Girrard Stewart was born in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of two, he moved with his family to Orrville, Ohio. The oldest of nine children, he began his music career in his family’s church choir directed by his father, James, who as a youth sang with gospel music legends, Sam Cooke and Mahalia Jackson.
Mr. Stewart attended Kent State University where he majored in instrumental music and choral conducting. He studied conducting and vocal arranging with Grammy Award winning choral conductor, Vance George. Stewart founded a student show group called “The New Kent Singers” that eventually became a class on the KSU curriculum.
Beginning in 1970, Stewart began serving on the staff of the All-Ohio Youth Choir, which was directed by the man he calls his musical and show business “Father”, the late Mr. Glenville D. Thomas, Founder of the All-Ohio Youth Choir. Thomas recognized Stewart’s talents and mentored him to the position of Assistant Conductor of the All-Ohio Youth Choir, a post Stewart held for 17 years.
During those seventeen years, Stewart produced and staged numerous shows for the Youth Choir, not only at The Ohio State Fair, but for national performances as well. These included NBC’s The Today Show, The Phil Donahue Show, several Tournament of Roses Parade Specials, and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, just to name a few.
For the past decade, Stewart has been Vocal Director at a prestigious performing arts school in Northeast Ohio. Many of his students have gone on to perform in Broadway productions, feature films, music videos, and as entertainers on cruise ships. He also coached two Miss Ohio winners in the competition for the Miss America crown.
He is in demand as a judge and clinician. He has teamed with American Idol and High School Musical vocal coach Debra Byrd for vocal and performance clinics.
As a singer and instrumentalist, Stewart had the pleasure to sing and perform in the grand concert halls of Europe, and throughout the United States. Most recently, he was onstage in the new Off-Broadway production of “Stepp Stewart’s Red Hot Broadway” with Tony nominee and Grammy winner B. J. Crosby (Smokey Joe’s Café), recording artist Deborah Gibson and Grammy winner Freda Payne (Band of Gold).