Colin Stokes. How do I even start to tell you who Colin Stokes is? There are so many layers to this man, and I feel like I have scratched the surface, possibly seen through a crack of his carefully-constructed deliberateness.
Colin is from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The house he grew up in was a hospital during the Civil War. When we talked of what I know about the battleground, he reminded me of Lincoln calling it, “hallowed ground.” He knows the area well, enjoying walks with his dogs.
The story goes that he heard Yo-Yo Ma playing on the radio when he was five years old, and told his parents he wanted to play that. He started learning at age seven, and at 13 moved to Baltimore to be closer to his teacher. He got to play with Ma when he was a teenager, an experience he is very humble and brief to recount.
He says the project is already a success. The rehearsal, the sense of collaboration with all the players, creating a fully staged dramatic work was exciting, and he’s never been involved in anything like it. He believes those emotions… that youthful energy will come through in the performance.
Here are his words:
I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania, and though I left home at a young age to live closer to my cello teacher, I have always felt a deep connection with my home community. Since high school some of my most rewarding experiences have been returning to Gettysburg to perform and teach, so when Kristen approached me about forming this ensemble, the strength of her conviction and a project that felt so familiar to me was inspiring and exciting. The chance to work with this diverse, talented group on such an innovative project is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop a truly communicative program and I am so excited to share it with the students and audiences of Kristen’s home state.
A very close friend of mine is from KC and I have been hearing about the BBQ since we met a decade ago. I must admit that my first thought when I heard we would be traveling to Kansas was that I might finally get to try burnt ends.
The tour starts in Garden City on Tuesday, September 2, at the Garden City High School, continues in Lawrence on Thursday, September 4, and ending on Saturday, September 6, in Kansas City.
More about the project, the tour, and the performers can be found online at Arts Fusion Initiative.