Bellevilloise’s musical talent takes her on stage | News, Sports, Jobs


“Music is the universal language of humanity.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Language and cultural barriers often appear when traveling thousands of miles across oceans and continents. For Lisa Griffith, the “universal language of humanity” defined by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow helped pave the way from her hometown to European opera and beyond.

Griffith, a Belleville native and 1975 graduate of Kishacoquillas High School, used the gift of singing from an early age to build an impressive career. She estimates the age of 5 when the adventure began.

“They made me do a solo in church” Griffith recently said. It wasn’t until a few years later that a career in music became a serious consideration. “I started taking voice lessons at 17 and realized that was what I would love to do. My goal was to become a singer of Broadway music.

Griffith studied music at Indiana University in Pennsylvania after a brief initial detour.

“I decided I wanted to do something with music” she says. “I actually started in psychology, but I was drawn to the music department. So I decided to combine the two. »

She graduated from IUP in 1979 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. From there it was to the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Griffith earned a master’s degree in music in 1981 and an artist diploma in opera in 1983.

There was one more big decision for Griffith before appearing on the world stage.

“My singing teacher in Indiana wanted me to sing classical music” she says. “But there was a professor in Cincinnati who encouraged me to go to Europe. I took his advice and found a job in Wiesbaden.

Griffith knows she made the right choice. This sent her nearly 3,900 miles from County Mifflin to Western Europe and a performance at the German Opera on the Rhine in Düsseldorf, where she has performed since 1991. Her performances as a coloratura soprano have been critically acclaimed in major German opera houses. A coloratura soprano has a high range up to second C above middle C and higher. Griffith has also given concerts around the world.

But world travel hasn’t clouded his view of Mifflin County.

“I live in a small town in Germany called Oestrich-Winkel, but I come to Pennsylvania about three times a year,” she says. “I bought a small house in Lewistown. This is my home away from home. The older I get, the more I feel homesick. »

From music on the world stage to the vineyards of his adopted home of Oestrich-Winkel, Griffith has plenty to keep him busy. She always manages time for her love of animals.

“I am very interested in animals, especially cats” she says. “When I come back to Pennsylvania, I always take care of the stray cats. When I retire, I’ll probably do something to take care of the animals.

Griffith will show his skills in Mifflin County in early October. She will perform at Sunday Service at First United Methodist Church in Lewistown at 9:30 a.m. on October 2.

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