly Brushaber, Kelly Clum-Mathysse, Kris Vanden Berg in her second role of the evening, Kari Sherry, Audra McClure, and Marisa Griggs; Michael Campbell, Melissa Porter, Laura Kane, Ted Boersma and Scott Murphy in “Dude Looks Like a Lady” by Aerosmith; and a rousing “Gangnam Style” dance with Ryan McKnight, Andy VanRyn, Victoria Smith, Ayda Rezaian, Dan Fricke and Sarah Whitney.

The finale was “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, which just won Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards, with Stephanie Myott, Suanne Stay, Ken Sanders, Tom Saxe, Courtney Quist, Jayne Dykema, Jake Dunlop (who is pictured in the “Duly Noted” column), Cat Brainerd, Zoe Martines, Patrick Sweeney, Jackie Appleman, and Tim Dudley on air horn.

The ever-important sponsors include: platinum level, Miller Johnson, Varnum, Gruel Mills Nims & Pylman, Warner Norcross and Judd, Foster Swift Collins and Smith, and Paul Lee (owner of the Donkey Taqueria), reception sponsor; gold level, Kulas Law Office, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge, Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, and Meijer; silver level, Velzen Johnsen & Wikander, Rhoades McKee, Adamy Valuation Advisors, Plunkett Cooney, Sinas Dramis Brake Boughton & McIntyre, Keller & Almassian, West Michigan Community Bank, Kent County Office of the Defender, Drew Cooper & Anding, GRBA Young Lawyers Section; bronze level, Hilger Hammond, Britt Morant PC, Kluczynski Girtz & Vogelzang, Kuiper Orlebeke, Dilley Kooistra Goller and Reens, Quist Law, Dykema Law Offices, Wheeler Upham, Colletti and Mobilia; and Patrons Mike Campbell, Brad Glazier, Barnes and Thornburg, Melanie DeStigter, and WLAM.