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Joe Nibley, Fort Lewis College’s musical storyteller

Fort Lewis College trumpet professor Joseph Nibley will perform in the FLC Faculty Showcase on Friday. (Courtesy of Judith Reynolds)
Trumpet professor to perform in faculty showcase

“The story starts on a dark, cold winter’s night, when the Hero hears the call.”

So begins Joe Nibley’s storytelling recital, “A Hero’s Tale,” at 7 p.m. Friday in Roshong Recital Hall at Fort Lewis College. It’s a fresh approach to faculty recitals.

Now in his fifth year at FLC, Nibley is a familiar face in the local music scene. He’s an assistant professor of music, brass studies, new music, orchestration, collaborative techniques, and neurodiversity and education. He’s also the FLC Assessment Liaison for Music as well as a member of the FLC Honors Council. Music fans have seen him in any number of FLC concerts. He’s also a member of the brass section of the San Juan Symphony.

In 2019, Nibley came to Durango with four music degrees in his trumpet case: a doctorate from Florida State University, two master’s degrees from the prestigious School of Music at the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. Before arriving at FLC, he taught at the University of South Alabama. He’s performed all over the country in orchestras and as a soloist from Georgia to Texas. And, he commissions new music.

If you go

WHAT: Fort Lewis College Faculty Recital, Joe Nibley Trumpet.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday.

WHERE: Roshong Recital Hall, Jones Hall, FLC, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: $15, at the door. FLC students and those 18 and younger free.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.fortlewis.edu/music or call 247-7087.

Nibley’s sense of humor is rarely hidden. He adds a certain frisson to all his performances. In last year’s Faculty Showcase, he played a commissioned work titled “Chunk of Plumbing,” humorously self-referencing his favorite instrument.

His 2024 faculty recital, he said, reflects some big changes in his life as a musician and professor.

“First, I wanted to construct a program that would push me technically and physically while also being enjoyable for the audience,” he said. “The concept is new and exciting to me. Second, I wanted to feature music my students could perform. Third, I wanted to feature new music or new arrangements of old music. And fourth, I wanted to experiment with programming music that told a story. The emotions conveyed through the music are the connective tissue.”

Nibley’s “A Hero’s Tale” musically begins with two works by contemporary composers Kevin McKee and Marcus Grant. Part Two is “The Hero’s Celebration and Pursuit of Unrequited Love,” with new arrangements for works by Berlioz and Rachmaninoff. To conclude, he will play a short 2023 work by William Stowman titled “Yorkshire.” It functions as an epilogue, Nibley said.

“There will be narration between each piece, and I hope the audience’s imagination will take over,” he said.

Collaborative pianist and new member of the FLC music faculty Holly Quist will join Nibley on this unusual musical journey.

Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.