Every Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra performance is special, but this fall’s concert, to be held Sunday, Sep. 10, at 4:00 p.m. in the Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary Chapel, is particularly noteworthy.
First, the occasion marks the return of cellist Colin Stokes. The son of Gettysburg residents Lisa Portmess and Harry Stokes, Stokes was born and raised in Gettysburg before becoming one of the most highly regarded musicians of his generation.
Stokes made his debut at the age of 15 when he shared the stage with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has performed extensively around the world as a soloist and as a member of the Berlin-based, genre-defying classical electro crossover ensemble Symphoniacs, the contemporary classical ensemble Zohn Collective, and the Bride Arts Ensemble, a teaching-artist organization.
A notable performance took place on New Year’s Eve 2017 when Symphoniacs performed in front of more than a million people at Berlin’s Brandenberg Gate at Europe’s largest New Year’s Eve party.
The evening’s program includes two significant works by Czech composer Anton Dvorak: the Cello Concerto and his Symphony for the New World.
The program is also notable because it marks the 50th performance of the chamber orchestra and will be the last under the baton of founder Norm Nunamaker, who is retiring after this performance. Norm and his wife Carolyn have shared responsibility since the ensemble was created. “I handled the music and she did everything else,” Norm once chuckled.
The concert marks a one-of-a-kind occasion to honor a returning native son and pay respects to two titans of the Gettysburg cultural scene.
Leon Reed, freelance reporter, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.