Friesen flies with Flamingos

By on Jul. 29, 2015 in Volleyball

Friesen flies with Flamingos

VIDEO: Green Flamingos | Overkill

By Jake Knabel, Director of Athletic Communications

For more than 50 years Orin Friesen has worked in radio and performed as a member of bluegrass and cowboy bands. He even played a concert on the Great Wall of China in 2006. His passion for music began on a Nebraska farm in the 1960s. Naturally, this love has passed down to his children.

Standing 6-foot-2 and known for rocking colorful head bands on the court, Concordia’s young middle from Wichita, Kan., has proven that her talent extends beyond the gym. Influenced by her father, Bulldog volleyball sophomore Annie Friesen rocks something other than a head band in her free time.

“My dad, brother and I all played music so we would just jam together,” Annie said. “We decided to form a little band. The band started about five years ago when I began playing drums.”

This summer Annie and her band, “Green Flamingos” (spawned in 2012), released a music video in which they covered the song “Overkill.” In it, Annie taps a giant sound speaker that she sits upon while brother Jessie and his friend Bobby J. Edwards sing and play guitar.

Annie may not be sure how the name Green Flamingos came about, but her talent as a musician is much less of a question. The band, known for ‘acoustified rock and pseudo-electrified folk,’ has gained steam by playing at such places as Wichita bars, at a car show and for a class reunion. This September they will bring their talents to the 44th annual Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kan. (She’ll work around the demanding volleyball schedule of course).

Like many things in her life, it seems that music has come naturally for Annie. The business major earned first team all-state volleyball honors as a star high school senior and led Trinity High School to a state championship match appearance. She finished her prep career as the school’s all-time blocks leader and was just as impressive in the classroom, posting a spotless 4.0 cumulative GPA.

It’s clear Annie has a love for hammering volleyballs – and drums.

“I grew up listening to good music because of my dad,” Friesen said. “I’ve have had the opportunities to go to great concerts with him and meet a lot of different musicians. All of those experiences have shaped my love of music. I always loved the drums. I used to make drum sets out of popcorn tins when I was little. I played saxophone in my middle school band but it was heavy and I didn't like carrying it around so I switched to the less bulky drum set. I also play the guitar and accordion a little bit.”

Listeners can enjoy more of Annie’s work on the drums via the Green Flamingos website. The site’s ‘music’ tab provides five audio tracks recorded by the band.

Until recently, head coach Scott Mattera and many of Annie’s teammates were unaware of the work she had produced alongside the Green Flamingos. Hardly a self-promoter, Annie may have to get used to a bigger spotlight. Mattera and several Bulldog players listened to the band’s music during recent volleyball camps on the Concordia campus. Their pleasant, soothing sounds, which make use of instruments such as ukuleles and penny whistles, drew rave reviews.

“We all knew she was a good musician and that it was a big part of her life, but none of us had really had an opportunity to hear her play,” Mattera said. “Coach (Rachel) Miller actually saw the video on Annie's mom's Facebook page and she forwarded it to me asking if I had seen it. I was blown away. It wasn't like, 'hey, it's Annie so I'll be encouraging and say it's good.’ It was 'stuck in my head, hum it the rest of the day' good. We had camps that week so I had a chance to see a bunch of our girls and share it with them. Their reaction was the same as mine, almost stunned then really excited. Everyone wanted to hear more and we started talking about we could host possibly host concerts.”

So get ready for the Green Flamingos. You just might find them coming to a location near you. Plus Annie isn’t likely to give up her passion anytime soon. It’s too deeply ingrained in the Friesen family.