Jamsheed Pirzada Ahmad graduated from Boston University in 2000 with a B.A in Music Theory and Composition. After leaving Boston, he returned to his hometown of Cleveland, OH and studied piano with James Tannenbaum at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Maria Pla at Cleveland State University where he earned his professional teaching certificate in music. Mr. Ahmad has been teaching piano privately for 15 years and has been employed as a public school elementary music teacher since 2006 serving both the communities of Orlando, Fl and Austin, TX. He currently resides in South Austin with his wife, Shani, where together they run a small private music academy instructing 35-40 students a week through both group and private lessons.
Aisha Melhem holds a Master of Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in directing from Texas State University in San Marcos, TX 2010. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in acting with honors in 2008 from St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX. Aisha has been acting for seventeen years, singing her whole life, and has over 20 years dance experience. She is an award winning actress and has appeared in many productions in Austin, Texas. She was part of the ensemble of creators of EARTH and was featured in Sing Muse! as Terpsichore the Muse of Dance, which won a B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Cast Performance 2013 at the Vortex Theater. In the summer of 2012 she moved to Cherokee, North Carolina where she appeared in the 63rd year summer run of Unto these Hills as Anecie and Meli in the world premiere of Cherokee Family Reunion at the Mountainside Theater. She has directed and appeared in several music videos, short and feature films. Aisha continues to work as an actress, director, choreographer, and teaching artist. Her true passion is to educate and help others strengthen their craft. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of B*Tru Arts, a non-profit theatre/film production company with a Talent Management Division and the Academy that offers pre-professional training in dance and theatre as well as B*Tru Arts X*TRA, a performing arts after school program that enriches the curriculum of local schools. For more information visit her websites: www.aisharose.com & www.BTruArts.org
Born and raised in Alice TX, Mark Turk had spent his early years studying and performing music. Mark left Alice in 1995 to attend Texas State University in San Marcos TX. He studied business at the University however, he could not escape the allure of music. He began performing with local bands. Upon graduating, Mark moved to Austin Texas to be in the middle of the live music capital of the world.
For the next 10 years, Mark performed, recorded, and toured with local musicians. In 2007 Mark enrolled at MediaTech where he was certified in audio engineering. Mark began producing and engineering at Larsen Records Studio until 2012. Since then, Mark has been teaching music classes for public and private schools, as well as private music lessons on bass, guitar, piano, and voice. After seeing the needs of music education in public schools, Mark decided to focus on low income, at-risk students and founded Beyond the Grade.
Visit Turk Productions for more info on Mark.
Currently residing in Austin, TX, Rachel Fuhrer is a highly active musician, educator, and writer. She has played drums for artists such as Ume, Corey Glover (Living Colour), Brad Houser (Edie Brickel), and Eric McFadden (P-Funk Allstars) among many others. Over the years, Rachel has shared the stage with hundreds of notable artists including Jane’s Addiction, Blondie, The Toadies, and Franz Ferdinand. She was featured in the May, 2014 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, the January 2012 issue of DRUM! Magazine and is a contributing writer for TomTom magazine in the Tips and Techniques column. Last year, Fuhrer was also featured in the book Woman Drummers, A History by Angela Smith (Rowman & Littlefield). While in Ume, the band appeared on Travel Channel’s No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly. Rachel graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she studied privately with Rod Morgenstein (Winger, Dixie Dregs) and Jackie Santos Jr. (Tavares, Beaver Brown Band). Teaching is a great source of joy for Rachel, as she teaches pre-school music classes, coaches after-school rock band programs and has enjoyed a full roster of private drum students for the past 5 years.
Maraba DiRaddo joyfully teaches adults, kids and families specializing in Breathing Classes, Restorative Yoga, Pilates and Reflexology. Maraba combines extensive knowledge of the body with an intuitive and compassionate approach to healing. She lives with her abundantly energetic family of 4 in Austin, Texas and enjoys the benefits of a great community, healthy and delicious food, and yoga of many types. She has over 25 years experience in Holistic Movement and Bodywork. Maraba has worked with all ages and body types, including in clinic, hospital, school, home and gym settings. Currently Maraba teaches private and small group classes in two central Austin Zilker area studios and schools, as well as making Yoga and Reflexology “house calls”. She makes great Yoga Soup! Find out more about me, here.