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Congratulations, Dr.Griffin

Selected as a 2019 Man of Excellence

From the Chicago Defender-

The Chicago Defender is preparing for the 12th Annual "50" Men of Excellence Awards Event, where we are honoring Dr. Roosevelt Griffin as one of our Men of Excellence. We are elated at the opportunity to work with you, especially under such wonderful circumstances. Spotlighting Dr. Griffin’sexcellence is an honor itself and with your help, we can make this a day one he will never forget!!
There are many definitions of Excellence. However, each of us knows excellence when we see it. Striving for excellence requires great effort for many of us. Others seem to excel effortlessly. Excellence, no matter how it is obtained, is a reflection of one’s character and commitment, and is considered a virtue. Dr. Griffin’s. success supersedes any words used to define his accomplishments, and that’s why onWednesday, April 24, 2019, the Chicago Defender will profile him and forty-nine other Men of Excellence. They have all been selected from every industry and profession for their professional accomplishments, contributions and the significance of their life’s work.
Who are the Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence? They are men who care more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible.
You’re invited to join us in this salute of excellence by becoming a sponsor of the Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence event which takes place on Friday, April 26th., and/or by placing an advertisement/congratulatory message in the commemorative edition celebrating them. This special section of the Chicago Defender will be published Wednesday, April 24, 2019.

Randle Watson live at the GI June 15, 2019

Special GI Jam Thursday, June 13, 2019 @6pm


Jam Session:

Con Alma


Black Nile

Silver’s Serenade

Autumn Leaves (G minor)

On Green Dolphin Street (Eb major)

Blues in the Closet (F Blues)

Rhythm-a-Ning (Bb Rhythm Changes *Uptempo*)



THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2019 6pm

Born and raised on the west side of Chicago and attending both Vandercook College of Music and The Velvet Lounge; his studies at both institutions gave him the honorable privilege to work with innovators locally and globally performing/recording with and/or receiving tutelage from the likes of: Branford Marsalis, Robert Irving III, Ornette Coleman, the late jazz master Von Freeman and Roscoe Mitchell to name a few. Howard Reich (Chicago Tribune arts critic) writes: “A new generation of jazz improvisers has emerged in Chicago in recent years, but few are more promising than organist/pianist Justin Dillard. Musically, Dillard tends to be all over the keyboard, drawing upon the examples of virtuosos such as Dr. Lonnie Smith, Eddie Harris and McCoy Tyner. But there’s something more to Dillard’s work as well; a quest for new ideas in music, in the manner of his AACM mentors.” Justin has performed on national television (ABC) with his organ expose’ The DOT; and has played in various genres spanning Avant Garde with the late tenor master Fred Anderson to a Dave Matthews tribute band (Crash). He continues to transform his career by composing for and performing with his vast array of ensembles; all while accompanying great musicians all over the world. Stay tuned…

The Dillard Organ Trio

Northern Illinois University Steel Band March 23, 2019


Register for one of our new classes

Griffin Institute partners with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic to bring 2 new programs this spring.

 "Little Giants and their Guitars" 

Instructor: Debra Parks 

Group Guitar Class for no more than 10 beginning students ages 5-8 (exceptions can be made for older students). This primer class will focus on basic guitar technique, rhythm, notation, and chords required to perform beginner level popular repertoire. Wednesdays 4:30pm-5:30pm

"The Gospel Groove"
Samuel Jewels, Drums

Runere Brooks, Bass Guitar

Brytish C. Moore-Thomas, Piano 

An introduction to playing in a gospel rhythm section. This class is designed for beginning students ages 10-15 who want to begin their journey into playing gospel music. Whether their desire is to play in church or play for personal enjoyment, this class will provide the basic tools needed to get started. Focus areas: ear-training, sound development, form, and chord progression.
Requirements: Students should have the ability and instruments available to practice outside of class.

Register for Spring 2019

Check Out Our Upcoming Classes

We have some exciting new classes this fall. Click here for a complete list.

Find out more

Percussion Techniques


An introduction to rhythm, notation, and basic percussion techniques. This fun and interactive session is perfect for the future drummer.

click here




Expand your range and increase lip flexibility while building that great brass tone. This session guarantees success for all students.

click here

Woodwind Workout



Increase endurance, articulation, tone quality, and finger technique in a session that is sure to place you at the front of your section.

click here

Rosa L. Parks Middle School Drum Line Debut Performance


Thursday, February 28, 2019


Rosa L. Parks M.S Black History Program

14700 Robey Ave, Harvey, IL 60426

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Jazz Academy


 Jazz Academy - Saturdays

Designed for players of varying levels, grades 5-12, the Saturday Jazz Academy focuses on the development of the CJP Youth Ensemble, mirroring the symphonic colors of the professional orchestra and performing CJP's signature 'third stream' repertoire. Strings, woodwinds, brass, and rhythm section players welcome!

28-weeks of Jam Sessions, Jazz Orchestra and Master Classes
Date: September 22, 2018 – May 11, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: Chicago State University (9501 S. King Drive)

Questions? Contact

Sarah Pietlicki, Program Manager

Tel. (603) 275.2905 text or call


GI Jams

Every Thursday 6pm-8pm (Food Provided)


The GI Jams are designed to give students a practical and educational platform to harness and develop their individual skills while learning professionalism and performance etiquette while sharing the stage with some of the greatest musicians and educators in the Midwest.

Each week a different professional musician will host the GI Jams. The set-lists are made available one week prior to the GI Jam.  Students may sign up for no more than 2 selections and may add their name as a "Stand BY" on as many selections as they desire.

If you are a professional musician who would like to volunteer at the Griffin Institute by hosting a Jam Session, please contact us at (708) 973-4354 or educate@thegriffininstitute.org


GI JAM: The Dot


Thursday, May 16. 2019

Jam List

1. Water Get No Enemy  

2. Happy   

3. Twelve's It   

4. Bemsha Swing   

5. Giant Steps   

6. Cold Duck Time   

7. Prototype

GI Spotlight

Our CEO/President is named a Semi-Finalist for the 2017 Grammy Award for Music Educator. Congratulations Dr. Griffin


The Jazz Institute of Chicago has also selected Dr. Griffin as a 2017 Jazz Educator of the Year along with David Bloom.


Dr. Griffin receives IEA's 2018 Human and Civil Rights Award

Dr. Griffin receives top award from the Illinois Education Association

ROSEMONT – A band teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School in Harvey, Ill., has been selected by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) as the recipient of its 2018 Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award.  Roosevelt Griffin III, director of bands for Harvey Public School District 152, was recognized on Thursday at the annual Representative Assembly of the IEA.  “Roosevelt Griffin III is an inspiration to all IEA members and to the members of his community,” said IEA President Kathi Griffin.  “The street on which he grew up in Harvey was renamed for him a few years ago, due to his exemplary work in music education and his activism. We are proud Roosevelt Griffin III is an IEA member and that he’s dedicated his adult life to helping students improve their own lives through music.”  Griffin has been a teacher in District 152 for 14 years. His commitment to his community was noted in the nomination for the Human and Civil Rights Award which reads in part, “Being from the community and going back to the community sets this candidate apart. The programs he has built are sustainable even if he was no longer engaged. He has demonstrated a long-term commitment.”  Among the many honors Griffin has received for his teaching and his activism are, the “Excellence in Education Award” from the Harvey Education Association, a Golden Apple Award, “Most Outstanding Alumni Award” from Northern Illinois University, and “Jazz Educator of the Year for 2017” from the Jazz Institute of Chicago.  The IEA Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award is one of the association’s highest honors for a member. It is named after the former president of the IEA and the National Education Association, Reg Weaver.  ###  The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

Contact Us

The Griffin Institute of Performing Arts

14200 Chicago Rd Unit 117, Dolton, Illinois 60419, United States

(708) 973-4354

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