Kalamazoo School of Music Instructors




Josh Barrett


Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts - Music Education; University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 1996


As an educator, Josh has taught 5th grade band in the Whitewater (Wisconsin) School District and middle-school band and general music in the Janesville School District. He also co-taught middle school band and general music in the Eau Claire Area School District. Before this, he maintained a private studio in the Milwaukee area.


As a performer, Josh has played trumpet with the Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra, UWW Community Wind Ensemble, LGSO Swing Band, LGSO Brass Quintet, Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Chippewa Valley Wind Ensemble. Josh has also performed numerous times for church services and school musical productions in his former hometown of Whitewater, Wisconsin.


Outside of music, Josh’s hobbies involve silent sports including: bicycling, running, hiking, skiing, sailing, backpacking and more.


Josh has recently relocated to Kalamazoo with his wife, Carrie and is happy to be part of the great team of Educators at The Marshall School of Music.

Janet Channells


Janet Channells attended Western Michigan University for music education. Her performance experience includes playing in the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra and the Kalamazoo Concert Band. Channels joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2007.

Craig Freeman

Trombone & Bass Trombone

Bass trombonist Craig Freeman is originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Bowling Green State University, and a master’s degree in trombone performance from Western Michigan University.

Freeman has been an active freelance musician in Southwest Michigan, performing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and Battle Creek Symphony. He also enjoys playing in non-classical settings, having performed and recorded with bands such as the Go Rounds, the Macpods, and Last Gasp Collective, as well as artist Aretha Franklin. When he’s not playing or teaching, Freeman enjoys bicycle riding in the beautiful Kalamazoo countryside.

Mike Shannon

Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium, & Tuba

Mike Shannon studied music education at Western Michigan University. He currently performs with several ensembles, playing tuba with the Battle Creek Symphony, bass trombone with the Southwest Michigan Symphony, tuba and euphonium with the St. Joseph Municipal Band, tuba with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet, and tuba with the Kalamazoo Brass. Shannon joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2010.

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​Luke Conklin


Luke Conklin studied oboe and flute at the Juilliard School, where he earned an M.M. in historical performance (2011). He is currently completing a D.M.A. in historical performance at Case Western Reserve University. He has performed nationally and internationally with major early music groups such as Apollo’s Fire, Trinity Wall Street, and The American Bach Soloists. His diverse musical tastes range from the French baroque to early Bebop as well as Celtic and world music. Conklin joined the Marshall Music Staff in 2019.

Rebekah Cain

Flute & Piccolo

Rebekah Cain is a freelance musician and has been playing flute since she was 10 years old. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in flute performance, as well as her Bachelor of English degree in literature, from Western Michigan University. She has been teaching private lessons for more than seven years.

Over the course of her professional playing career, she has given a multitude of solo recitals, and has been invited to perform in other musicians’ recitals. She has also performed at various churches and wedding ceremonies, multiple musicals and professional theatre productions, the WMU Symphony Orchestra, the WMU concert and symphonic band, the university flute choir, the WMU Pep Band, and the WMU Bronco Marching Band. During her time with the BMB, she taught as a section leader for three years and served on the conducting staff for her final year. She has also taught at multiple high school marching band camps for more than five years as a music and marching staff member. Cain joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2018.

Jolene Cron


Jolene Cron earned a Bachelor of Music in music education and music theory, as well as a Master of Education in early childhood education from Western Michigan University. She performs with the Kalamazoo Concert Band, Silver Triad Flute Choir, Western Michigan University Flute Choir, and WMU Chamber Choir. She has also played with the Arioso String Quartet & Trio, the Kalamazoo Philharmonia, and the Calvary Bible Church Orchestra, in addition to being a freelance musician.

Cron is originally from Sand Creek. She was an elementary general music teacher for 15 years in the Kalamazoo Public Schools system and has taught private lessons for 35 years. Cron joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2013.

Dawn Garrett


Dawn Garrett earned a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in clarinet performance from Western Michigan University. She has gained performance experience playing in the Southwest Michigan Symphony and the hand bell choir at her church. Garrett is originally from Vicksburg and has taught private clarinet lessons for over 20 years. She joined the Marshall Music staff in 2006.

Conor Sprunger


Conor Sprunger received his Bachelor of Music in Education from Western Michigan University. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in clarinet performance at WMU. Originally from Jackson, Sprunger has lived in the Kalamazoo area for the past six years and has performed extensively on clarinet and bass clarinet with the WMU Symphonic Band and Orchestra, Kalamazoo Philharmonia, Holland Symphony Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphonic Band. Sprunger joined the Marshall Music staff in 2018.

Bobbi Lukowski


Bobbi Lukowski earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Central Michigan University as a bassoon major with a theory and composition minor. Her performance experience includes playing with the Alma Symphony, Kent Philharmonia, Sturgis Wind Symphony, Kalamazoo College and Community Orchestra, Kalamazoo Concert Band, and various local pit orchestras. Lukowski joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2011.

Alex Ensing


Alex Ensing earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in multimedia arts technology. Ensing has been playing saxophone since 2007 and has gained a wealth of performance experience through his involvement in a variety of musical endeavors, including pit orchestra performances, the Kalamazoo Concert Band, the WMU Concert Band, the WMU Jazz Lab Band, the WMU Pep Band, and his high school and college marching bands. During his time with the WMU Marching Band, he was a featured soloist at the 2017 Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Ensing has acquired teaching experience through his time as a section leader of the Bronco Marching Band, as well as through private lessons and instruction at various high school band camps. Ensing joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2018.

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Orchestral Strings

Sava Velkoff


Sava Velkoff is currently an undergraduate student studying Viola Performance at Western Michigan University. She grew up in Kalamazoo and attended Kalamazoo Public Schools, taking part in their growing music programs. Sava has performed solo works with multiple orchestras including the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed abroad in Italy, Austria and participates in International Music Festivals. Besides solo repertoire, Sava enjoys playing chamber and orchestral music, and loves performing around the community.

Negar Afazel


Negar Afazel is from Tehran, Iran. She studied violin performance in Germany-Hannover and at the Tehran University of Fine Arts. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Western Michigan University, majoring in violin performance. She was the first violinist in Quartet du Monde, is a KSO Artist Scholar, and is a diverse performer with extensive experience performing chamber music and solo works. Afazel is also a frequent performer of new music and contemporary styles, such as jazz and multimedia works.

Erin Thomas


Erin Thomas studied violin performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Western Michigan University and is currently pursuing another degree from WMU.

Thomas is the substitute violinist for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. In addition to the symphonies listed, she plays with the Kalamazoo Philharmonia and has given concerts all over the world. She has also played in master classes for PBS broadcasts with Mark O’Connor and Arnold Steinhardt.

Thomas has competed nationally and internationally, coming in third place in the international IBLA competition. She was awarded the Wienawski award at the International IBLA Carnegie Hall competition and has soloed with numerous symphonies, including the Kalamazoo Symphony, Rochester Symphony, and Cleveland Orchestra. She has also performed with Natalie McMaster, Mark Wood, Gil Shazam, Hilary Hahn, The Getty’s, Regin Guttesin, and many others. In addition to concerts, Thomas had the privilege of being part of two movies – a short film and a feature-length film – recording and being on screen for both. She joined the Marshall Music teaching staff in 2001.

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Guitar & Percussion