By Isabel Pedersen
It is tempting to classify Chris Light as a 21st-century “Renaissance Man.” His interests have been so wide-ranging and the fields of his endeavors so varied that he probably qualifies. Photographer, journalist, computer specialist, artist, musician, composer, economist. He is quick to point out that it is the computer which makes all of this possible.
Between and after his degrees, a B.A. from Carleton College, an M.S. from Columbia University, an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, he worked as a reporter/photographer for a California newspaper, editor and publisher of the Kalamazoo Magazine in his Michigan home town, associate professor and chair of the Finance Department at Roosevelt University in Chicago. From 1980 to the present, his continuing freelance career gets more difficult to describe.
Chris built his own computer in the late 1970’s and wrote for computer magazines. Though not a musician, he learned to use the computer to perform electronic music and produced four albums, two of them commissioned by the Musical Heritage Society in an attempt to recreate the sounds of earlier instruments which no longer exist.
Since 1995, Chris has been combining his interests in photography and the computer to create digital photographs, culminating in a dozen one-person shows and some large-scale commissioned work in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor.
Margo, meanwhile, has had a more straight-line but equally interesting career. The daughter of German immigrants in New York, she found, while at Hope College in Michigan, that she loved reading German literature. After a junior year in Munich, Margo gathered up an M.A. from Indiana University, and then taught German at Kalamazoo College until 2002. Her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan included a dissertation on contemporary author, Peter Hacks.
Margo and Chris’s shared love of music was partly responsible for their finding one another. In 1994 Chris’s daughter picked out Margo for her father because of that mutual passion. Margo has a rather rare skill, English Change Ringing on tower bells. Change Ringing is done by pulling on the ropes to ring bells in cathedrals and churches. The Lights’ activities on behalf of the Kalamazoo Symphony and now the Sarasota Concert Association are more evidence of their musical interests. As long-time volunteers at the Sarasota Music Archive, they have helped provide a valuable resource for other music lovers. Meanwhile, they have found time to play grandparents to the four grandchildren produced by Margo’s son and Chris’s two children.
We are fortunate that this fascinating pair has decided to move here from their long-time winter home on Longboat Key. And just wait until you get a taste of Margo’s coffeecake.