Lifelong pursuit of music finally culminates in CD

By PHILIP CASE State Journal Columnist Published:

Her fingers move effortlessly across the keys of the shiny black Steinway piano as the notes, marching like soldiers in close order, sound off and fill her office in Kentucky State University's Bradford Hall.

Dr. Patricia Barnes Griffith, professor of piano at KSU, is practicing - and demonstrating the proper technique for playing the instrument to which she has dedicated most of her life. Since 1977 she's been at KSU.

"I started playing when I was little," said the Winston-Salem, N.C. native, "and taking lessons when I was 8. I've just always played."

Just as some were born, it would seem, to play a particular sport or to pursue a certain profession, Griffith was destined to play the piano - and even to the untrained ear it's obvious she does it very well.

And having played millions ... if not trillions ... of notes, accompanied students, faculty members and friends at hundreds of recitals, accompanied choirs, and performed her own recitals, Griffith recently had a first - she released a compact disc.

"I know every performer and group does this," she said, just a little uncomfortable with promoting her own, "but I never had. It wasn't until a very dear friend of mind encouraged me that I decided to do it."

Hayward Mickens was that friend.

Mickens teaches at Eastern Kentucky University. He was a classmate of Griffith's at the Peabody Institute of Music at Johns Hopkins University where she received her master's and doctoral degrees in music. He attended her recital in February of 2002.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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