Local

April 20, 2012

Singing historian: Luke civilian adds culture to Arizona communities

Tags:
Photo and story by Chief Master Sgt. Larry Schneck
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
120415-F-GF813-001-Singing-Historian
Rick Griset, 56th Fighter Wing historian, rehearses before a performance of the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix Sunday at American Lutheran Church, Sun City. Orpheus is a nonprofit organization made up of male volunteers around the Phoenix area.

His repertoire includes a boisterous collection of sea shanties and the world’s best love songs – not what most Air Force historians would list as their areas of expertise.

Rick Griset, 56th Fighter Wing historian and 28-year U.S. Air Force veteran, works alone in a one-person-deep shop by day. By night, he performs with 79 other men in an all-male choir every Tuesday on Central Avenue in Phoenix.

“Rehearsal is the highlight of my week,” Griset said. “I originally joined the group in 1996. I hadn’t been at Luke Air Force Base very long when I went to my first rehearsal. I rehearsed on Tuesday, and by Saturday I was singing in a concert.”

Griset is a member of the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix. He joined while on his first of two active-duty tours at Luke.

Orpheus is made up of volunteer singers whose objective is to give promising high school seniors the opportunity to continue their education in college. Men, like Griset, drive from around the Valley to participate in rehearsals and performances. They don’t just sing, but rather are involved in the community.

“The need or want to perform choral music brought me into the program,” said Kenny Casey, Orpheus section leader and Phoenix native. “Once I was in, I stayed because of the camaraderie. I would encourage anyone interested to check out the Orpheus Male Chorus.”

The first week of November each year, the group reaches out to young men in Valley high schools, Arizona State University and other male choruses. It’s called Boys to Men.

“The event helps us connect through music to younger groups,” Griset said. “This past year we had up to 350 voices. In volunteer groups there’s a large turnover of people. Boys to Men gives us a chance to encourage younger singers.”

Griset’s personal enjoyment of singing didn’t begin at Luke, however. It came about from an invitation he received during an overseas tour while he was on active-duty as an aircraft maintenance officer.

“When I was stationed in Germany the spouse of one of my coworkers invited me to join the Rheinland-Pfalz International Choir,” Griset said. “I always considered myself an instrumentalist up to that point. I played the trombone starting in 4th grade and continued halfway through college.”

For Griset it was always difficult to stay proficient with playing a musical instrument.

“I didn’t take the time to keep up with playing the trombone,” Griset said. “It requires a lot of practice to stay with it. However, with singing, I found that I take my voice everywhere.”

This led Griset to Orpheus and the volunteer singers he calls a “great bunch of guys,” most of whom are nonprofessional musicians. Orpheus is made up of doctors, lawyers, retirees, school teachers and even some construction workers. The group has performed in Australia, New Zealand and ten European countries as well as other cities in the United States.

Griset’s final military assignment was at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia. Following his retirement from the Air Force, he returned to the West Valley and took his current position as wing historian.

Orpheus is Arizona’s longest continually performing choral organization. It was founded in 1929 and had its debut performance on radio station KTAR. The men have two performing seasons, spring and Christmas. Rehearsals for the holiday season will begin in late August or early September.

“Every piece of music has its own feel and emotion,” Griset said. “We bring out the emotion. That’s the moment we look for in each of our performances.”

Griset spent his military career serving his nation. He continues his service to the community both on and off-duty at Luke.

For more information about Orpheus, visit the website at www.orpheus.org.

 

 

Upcoming performances by Orpheus Male Chorus 

Velda Rose United Methodist Church

7:30 p.m. May 1

5540 E. Main St. in Mesa

Camelback Bible Church

3 p.m. May 6

3900 E. Stanford Dr. in Paradise Valley

Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and students, children 12 and under are free.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
DT_JTC0216

Supreme allied commander comes home

Gen. Philip Breedlove, left, NATO supreme allied commander, Europe, visited Luke Air Force Base Sept. 12. Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, right, 56th Fighter Wing commander, briefed the general on Luke’s evolving mission to train F-3...
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

Command post chief averts potential disaster

Senior Airman Grace Lee Capt. George Normandin, 56th Fighter Wing Command Post chief, received the Aviation Safety Well Done Award Sept. 2, presented by Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander. Normandin took control of an F-...
 
 

You are what you eat

“You are what you eat.” This is a generic statement or a notion. It implies that if you eat healthy, you will be healthy. But how true is this in the world today? What we eat, drink, wear, drive and buy is often an attempt to construct a social identity. It lets others know who...
 

 

Knowledge equals power

The phrase “knowledge is power” is said to originate from Sir Francis Bacon in 1597. Personally, I remember learning the phrase from the old television show “School House Rock” theme song. The key idea behind the phrase is the more knowledge you accumulate, the more “power” you will have. Here is a simple breakdown: knowledge...
 
 
Senior Airman
MARCY COPELAND

EOD Airman changed for good by life experiences

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Tech. Sgt. David Gerig’s, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team chief, first assignment after technical school was Kadena Air Base, Japan. The challenges in life are often w...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

CFC kick-off The 56th Fighter Wing Combined Federal Campaign kick-off charity fair is 9 a.m. Monday in Bldg. 1130 auditorium. Learn about the 2014 campaign ‘Serving Our Country. Supporting Our Community.’ and visit with local charities. For more information, call Maj. Jennifer Preyer-Bonton at 623-856-7144. Hispanic Heritage Month National Hispanic Heritage Month began Monday and...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin