"I was first called to a life in music by Sunday radio broadcasts of concerts and opera with which my mother ans sister would sing along throughout the house. The gramaphone and radio also introduced me to ragtime, early jazz, swing bands, country western and popular song.

"I first participated in music making as a boy soprano from age six until my voice changed whereupon I switched to the bass section of the choir and sang in it until going off to college.

One day at the piano in the "back bedroom" where I was supposed to be practicing for my weekly piano lesson with Evelyn White but, bored with that, had drifted into endless improvisiongs, my younger sister opened the door and said, 'You're just making that up as you go along.' She was right! and that's what I've been doing ever since - just making it up."

 
 

Shortly after the death of Eric Stokes in March of 1999, his family and friends set up a Fund in his memory. It was his wish that most of the income from music rental and royalties received by Horspfal Music Concern, his publishing company, be donated to such a fund, which he named "Earth's Best in Tune."

The Fund is administered by the Southern Theater, a Minneapolis presenter which has non-profit status and which offers the public a wide range of dance, music and theater. Eric was totally sympathetic with the Southern's artistic philosophy. The "Eric Stokes Fund at the Southern Theater - Earth's Best in Tune" will adhere to the following statements made by Eric in his will and subsequent notes:

Provide grants to individuals and non-profits that support one or more of the following goals:

1. Acquaint emerging musicians with the music of Eric Stokes by assisting emerging musicians to pair up with established professionals in collaborative public performances and presentations, that, whenever possible, center on ecological and environmental issues, personalities, histories, and the like.

2. Support new music about nature and the environment.

For further information or to make a contribution, please contact us via email at stoke003@tc.umn.edu