Let's Hear It

Craig Freeman

Violinist Ahmed Tofiq has become, by neccessity, a bridge between Eastern and Western musical traditions, and a bridge between cultures as well. The co-founder of a youth orchestra for children of Syrian refugees, Orchestra Rouh, he speaks Arabic and excels in playing traditional melodies in the styles he learned growing up in Kurdistan. But Tofiq has embraced life in Kalamazoo since moving here to earn his master's degree in music at Western Michigan University in 2014. He knows that music is one way to form connections, and a feeling of home, quickly.

In the Takeda studio, with his violin, Ahmed Tofiq tells his story and plays a few of his favorite maqamat as he speaks with Craig Freeman. 


Craig Freeman

What does it take to be a professional classical musician while maintaining a private teaching studio of 40-50 students? Trumpeter Keith Geiman addresses that question with WMUK contributor Craig Freeman, performing some of his favorite pieces with his Britton-Geiman Duo partner, pianist Thom Britton. They play arrangements of Clark's Venus Waltz, Gershwin's Summertime, and the Thiele/Weiss tune, What A Wonderful World. In remembrance of influential Western Michigan University performer/educator  Stephen Jones, Geiman plays two verses of Amazing Grace.


Catalina Gonzalez

Jordan Hamilton is a performer who took his training in classical cello and transformed himself into a soloist who sings, raps, writes, and performs electro-acoustic arrangements on the cello. Originally from Maryland, he is a member of the Last Gasp Collective, and recently completed his master's degree in music performance from Western Michigan University. WMUK contributor Craig Freeman invited him to play his eclectic solo set live in the Takeda Studio and talk about his uncommon path to self-expression.


Meghan Stagl and Matthew Epperson started their duo while studying jazz at Western Michigan University, where, they say, jazz students are thrown into a churning musical mix from the get-go. They like their collaboration for the same reasons: their roles combine to suggest all the elements of a song, but there's a lot of freedom to play around with the tunes. With a new album in the works, they joined Cara Lieurance in the Takeda Studio for a selection of old and new standards.


C. Lieurance

Three members of the Kalamazoo Brass Collective - founders Bob Lewis and Craig Freeman, and trumpeter Dave Bernard - play inventive and original arrangements of seasonal music in the WMUK Takeda studio, and have a conversation about their lives as musicians with Cara Lieurance. 


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