Kimberly and Chris: Life strikes a perfect tune in Thunder Bay

November 2022

Both professional violinists originally from the States, Kimberly Durflinger and Chris Stork ended up at McGill University in the same masters of violin performance program.
Kimberly is from San Diego and Chris is from Planfield, Vermont.

“We had the same violin professor, but we never saw each other because we were both really busy,” says Kimberly.

“It wasn’t until after university that a mutual friend asked us both to play a wedding gig that we met again and bonded over things like baked goods, mario kart, and the struggle of being
a freelance violinist,” says Chris.

From there, Chris ended up subbing for Kimberly in her class as both were primarily teachers rather than performers at the time. Their relationship took off, and the two lived together in Montreal for the first time at the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns.

Kimberly and Chris were motivated to find performing positions in the same orchestra, so when two opportunities arose in the TBSO they auditioned online and won spots.

“The cool thing about this orchestra in particular is that it’s a smaller orchestra, so everyone’s voice matters and can have an influence on the sound,” Kimberly tells me. “Everyone in the
TBSO has been really nice and really encouraging of the younger members of the orchestra.”

“Thunder Bay reminds me of home,” says Chris.

The couple mentions Tina’s as one of their favourite places to eat in Thunder Bay.

“I think that was the first place we went to when we got here,” says Chris. “It was warm, comforting, cheap, good food and we still go there a lot.”

“We also like Monsoon, the Indian restaurant. And Milktease. We basically just like eating,” laughs Kimberly.

“We also go to Windy Shores Cafe with our new puppy so we can grab a coffee and walk him around the marina,” says Chris.

“Thunder Bay has treated us really well, and it’s the most comfortable we’ve ever really been,” says Chris.“I realized I could actually propose to Kimberly now that we finally felt more settled in one place and in our jobs.”

“I had a plan to propose on Valentine’s Day this past year, but my plans had to change when Kimberly was called by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra to play with them for a month.”
With Kimberly now flying out of the city in early February, Chris scrambled to formulate a new plan for when he would pop the question. He decided to do it when the two went to Duluth, where Kimberly would be flying home to San Diego.

That night, after a few almost-attempts, an unsuspecting Kimberly teased Chris about when he was going to propose.

“I had the ring right in my pocket when she said this,” says Chris. “I tried to brush her comment aside as I was waiting until the right moment that evening.”

“Once we were back at the Air B&B after dinner, I made up some stupid thing to ask her to get her to look down, like ‘do you know what this part of the shoe is called?’”

“Gullible as she is, she looks down and I have the ring out. Once she saw it, she just turned into a waterfall of emotions.”

“It was weird too because I had never asked him or bugged him about when he was going to propose before,” says Kimberly. “I just had a feeling that day, I was sensing something.”

The two have plans to get married in the States next fall so that their families don’t have to travel as far.

Chris and Kimberly are about to spend their first Christmas together in Thunder Bay, as usually they both spend the holidays with their families. They’re looking forward to decorating a tree and spending a cozy Thunder Bay Christmas together.

Cassandra Blair has a Masters of Arts in English Literature and is a regular contributor to Bayview.

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