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a word with the ‘nerd’

For Ryan Garrison, being mentioned on the front page of his hometown paper as a “Former East [High] ‘music nerd'” and recently winning a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance, are equally special for the baritone singer in the Phoenix Chorale.

I asked Ryan how he felt about the headline in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and he laughed saying, “Family and friends sent it to me, the response was incredible. It’s something that I mentioned in that paper’s interview and there is some truth in it.”

To give you a better idea of Ryan, he attended the University of Wyoming studying violin and he received a degree in music education in 2001. Soon after he moved to Denver where he taught orchestra and choir at a middle school for three years.

Ryan moved to Phoenix to obtain a master’s degree in music education at Arizona State University and joined the Phoenix Chorale in March 2005. He learned of the Chorale through his roommate, Phoenix Chorale tenor Erik Gustafson. “I found out through Erik, and other people in the choir, including Laura Inman,” says Ryan. “They needed a substitute baritone at a concert five years ago. I guess I was in the right place at the right time!”

Recently, Ryan traveled to Los Angeles with other members of the Chorale to the 51st Grammy Awards where they were up for four Grammy nominations. The Phoenix Chorale won the Grammy for “Best Small Ensemble Performance,” recognizing the choir’s fantastic performance ability.

Today, Ryan is an instructor at Arizona State University and has held this position for four and a half years, conducting and assisting the ASU Choral Ensembles and is the Director of Music at The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. Outside of being musically inclined, Ryan enjoys the outdoors including running, lifting, camping, fishing, traveling to Colorado, Wyoming, and being with good friends at Four Peaks and Old Chicago in Tempe.

For now, Ryan hopes to complete his DMA this year where he plans, as he says “…to be the next Charles Bruffy and never step into a school again—unless it’s to make some money!” Ryan says he enjoys his time with the Phoenix Chorale and all the good times with his colleagues and friends that this musical group provides.

It has been awe-inspiring for me to write about one of the Phoenix Chorale’s singers and learn more about who he is, his dreams and his future plans. The “music nerd” and Grammy Award-winning singer Ryan Garrison, has certainly established his heart in music sharing it with his students, colleagues and friends.

You can meet Ryan at our free First Friday Rehearsal Friday, March 6 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Roosevelt Row. Details here.

-Erika Eve Gonzalez, Public Relations Intern