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 • North Canton
 • Stark County
 • Ohio
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R. Byron Griest
Birth: Nov. 11, 1914
Death: Jan. 7, 1979

R. Byron Griest was a music educator, choral clinician/conductor, pianist, and organist of the highest caliber. He possessed exceptional musical and administrative skills at working with young people to develop them into serious musicians. His choirs and the awards they won at district and state competitions are legendary. He completely transformed the vocal music program in the Massillon city schools into a top-notch program, which is known to this day.Byron was born in Lawrenceville, Ohio and was one of seven children of Clarence Daniel Griest and Pearl Gertrude Ballentine. He began piano studies at an early age and had early aspirations to become a concert pianist. His keyboard skills were exceptional. While the piano was very much a part of his musical training, he also had a great love for choirs and choral music. He received a bachelor of music degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a master of arts degree in education from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. He was married to Juanita Chronister in 1942.During his long and illustrious career, he received many awards and recognition. He was president of the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) from 1962 to 1964. He received the ‘Distinguished Service Award’ in 1977 from Da Capo, an organization made up of past presidents of the OMEA. Also, he was chairperson of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) from 1964 to 1966. Byron was a member of the American Guild of Organists and in the latter part of his career he studied organ with Barbara MacGregor at the University of Akron, Akron, Ohio from 1974 to 1977. During this period of time while he was at the University of Akron, he also was director of the glee clubs.While he was at the helm of the music program at Washington High School, Massillon, Ohio, his choirs received 52 ‘superior’ ratings at state choral competitions. In 1958, he founded a select group of choral singers known as the “Washingtonians”. The group is still in existence to this day, with a new group of singers selected each year. A number of his former students have gone on to become outstanding musicians in the field of music education, theory, and performance. While at WHS, Byron received the “Teacher of the Year” award in 1972. He once said: “It is only by the grace of God who gave me the desire to serve others, and that yen for perfection, which has made all I have done possible.” 
Sunset Hills Memory Gardens
North Canton
Stark County
Ohio, USA
Created by: Tim Pettay
Record added: Jun 25, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8990312
R. Byron Griest
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R. Byron Griest
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R. Byron Griest
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