Bachelor of Music Education, UNC Charlotte (2006)
Master of Music in Music Education, Anderson University (2017)
Doctor of Music Education, Liberty University (2020)
Hometown: Lenoir, N.C.
Joe Earp’s professional teaching career began in 2006 as Director of Bands at Seneca High School (Seneca, S.C).. He later taught band at Robbinsville Middle and High Schools (Graham County, N.C.) before becoming the founding Director of Bands at Cox Mill High School in Concord. He has had numerous accomplishments teaching at the secondary level: multiple superior ratings, grand championships, and awards and recognitions for his instrumental ensembles, including the selection of one of his symphonic bands to perform at the 2013 North Carolina Music Educators State Conference. Now in his current role at Limestone University, he has elevated many elements of Limestone’s athletic band program.
In addition to teaching, Joe is an active published composer and clinician, with music performed internationally. His compositions are available from BKJ Publications and RWS Music Company, which is distributed worldwide by C. L. Barnhouse. One of his concert band works, Where the Wild Things Dance, was recently selected by J. W. Pepper to be part of their 2019 Editors’ Choice catalog. Other major compositional accomplishments include being winner of the 2010 Claude T. Smith Composition Contest in Missouri and winner of the 2018 Thornton Community Band Composition Contest in Colorado.
Joe recently returned to UNC Charlotte to receive the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award in Music.
“UNC Charlotte has always been a special place for me,” he says. He recalls fondly the “reality check” of his first lesson with Dr. Royce Lumpkin (now retired) and the subsequent late nights spent in practice rooms preparing for lessons and performances.
“My absolute favorite moment,” he says, “was proposing to my wonderful wife in the lobby of Robinson Hall the night of my last Wind Ensemble concert prior to student teaching.” Some of his fellow classmates helped Joe pull together a small brass ensemble to play a composition that he had written especially for Mary Beth, his wife-to-be, prior to the start of the concert. “Many students from the Wind Ensemble snuck around to the lobby to show their support of the performance and proposal, which remains one of the greatest memories of my life.” You can watch that special event here.
Joe is grateful to the music department faculty and staff who helped advise him.
“These individuals make the music department at UNC Charlotte something special. Their unwavering commitment to music and this institution will drive the music department and UNC Charlotte forward as they continue to thrive.”