Our Music

Irene Stephens-GriffinIrene’s Musical Background

Irene Stephens-Griffin hails from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, in the United Kingdom. Irene has a vocal range and style that allows her to move easily between classical, popular and jazz music styles. Her career as a soloist in theaters and night clubs throughout The United Kingdom and The United States has given her an international flair that her audiences find commanding, intriguing and simply charming.

While still in Great Britain, Irene was seen on The BBC by Fred Waring who immediately contacted her and invited her to tour North America with his famous “Pennsylvanians.” There, she met her soon to become husband, Paul Griffin. (A trumpet player and musical arranger for the Waring organization.) When the eight month tour ended, Irene returned to England and Paul was soon to follow. They were married, and Irene continued her musical career, while Paul played trumpet for The BBC and Thames Television, and with such great British performers as Matt Monro, and many others.

Paul missed his homeland, and so they returned to The United States and Irene has since performed her one woman show in such venues as: Caesar’s Palace, Trump Plaza, (an encore performance for “The Donald” and select friends) The Detroit Athletic Club, and with The River City Brass Band. (A fifty piece brass ensemble with featured musicians from the Pittsburgh Symphony.) Irene has performed at all of the major resort hotels in The Catskill and Pocono Mountains, and has been featured at many of the condo and century villages around the country.

Irene’s most recent recording, “Shades” is a CD featuring several songs and stylings from as far afield as Sarah Brightman, Rod Stewart, and Josh Groban. Her featured album “Favorite Things” is a composite of the many styles which Irene performs in her night club show. Irene and Paul have also recorded a Christmas album featuring themselves as an Acappella Vocal Ensemble, A Gospel Choir, and Solo Performers in the classical, commercial, and jazz genres.

Irene’s versatility has allowed her to cross oceans (both literally and figuratively) while playing leading roles in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas as well as dramatic leads in operas. As if that wasn’t enough, she then crosses the gulf to jazz and popular styles by virtue of the fact that Irene’s father in law was none other than Chris Griffin, the lead trumpet player with Benny Goodman, with Harry James and Ziggy Elman sitting on either side. He was also the high trumpet heard on the theme to the Jackie Gleason Show. Go To Irene’s Music

Paul’s Musical Background

1985 PR

1966-1969: Paul played trumpet on The Ed Sullivan Show for Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald and countless other well known performers of the day. In 1968, Paul joined the musical organization of Fred Waring and toured for two years as lead trumpet player, arranger and musical contractor. During his second year, Paul met his bride to be who would lure him across an ocean where they would be married and happily reside for the next twelve years. Paul followed his musical career as he performed throughout the British Isles, and Europe, with his own band, “Force Ten” and for the BBC; which organization presented him with a trophy cup for his musical achievements. Having voraciously read all of Wilbur Smith’s (30+) historical novels about the African continent, Paul considers a three month “Good Will Tour” of South Africa and Zimbabwe in 1981 as a career highlight.

Trump Park Plaza, NYC: Paul & Irene perform in The Blue Room for Donald Trump and a select group of his friends.

Trump Park Plaza, NYC: Paul & Irene perform in The Blue Room for Donald Trump and a select group of his friends.

In 1982, Paul and his British bride returned to the United States where he picked up on his musical career playing trumpet for Skitch Henderson, Ray Anthony, Sammy Davis, Jr., Natalie Cole, Broadway shows, etc. Paul and Irene were asked to perform in the Blue Room at The Park Plaza for Donald Trump and a select group of his friends. While Irene was in the midst of one of her featured songs, she noticed Mr. Trump standing in a corridor at the side of the stage. She stopped and introduced Mr. Trump. He was so gracious when he accepted the microphone. After giving Irene a hug and a kiss on the cheek, he said to his audience, “how am I supposed to talk into this microphone after such a beautiful voice.”

Paul suffered a serious, career ending injury when he plummeted from a stage while performing for then NYS Governor, Mario Cuomo. Although a serious road bump, and actually serving to change New York State Worker’s Compensation law, Paul and Irene put their hospitality skills to good use when in 1990 they opened a Bed & Breakfast Inn, in Jeffersonville, NY. There in 2006 they received the accolades of their peers and were honored by New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association as New York State’s “Bed & Breakfast Of Distinction”.

Paul was the founding President of The Jeffersonville Chamber of Commerce for five years, and as such he was instrumental in initiating many ground breaking innovations for the community he served. Among these was an incubator project and Main Street Alliance program, being one of only three communities in all of New York to be selected. Also, a “Jeffersonville Jamboree” which continues to attract visitors from near and far. Paul served on the board of the Sullivan County Advisory Committee as a head hunter in their search to fill the positions of Director of Economic Development, (Alan Sorrensen) and Director of Tourism. (Roberta Byron-Lockwood.) He served as a director on the boards of Sullivan County Tourism, Delaware Valley Arts Alliance and New York State Hospitality & Tourism where he was nominated for “Tourism Executive of the Year-2006.”

Paul & Irene’s success in the hospitality industry prompted them to expand when they purchased a resort hotel on 70 acres, which they called: The Meadows. With facilities catering to over 300 people, they featured many performing artists and catered to conventions, weddings, etc. Go To Paul’s Music

Paul and Irene’s Music-Together

Paul, a native of Manhasset, Long Island, and Irene, born and raised in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, UK – This web site is meant to chronicle their true love story of international intrigue (involving the Houses of Parliament and Scotland Yard) and their musical journey from The USA to The UK, To South Africa and Zimbabwe: From Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians, to Ella Fitzgerald; Natalie Cole; Tom Jones; and from Broadway, to The London Palladium; from CBS Television to Thames Television to South African Television, Irene and Paul have been there, and their adventures are the stuff of legends, a series of books and worthy of a feature film. Ironically, their images are uncanny in their early appearances; Irene resembles the gorgeous actress Lee Remick, while Paul bore a remarkable resemblance to her romantic lead, Gregory Peck. (Paul wonders how one human being can morph from Gregory Peck to Dom DeLuise or Rob “Meathead” Reiner in one lifetime. Like seniors everywhere, Paul shakes his head in amazement as he mutters under his breath, “WTF just happened?” (Paul can be seen on The Ed Sullivan Show reruns as young lead trumpet player with Ella Fitzgerald “Can’t Buy Me Love” and with Tom Jones “Delilah” & “It’s Not Unusual.”) Go To Paul and Irene’s Duets 

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