Page 40 - Classical Singer magazine 2019 Fall University Issue
P. 40

The Griffey Gospel
near and dear to Gri ey. Close members of his family dealt with signi cant mental and emotional issues, including schizophrenia. Those painful experiences later informed Gri ey’s famed characterization as Lennie Small in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and M en.
Though Gri ey achieved international success, he never forgot his family in High Point. “When I made enough money,” he says, “the  rst thing I did was buy my mother a home. That was an important step for me, because I think as artists we’ve been given a lot and I think we have to give back.”
Gri ey’s ultimate goal as an artist is to be of service. He continues to support his family, but his philanthropy and activism extend to the greater community.
“Growing up poor,” he recalls, “we received food and help in terms of paying bills. Both of my parents worked full-time jobs, but unfortunately the wages were so low that it was di cult to support a family as a factory worker. There was no extra money for music lessons, but I had teachers who saw in me what I didn’t even see in myself. I always promised myself that if I ever made it, I would give back.”
A man of his word, Gri ey still  nds ways to pay it forward in his hometown raising hundreds of thousands
Griffey as Mr. Strutt in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Marnie, 2018
You’ve got passion You’ve got curiosity You’ve got drive
40 Classical Singer | September/October 2019
Come and invent your future!

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