[picappgallerysingle id="1981878"]Interview, Chris Burke
Starring in the hit TV series Life Goes On, Chris Burke is probably best known for his on-screen character, Charles ‘Corky‘ Thacher. As Corky on Life Goes On, Chris showed viewers a peek into his characters’ world- bringing the realities of Down Syndrome into our hearts and minds.
After the success of Life Goes On, Chris continued his career in acting, just as he continued to illustrate his abilities and bring awareness to what others may call his “disability.” You see, Chris points that it’s is not our disabilities (and we all have them), but what we do with our abilities that count.
Aside from acting, Chris continuously promotes this message of inclusion and ability awareness. He currently performs with a band, along with friends Joe & Jon DeMasi, and when not on the road performing finds time to work for the National Down Syndrome Society as the Editor in Chief of “Upbeat,” a quarterly news magazine which is written by and for people with Down Syndrome. But his accomplishments don’t end there, Chris has also co-authored a book about his life, A Special Kind of Hero.
No doubt, his abilities are inspirational, and I had the opportunity to sit down with Chris and talk to him about his life and his own inspirations. Check out the full interview after the jump!
STELLA: First of all, How are you?
CHRIS: Fine, thanks!
STELLA: I have to start by talking with you about your iconic role as Corky- how has that experience shaped you?
CHRIS: I got to show people that Corky had a lot of abilities, not only disabilities.
STELLA: You act and sing, did you know you always wanted to perform?
STELLA: Currently, you are in a band with Joe and John DeMasi and have been for over a decade. Tell me a little about that.
CHRIS: Being in a band with Joe and John is great, it’s wonderful. It is something that we always wanted to do. We have a musical presentation called “Everyone Can Be A…Singer With The Band”. We travel all over the country and perform at schools, festivals, concerts, conferences and Buddy Walks.
STELLA: What made you decide to make music?
CHRIS: I’ve never studied music but I’ve always loved music because there are a lot of great messages in the songs and I love to entertain and perform for my fans.
STELLA: How would you describe your music?
CHRIS: It’s full of inspiration and we want to encourage people. Our music is rock and roll geared for kids and families. We do songs about love, friendship, inclusion and fun songs. We have recorded four albums. Lollipops and Love Songs is our first album for preschoolers. Singer With The Band is our second one. That one was nationally released. Our third one is Forever Friends which won a Parents Choice Gold Seal for Excellence award and our latest one is A World Of Kindness.
STELLA: What’s your message?
CHRIS: My message is to believe in yourself, work hard, and never give up. It’s not about performing disabilities, it’s about performing abilities.
STELLA: You’ve known Joe and John for quite some time, when did you all meet and at what point did you start performing together?
CHRIS: We met when I was about 13 years old. Joe and John were my music counselors at a summer day camp that I attended on Long Island, New York called Camp Anchor. I was always a big fan of Joe and John’s music and we put our group together in 1992.
STELLA: You’re involved in so many projects, what are you working on now?
CHRIS: I am now working on Forever Friends, an inclusive show for kids that will feature children with and without disabilities. We want to teach, love, tolerance and inclusion for all children. In our song “Forever Friends” I say that I may have Down Syndrome, I may have a disability but I have the ability to be your friend. That is the message of the show. We are really hoping to get the Pepsi grant. That will really help us make this show. I hope everyone will support us and vote for our idea.
STELLA: You’re positive outlook on life is truly inspiring. What would you say most inspires you?
CHRIS: My parents, my family and my friends. When I was little I loved to watch TV. I used to watch the Electric Company and that gave me the idea to do this show.