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Nancy Joy marks retirement after 27 years with a stellar “Farewell Concert”

Horn player Nancy Joy on Zoom
Leora Zeitlin
Horn player Nancy Joy on Zoom

After 27 years of teaching horn at NMSU and 42 years since coming here as a student, Nancy Joy is retiring – in a manner of speaking. While she will bid farewell to her official duties as a professor in the music department, Joy will continue to teach in the area and play in ensembles, including the Las Cruces and El Paso Symphony orchestras. “If you’re a teacher, you never retire,” Joy told Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin in this interview about her time at NMSU, her life as musician, and her farewell concert this Sunday. “When you’re a teacher, you’re a teacher for life.”

Joy and her current students in her “Corno Crew” will be joined by former students, colleagues, and local and international stars in a giant farewell concert on Sunday, April 23. Jeff Nelson, long-time member of Canadian Brass and hornist with numerous major orchestras around the world, and Susan McCullough, a founding (and still current) member of Denver Brass, will be featured soloists at the concert, along with former student and now colleague Kristen Major, who was recently named band director at Mesa Middle School.

The concert includes three world premieres of works written for, or arranged for, Nancy Joy, and a “mass blast,” with a hoped-for 100 horn players on the stage playing music from “Star Wars.” After her retirement, she will continue recruiting and teaching and, as she said, “building an environment that horn is really cool.” Joy added, “I’m blessed that I’m going to stay in Las Cruces, and I just feel so grateful that I’ve had the time here, with all these wonderful people surrounding me, all these wonderful musicians, all these wonderful teachers.”

The concert is Sunday, April 23 at 2:30 at the Atkinson Recital Hall.