We wanted to send a special shout to all the members of Omega Psi Phi including our esteemed contributing writer “The Ricker” on this their 100th Founder’s Day.

We live in a very different world now than in 1911, but there is something to be said for striving to achieve excellence in one’s endeavors, concern for humanity, rigorous intellectual pursuit and tenacity. These virtues have no expiration date and I was fortunate to be raised by a man who’s life was the blueprint for this unfinished personhood that I am still working on.

It’s a very interesting life that my father Dawes L. Orr Sr. lived and perhaps one day I will commit it to a proper telling. Before becoming ill later in life my dad was a very active member of Omega Psi Phi having been one of the charter members at St. Paul’s College in 1951, upon returning to college after serving in World War II. He taught Industrial Arts for over 35 years before retiring, built the home I grew up in, and more importantly loved his family and was there for every baseball, basketball, football game, piano and dance recital, play, awards ceremony, church activity or anything else you could name that his children were involved in. That’s the definition of a real man to me and I often tell folks that when I was growing up I never had to wonder where my father was because most of the time he was a room or two away and I could go and talk to him.

With any relationship, you grow and go through phases. Growing up it wasn’t always the most popular thing to be the son of a teacher at the school that you go to but as I got into my teenage years and began to participate in sports and go on to high school, a few gentlemen that I would meet would have such nice things to say about my dad in reverence… I later came to realize they were his fraternity brothers and they too seemed to hold steadfast to the same values my dad had.

It’s been a little over a decade since my dad and I have been able to talk to each other in the flesh. I think he came to realize and respect that where he made his mark on this world as a builder and an educator that I would do the same as a musician and social commentator. He always stood up, was outspoken and his interest was in ultimately what was right. We never talked a lot about music, but I know he did love music, I still remember his favorite album to play was Still In Love With You by Al Green and his favorite song, well I’ll post the cover by our Artist of the Month…

When I was 5 years old my dad proudly gave me a T-Shirt that said “My Daddy is in Omega Psi Phi” he still is and I’m sure he is up there fraternizing with some good brothers. To those of you who choose to live your lives and represent your organization in this manner I salute you! Happy 100th!

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.