Dianne Nichol Grainger was born October 12, 1984, to Joyce and Gregory Grainger. She has two brothers, Gregory Grainger Jr. and Eric Grainger. From an early age, it became evident to Joyce and Gregory that she was beautiful, special and caring, having a strong love for her friends and family. It was also apparent that she was outspoken when it came to issues that she believed to be unfair. This was demonstrated in elementary school where, while receiving an award in scholastic achievement, Dianne spoke out against what she felt was unfair treatment to some of her classmates.
Having come from a musical family, Dianne always loved music and would pursue percussion at the age of 14. While in her first year at Baltimore City College High School, she joined the marching band as a cymbalist. Because of her drive and thirst for knowledge, she quickly advanced to the snare drum, became one of the best overall percussionists in the entire area, and would eventually teach inexperienced, inner-city youth through multiple programs that she founded, some of which are still in existence. Dianne refined her skills by taking private lessons and refining what she had learned with her father and professional drummer, Gregory Grainger. Through hard work and determination, Dianne was awarded a music scholarship to Howard University.
While at Howard, she played in both the concert and marching bands, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated percussionists in Howard’s history. Her love for music expanded even more when she became a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women. Dianne graduated Cum Laude in 2007 with a B.A. in Music Education and a minor in Percussion. She also received The Avedis Zildjian Percussion Scholarship, which is awarded to the most outstanding percussionist in the graduating class.
After graduating from Howard University, Dianne became a full time music education teacher at Deer Park Middle school in Baltimore County. There she would continue to enrich the music program and introduce computer music to her students. Dianne was also a professional musician, playing drums behind artists like Orianthi and Jaared. She even did tech work from time to time with Earth, Wind and Fire. Dianne was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington DC, where she was also the full-time drummer. She had a strong Christian faith, which was just as important to her as her music.
Once Dianne became a music educator, she could feel the void of not having music in primary and secondary schools. She witnessed all the inner-city youth that did not have the same opportunity to continue their education and eventually get music scholarships like she did. She was inspired to start a music program from a concept created by her “Uncle Glen.” Dianne and her dad, Gregory, talked about trying to make that plan a reality. Soon thereafter, Dianne connected with one of her Howard ensemble mates, Jeffery Tribble, Jr., who had also begun developing a similar concept. Dianne, Jeffery and Gregory had a meeting about their shared vision and the beginnings of The MusicianShip were born.
Unfortunately for all, Dianne died in a tragic accident on August 5, 2009 at the age of 24. She never had the chance to see her dream become a reality. But with the help of Jim Reznikoff, Eric Jacobs and Anja Broer, Jeffery and Gregory made The MusicianShip come to life. We are constantly sailing forward in memory of Dianne, all that she believed in, and her spirit is ever-present in The MusicianShip’s ongoing effort to change lives with music.