The Daniel Pearl Music Foundation

I've been gone for a month - feels like six! No Internet, television or cell phone service. So much catching up to do.
I've been attending a month long music festival in the Texas Hill Country. Lots of great music and late nights! The highlight of the music festival for me was a surprise group called The Fire Ants out of Austin, Texas. A group of teenagers that came on for a 20 minute set. I was standing up on the hillside talking with a friend - when this group started playing my ears perked up - I had to get closer!

Ian Stewart, far left, a 17 year old senior at West Lake High School in Austin, heads up this band.
Stewart is the 2008 recipient of the Daniel Pearl Music Foundation Violin. Most of us know Daniel Pearl as the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan. He was also a gifted musician. Jonathan Cooper, a well respected violin maker from Maine wanted to honor Pearl's memory by starting a foundation in his name. Jon crafted a fine violin, the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin, and presented it to Mark O'Connor at a Boston concert in honor of Daniel. Each summer at the Mark O'Connor Strings Conference, an exceptional violinist is presented with the violin to play for one year.

Ian Stewart - "I am so honored and humbled by being this year's recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin. This symbol of unity and peace has so much meaning and power behind it and what better way to keep Daniel's message alive than through this mission of connecting people through music. The Daniel Pearl Violin is simple and profound and I hope to transmit that idea whenever and wherever I play this beautiful instrument."

He did that and more - these kids rocked the house! Everyone was dancing!

Including me!

Sotto Il Monte Vineyards
Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman


  1. I love it when something so special happens to us we have to tell the world..and shout it on rooftops!
    I bet I would like this young group too!

  2. Love this post! And of course the pics....

  3. Thank you so much for the great review you gave us. We had an amazing experience playing at K'Ville. Next time you are in Austin come see us. We'll put you on the guest list. You can be our friend @ www.myspace.com/fireantsaustin


  4. Ian - Would love, love, love to see you guys play a longer set.
    I look forward to following your musical rise to fame!
    All the best,

  5. Ian doesn't head up the band. It's a musical democracy.

  6. but otherwise it was good, thanks! mmmmmmm, music P:


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