Thalea and Justin Stokes
About Thalea
Thalea Stokes is a professional musician and aspiring educator. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Thalea has achieved a great variety of personal and professional accomplishments throughout her life and career.

Being born to military parents and thus traveling the world from infancy, Thalea began life immersed in many different cultures gained a profound interest in learning about people around the world. She developed an affinity for Japanese language and culture in primary school; she studied the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do as a teenager and earned a First Degree Black Belt upon graduating high school; and she took her first of soon to be many trips to China when she was 16-years-old.

In addition to cultural appreciation, Thalea explored European classical music appreciation at an early age. She began studying double bass, as well as piano, at the age of twelve. As a teen, she participated in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program, where she studied under professional bassists Chester GriffinRalph Jones and Dr. Jacqueline Pickett.

Thalea graduated Salutatorian from DeKalb School of the Arts in Atlanta. She then went on to attend and graduate Summa Cum Laude from Western Michigan University, where she obtained:
  • Master of Arts in Music (with a focus on Ethnomusicology); her Master’s thesis, titled Across the Red Steppe: Exploring Mongolian Music in China and Exporting it from Within, is a comprehensive ethnography of the unique and diasporic effects of Mongolian music culture in China
  • Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance, studying under Tom Knific, with a minor concentration in Mandarin Chinese
  • Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies with a geographical focus area on China 
Thalea is also very proud of her experiences working at the WMU Confucius Institute, teaching double bass Crescendo Academy of Music, teaching Mandarin at Kalamazoo Chinese Christian Church, and serving as a counselor and Assistant Site Coordinator at Sherman Lake Summer Camp and at Educating for Freedom in Schools respectively. Thalea is currently a PhD student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago where she is continuing her focus on Mongolian music, specifically the cultural leveling effect rap and hip-hop music appears to have among Mongols in Mongolia and throughout the Mongolian diaspora. Her expected year of graduation is 2020.