The Cole Porter Society is born of a match made in heaven. Noah Griffin is more than a singer, he is a singer with good-humored educated elegance. Cole Porter is more than a composer, he is a composer/lyricist with good-humored educated elegance. Both men draw their audiences into a cleverly described world of witty high society.
It is no surprise that Cole Porter is the composer and lyricist who speaks most intimately to Noah. Cole Porter and Noah both attended Harvard Law School, and kindred souls they were from the start, neither wanting to practice law, both essentially musicians and both waiting until after graduation to make their way into the world of grace and panache shared through music.
In his desire to take part in a more personal way with Mr. Porter, Mr. Griffin decided to get in touch with the The Cole Porter Society. Bad news, there was none. Good news, Noah and his wife Meredith Browning, started one; Meredith's own background of theater with her mother in the original cast of Oklahoma and her godfather Johnny Ray as well as her expertise in launching projects lent itself perfectly to the The Cole Porter Society project. To listen to them talk about the project is more than fun in itself.
The Cole Porter Society, in addition to offering concerts, will serve an educational purpose. Yes, Noah is a born singer, but he is also a born teacher whose every song comes with a history lesson. Every date, every singer, and every song Noah performs has within it the seeds of a history lesson, which he is only too happy to share. History, in Noah’s hands is not only about former times but about today and tomorrow. He is well-versed in what was, pays meticulous attention to what is and has his eye on what is to come. He says you cannot talk about an artist without considering the times, and, to do this best, Noah reads voraciously on each musician he presents. Noah is a teacher whose textbook is music itself.
Humankind is a fickle species, and as tastes change in the flash of a decade, we are bound to lose something valuable when we bury yesterday instead of absorbing it into today. The Cole Porter Society has, as its goal, to broaden the musical tastes of the younger generation by introducing the genius and genre of Cole Porter, one of our most important American composers. Noah says, “Two of my children had private primary school educations. They were the only ones in their classes familiar with Broadway musicals, the songs and who wrote them.”
By raising the level of musical literacy and offering a more powerful vocabulary, reliable emotional expression is bound to increase. There are other personal lessons to be learned from Cole Porter, a man who went out of his way to avoid clichés, stayed productive despite 33 surgeries in the years following a riding accident that crushed both his legs, and overcame other challenges that plagued him despite his wealth and privilege. In short, Noah and Meredith’s newly launched Cole Porter Society is a scholarship program with the goal of bringing back elegance and literacy to self-expression. Noah’s plans for a series of love letters look to a future when they will be of historical importance.
To benefit the Ross Valley Players and celebrate the launch of The Cole Porter Society, at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 28th, the Ross Valley Players will present, at the Barn Theater, an Evening of Cole Porter with Noah Griffin and friends. Tickets are $50 (including a $25 tax deductible donation). Box office phone number is 415-456-9555 ext 1.
From me to you with love in the air,
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