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Rho

Several years ago Rho was merely an idea, an unrelenting creative urge in the mind of percussionist Gary Griffith. Over much time, with convicted persistence, he labored to piece his ideal musical collective together. Fledgling incarnations came and went, and musicians rotated in and out like mosaic tiles misshaped for the final composition. But, 2013 saw Gary’s endeavor finally begin to take the form he had been envisioning. Comprised of seven multi-instrumentalists with diverse roots, backgrounds, and influences, Rho’s foundational medium is a spirit of collaborative creativity. The individual dedication of each Rho musician to his or her own craft would not alone suffice to synthesize the sonic, pan-genre fusion that the group works to hone and expound upon. Rather, Rho is grouted together by a dedication to evolving their soundscape as a whole. 


Reed player Misti Shree Griffith married Gary in 2010, but, her first love was the clarinet. Though she’s a savvy saxophonist, she’ll assert without hesitation that clarinet remains her favorite to play. Gary’s conception of Rho’s sound was largely inspired by the adoration he holds for his wife’s clarinet playing. Together, the two of them sussed out what to call the project: Resonance Horizon Orchestra, and it would later be bassist, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Jimmie Hatcher that corroborated Gary’s inclination to go by the acronym Rho. 


Introduced by a fortuitously tangential instance of happenstance, Gary and Jimmie crossed paths via a craigslist ad. Jimmie, and guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Jeremy Clark were seeking a drummer for Quality Control, a band that they also front. After a few months of playing with Quality Control and becoming closer to Jimmie and Jeremy as people and musicians, Gary broached the suggestion that the guys test the waters playing in his own fusion group. This proved a well timed proposition--they uncovered a natural musical fit, and the tiles that compose the Rho soundscape started to fall more rapidly into place.


Percussionist Mark McCafferty was a naturally fitting piece of the Rho composite. He has been a close friend of Gary’s since childhood, and the two have never been far apart, even pursuing the same percussion program in college. Mark has been a member of the project since its conceptual naissance, through each ebb, flow, and incarnation of Rho. He offers the vibraphone stylings integral to the Rho sound. 


Stephen Dietsch, reed player and flautist, had been friends with Gary for several years before joining the project, after they met through music teaching. Predating Gary’s alignment with Jimmie and Jeremy, Stephen was playing bass for an embryonic Rho, however, he readily fell into playing lead saxophone once Jimmie and Jeremy entered the picture. 


One tile of the Rho mosaic was still missing—a front woman, a lead vocalist and lyricist, who would hopefully also play keys. Though there were vocalists and songwriters in the group already, Rho was searching for a specific combination of musical qualities that can only be described accurately as a je-ne-sais-quoi. Again, Craigslist proved to be a fortuitous match-

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