About Us

Irene Stephens-Griffin1

All things considered, being born in 1941 during WWII, and requiring major surgery to save my life, I was fortunate to have survived. My mother had three children in three years. I was born in King Oswald’s Twistle (A twistle is a neck of land between two rivers and thats how Oswaldtwistle got its name) in the north of England. Cobbled streets, no electricity, outdoor toilet and coconut matting for carpeting…aside from skinned knees and in spite of it all, I was a happy child. The moors of Oswaldtwistle were not far from where we lived and we would spend lots of time exploring them. The barrage balloons setup to snag the German V1 flying bombs were nothing more than big toys for us to play around.

At three years old I walked through the doors of Saint Mary’s Catholic school, which was almost a one room schoolhouse. I finished school one week before my fifteenth birthday and I went straight to work in the cotton mills of Lancashire. My mother started me in dancing classes at the age of three and I have to say that I was real charmer. At that time, I was convinced that I was going to be a tap dancer, but breaking my foot ended that dream. So the chorus line wasn’t for me, but, as I discovered I had a voice and I could sing. The first time I sang at the church hall, had I not been holding onto a table I would have collapsed. I was taking lessons with the local Sunday school teacher Mrs. Greenwood. She could not help the break in my voice here. The first review I received was for the part of Josephine in HMS Pinafore, which stated, “Irene has a sweet voice which unfortunately lacks range.” Well, I’m pleased to report that over the years I have proved them wrong.

Paul L Griffin

I grew up in Manhasset, NY during the forties and fifties, when white picket fences and Ozzie and Harriet portrayed the all American, Norman Rockwell life-style. Coming from an Irish Catholic mother, I was one of six children…falling right in the middle as the fourth boy, with two younger sisters. Our father was a professional trumpet player with CBS television network in New York City, and our mother had been a singer with Joe Haymes and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. It was only natural that music filled our lives. The family would gather around a crackling fire while the mysterious light emanating from the Victrola would tantalize us with visions and specters that swayed to the dancing flames and the mesmerizing sounds of Moussorsky, Respeghi, Rimsky Korsakoff, Ella Fitgerald, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Benny Goodman, Billy Butterfield (our neighbor and good friend) etc, and filling our world with the wondrous sonance of melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre. I’m certain that I drove my siblings mad as I would be possessed with an absolute hunger to listen, over and over and over, to The Haydn Trumpet Concerto before bursting out of the door in time to catch the bus on the way to school. I never quite resolved my own issues as to whether I suffered from a seemingly unmitigated IQ, or an apparently un-medicated A.D.D. Music was like Prozac for this hyperactive and demonic child.

A picture paints a thousand words, while music expresses that for which there are no words. “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.” Music is a gift from God and it is meant to be shared.

“I see my life in terms of music. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.”
Albert Einstein

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
Nikola Tesla

8 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Dick Lyons says:

    You both ran through my memory bank today and this website sprang up. Good photography – but then, how else from Paul? Hope that you’re both oaky. Lost a high school friend to dementia this week. At one point, Paul Dopp was the CEO of Butler Aviation, a world-wide company that provides aircraft maintenance. He also tried to buy Piper and then another airplane manufacturer. All three ventures wound up in law suits – that dragged on and on. Somewhat similar to your experiences. One of those involved the Pritkzer family, owners of the Hyatt Hotel chain. Sad stuff!

    If you pick this up, I’d be delighted to have an update from you. Tough to relate that not only has the “club date” business vanished but so has the inventory of musicians and variety talent that made this niche of the entertainment industry such a joy for three-quarters of a century. Damn!

    Hugs to you both,


  2. Dick Lyons says:


    Many interruptions – so – haven’t gotten as far as I wouldlike into your stories. However, the bus accident brought back memories. It was Ray Schroeder who called and asked for help because on of “the trumpet players was injured and he asked for help. As I recall, I called Tony Sheldon (nee: Scelba) and I suspect that he called Chris. I also has correspondence from the audio man on the Tour. It was he who told me of Ray’s injuries and how we was coping via Christian Science.

    More when I get further into the text.

    Hugs to youi both,


  3. DeeLarimore says:

    Paul & Irene, I like to be added on your email site and also on facebook. Skip & I
    were really disappointed about the turn out for Deron. Can’t believe they couldn’t
    take the time to show their respect for such a wonderful person.

  4. Margie says:

    Really enjoyed reading your short biographies on this site. Paul and Irene. I had no idea we had such treasures semi- hidden in our Grace community

  5. Tim Harris says:

    Dear Paul, I came across your name from an email you left on a big band site. Your mother Helen Obrien sang with my friend and his brother (Robert Doucette) and their trio were billed as the Headliners. They backed Cliff Weston’s lead on two Joe Haymes band records called Polly Wally Doodle, and Woo Woo both 1935. You can YouTube those… Robert told me they split up when Joe Haymes sold and your mother “married Tommy Dorsey’s saxaphonist”… but perhaps I’m the one who got this wrong…Robert passed away in Newbury Park CA about 12 years ago, age 98. The Headliners also recorded for Joe Haymes 1933 backing trio on “music Goes Round n Round” though your mom perhaps not singing with them then? Not sure. Robert was a great guy and I miss him very much, and said your mom was really good, a real songbird.

    • Paul says:

      Dear Tim, thank you for this information…it is very much appreciated. Although Mom left the music business after she married, music was always in her heart. She loved to find the harmonies during family sing alongs. The only recording that we had of her was “The Music Goes ‘Round.” So, it’s a wonderful “find” that you have so gratefully forwarded.

  6. Jill Lees says:

    Paul and Irene-
    Happy 53rd Anniversary!!! I always believe people cross paths for a reason. It was a amazing dinner cruise and best of all we got to meet you both and spend time enjoying the Florida sunset. Your website is absolutely amazing! Please keep in touch.

    Love- Paul and Jill

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