* Purdue Musical Organizations

May 9, 2008

Purdue names director of Purdue Musical Organizations

William Griffel
Download photo
Purdue University on Friday (May 9) named William E. Griffel director of Purdue Musical Organizations and the Purdue Varsity Glee Club.

Griffel, who will start June 15, replaces Brian Breed, who retired Dec. 31 after serving as director of Purdue Musical Organizations and the Purdue Varsity Glee Club since 1989.

Gerritt VanderMeer has been serving as assistant interim director of Purdue Musical Organizations and interim director of Purdue Varsity Glee Club since January.

"Bill has a very impressive background in directing advanced choirs, including his award-winning show choir from Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis," said Thomas B. Robinson, vice president for student services. "He has a tremendous passion for choral music of all kinds, and I know he will give excellent leadership to Purdue Musical Organizations.

"Our search committee, led by Jay Gephart, director of Purdue Bands, has worked hard to find an excellent fit to serve as the leader of PMO."

Griffel has been chairman of the visual and performing arts department at Franklin Central High School since 2001 and the high school's director of choral music since 2000. While there, choirs within the music department have won many championships and have performed throughout the Midwest. This spring he led one of the choirs on a concert tour of Scotland and England.

Griffel also has sung professionally with a number of groups including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. He also is involved with many jazz, barbershop and chamber ensembles throughout the Midwest.

"I'm really looking forward to joining the Purdue family and bringing a fresh, new look to what is already an amazing organization," he said. "My father, who earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue in 1961, has told me about the university's rich history and how much he enjoyed the concerts he attended while he was a student.

"This position is a great opportunity for me to work with students and cultivate a new generation of performers as well as PMO fans from the community and around the world."

As director of Purdue Musical Organizations, Griffel will have administrative responsibility for the department, including the strategic plan, recruitment, scholarship administration, budgeting, marketing efforts, and collaboration with other university departments and administrators. He also will oversee all PMO ensembles, the Christmas Show, performance contracts and travel opportunities.

In addition to the Purdue Varsity Glee Club, other Purdue Musical Organizations groups include the Purduettes, Purdue Bells, Heart & Soul, All Campus and Community Chorale, and PMO specialties Ba-Na-Na, Holy Cow Girls and Four-In-Hand.

While Purdue does not have a school of music, each year approximately 150 student performers participate in Purdue Musical Organizations. More than 200 performances are planned every year, including the Christmas Show, which is broadcast internationally on public television and radio networks.

Griffel received a bachelor's degree in music education and vocal performance from Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., and his master's of music and vocal performance certificate from DePaul University in Chicago. He and his wife, Natalie, have two children, Wil, 3, and Josie, 9 months.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089,

Sources: Thomas B. Robinson, (765) 494-5776,

Bill Griffel, (765) 494-3941,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: William Griffel's name is pronounced GRIFF-el

To the News Service home page