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 things that she believed were unfair or wrong. This was demonstrated in elementary school where, while receiving an award in scholastic achievement, Dianne picked that opportunity to speak out against what she felt was unfair treatment to some of her classmates.
Dianne always had a love for music, having come from a musical family. However, she did not decide to pursue music until 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 improved her percussive skills to become one of the best snare drummers and all around percussionists in the entire area. Dianne furthered 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. In March of 2003, before she left home to attend Howard, Dianne was the Drum Line Instructor of New Energy, a Baltimore City Community Marching Band. She taught music to inexperienced, inner-city youth between the ages of ten and seventeen. Under her guidance they would learn musical background in the art of marching percussion.
When Dianne went to Howard, she played in both the concert and marching bands, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated percussionists in Howard’s history. Also a part of the concert and marching ensembles was Jeffery L. Tribble Jr., with whom she would later become friends. Dianne and Jeffery would work closely on the drum line, performing countless times together. Her love for music expanded even more when she became a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women. Dianne would share her knowledge with her SAI sisters and have a profound impact on all those that knew her. 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.
Also while attending Howard, Dianne was one of the founders of The Marching Elite (TME), a music program dedicated to working with disadvantaged youth in Baltimore. TME assisted students in bettering themselves by exposing them to music and unity. This positive group stressed the importance of everyday manors and social skill development. Dianne noticed that these attributes were missing in the youth of today and like always wanted to do something about it. TME would raise money by selling food and having car washes. They would use this money for equipment and to help sponsor trips out of town for marching competitions. While working with TME, Dianne started to notice that a lack of after school activities made it too easy for inner city youth to get into trouble. She noticed that there were not many options other than sports and gangs. She remembered hearing stories in her household about the importance of music education and how having music in elementary school, middle school and high school enabled her grandfather, aunt, father and uncles to receive scholarships so that they could continue their education. Because of the educational doors that music opened, there are now three teachers and two Doctors of Education in the Grainger family. Dianne was also inspired by her dad and uncle, who as professional musicians are able to do something they love, while supporting families and paying for college tuition.
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, doing gigs and 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 saw music as one way to get out of “the hood” and was saddened that it was being taken away. To Dianne, this was unfair and wrong. She was inspired to start a music school from a concept created by her uncle Glen. Dianne and her dad talked about trying to make that plan a reality. Ironically enough, Jeffery Tribble had begun developing a similar concept. Dianne, Jeffery and Gregory had a meeting about the vision that they shared one evening. From that meeting, 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 have been able to make The MusicianShip come to life. We are constantly sailing forward in memory of Dianne and all that she believed in.