Elijah Stinson, Letting His Light Shine

Elijah Raynard Stinson, senior at Central Michigan University and my very best friend, has been preparing for his senior recital since he set foot on campus as a freshman music theater major in 2015.

Since then, Stinson has played many roles in mainstage university theater productions, excelled as an inclusion assistant with ResLife and sung his tenor heart out with Fish n’ Chips a cappella. Among these many roles, he’s  best known as a faithful follower of Christ, a sunshine son, an endearing performer and a most supportive friend.

His recital, called “Let Your Light Shine,” perfectly defines his impact on this campus and ties together the songs in his setlist.

He begins with “This Little Light of Mine” arranged by Hale Smith to showcase his perfect blend of soul and spiritual nostalgia to segue into “Mama Says” from Footloose.

Stinson’s set also includes his original song “Still Love You,” with tenor Erik Thorson singing harmony. “Still Love You,” is currently available for streaming on iTunes and Spotify.

Audience members will also hear stylings from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Kinky Boots, Once on This Island, and Shrek.

Stinson’s recital is indicative of the light he has brought to others in his time at CMU. But this kaleidoscope recital of repertoire and roles he’s worked tirelessly on for the last four years is more than just a celebration of his work. Stinson has spent time reflecting on his passion for the arts and his calling as a performer to realize it’s for more than the applause; to Stinson, it’s a ministry.

“Let Your Light Shine” is his farewell and best wishes to everyone who’s offered him support, and it’s the greatest gift he knows how to give. For an artist like Stinson, a performance colored with pieces of his personality, passion and love is deeply personal and sometimes challenging to deliver.




To my best friend:

Thank you for your generous spirit, your warm heart; thank you for your kindness all of these years. As difficult as it is for me to imagine my senior year without you, our friendship is so much more than going to the same school or seeing each other every day. I can’t wait to see where you soar; I won’t be far behind. I love you, Elijah.