Jazz and classical music share the airwaves 50/50 Sunday at the Fort Lewis College Annual Faculty Showcase.
At 3 p.m. in Roshong Recital Hall, expect to see and hear three new faculty members of the FLC Music Department along with tenured stalwarts and a raft of adjuncts, old and new.
“We’ve gone through a great deal of change over the summer,” said Chairwoman Charissa Chiaravalloti. “Marc Reed and Kerry Ginger have taken other positions in Ohio and Tennessee, respectively, and will be missed. In July, our beloved band director, Mark Walters, faced sudden and severe health issues and we are hoping for his complete and speedy recovery.”
The departures of Reed (trumpet) and Ginger (voice) plunged the department into a serious search. And at the last minute, the unexpected medical emergency of FLC Band Director Walters pushed the department into finding someone to take a visiting professorship for this year.
Christopher Huls arrived Aug. 27, the first week of classes, to fill in for Walters. He’ll be directing the symphonic band, teaching applied lessons in clarinet and saxophone, charging up the FLC Pep Band and teaching a Blues, Jazz and Rock class online.
“I’ve taught online before,” Huls said. He’s also experienced in all the other areas he has to cover. With a doctorate from the University of Colorado-Boulder, a master’s from University of Central Missouri and an undergrad degree from Drake University, Huls has also presented clinics at national and regional conferences and was invited to conduct the U.S. Army Band, Pershing’s Own, in 2017.
Although a late arrival, Huls said recruitment and research are on his mind.
“Recruitment is something we have to do all the time, and athletic bands are the most visible ensemble on any campus,” he said. “I had a lot of experience at CU because it was Division I. The band always traveled with the team.”
The FLC Symphonic Band will go on a mini tour in January, Huls said, after performing at an educator’s conference in Colorado Springs.
“I’m also interested in encouraging up-and-coming composers to write for symphonic band, women and minority composers,” he said.
At the showcase, Huls will perform “Capriccio,” a work for solo clarinet by Heinrich Sutermeister.
Like Huls, Joseph Nibley (trumpet and horn) is keenly interested in new music. He commissioned a work by James Stephenson’s “Sonata No. 2 for Trumpet and Piano,” which he premiered and later performed at the international Trumpet Guild Conference in 2016.
Nibley’s doctorate in musical performance is from Florida State University. He earned his master’s from the University of Michigan in performance and chamber music, and his undergraduate degree is from Brigham Young University. He most recently taught at the University of South Alabama. He’s performed all over the country in orchestras and as a soloist from Georgia to Texas. Nibley regularly competes in the National Trumpet Competition and was a finalist in 2013.
Nibley will be teaching trumpet and horn, beginning conducting, senior seminar and an online course in music appreciation.
“My online students are from all over the country,” Nibley said. “One lives in Alaska.”
Embedded in the trumpet community, Nibley was part of Reed’s commissioning network for “Song for a Friend,” a work for solo trumpet by Kevin McKee in remembrance of mutual friend John Wacker.
Local music lovers may remember Reed’s performance as part of a previous FLC faculty recital. Nibley will add to that performance history on Sunday.
Like his other new colleagues, tenor Wesley Dunnagan holds degrees from prestigious institutions. His doctorate is from the University of Wisconsin/Madison. His master’s in Sacred Music is from the University of Notre Dame and his undergraduate degree in music is from Stanford.
“I’m mainly a Baroque specialist,” Dunnagan said. “I’ll be performing Alessandro Scarlatti’s ‘Mio Tesoro’ (My Treasure) with Joe Nibley on trumpet, Katherine Jetter, cello, and Linda Mack Berven on continuo – or piano in this case.
“When I met Joe here at Fort Lewis, he happened to have the Scarlatti score in his office. We got talking about it and decided to perform it in the faculty recital.”
The work is unusual, Dunnagan said. “Mio Tesoro” is No. 6 in a sequence of seven songs by the father of the more famous Domenico Scarlatti. It’s scored for four players and may be the most unusual work on the recital program. Dunnagan will also sing “An Evening Hymn” by Henry Purcell.
Dunnagan takes over courses taught by Ginger, including music history, opera scenes, class voice and vocal methods and, of course, individual voice lessons.
An extensive solo career has included Handel’s “Messiah,” Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” and “Grosse Messe,” and Beethoven’s “Mass in C.” In addition, his operatic roles have included the witch in “Hansel and Gretel,” Arturo in “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Ferrando in “Cosi fan tutte.”
“My secondary instrument is the harpsichord,” Dunnagan said. “I hope to have the big harpsichord moved into my office sometime soon. There won’t be much room, but student singers can stand between the piano and the harpsichord.”
Of the new semester at FLC, Chiaravalloti said: “Although we are saddened to say farewell to our good friends Marc Reed and Kerry Ginger, we are excited for a newly invigorated year with our inspired new faculty.”
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.