Dr. Joshua Nichols has been working in church music ministry since 2006. His first post was organist at a small country church in Mechanicsville, VA. Since then, he has honed and crafted his sense of style, form, and musicality in the church to a masterful level. He received a BA in Music Performance from Belhaven University in organ, and then began a long professional career as a choir director, organist, and educator. He received his Master of Music in Organ Performance from Mississippi College in 2017, under the tutelage of Dr. Robert Knupp.
During his time studying at Mississippi College, he worked as staff accompanist at Belhaven University. He gave lectures, performances, and clinics on writing for the organ to composition students at Belhaven. In exchange for his feedback and time, he received composition lessons from Dr. Andrew Sauerwein, the composition professor. Dr. Sauerwein noticed Joshua’s gift for composition right away, and very strongly urged him to seek a secondary path in composition.
This prompted Joshua to move to South Florida, where he began a Master of Music in Composition at Florida Atlantic University, studying with Dr. Kevin Wilt. Joshua received a full-scholarship and teaching assistantship, earning positions as assistant and instructor of record in theory, composition, aural skills, and recording technology.
He then applied to the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music for a Doctor of Musical Arts program. Professor Daniel Asia, Professor of Composition and area coordinator, was eager to receive him, and offered a graduate teaching assistantship which completely covered Joshua’s expenses at the university. During his time, he developed a rapport with faculty and students, and received several high honors, such as becoming the instructor of record for Counterpoint and Music Appreciation. He accepted invitations to be a lecturer in dance music, Human Achievement and Innovation in the Arts, and Piano Pedagogy. He received a 0.66 FTE appointment (the highest and rarest graduate assistantship) in his first year, and in his second year he was appointed to be a Bradley Fellow. Among his recognition in the university, he was awarded the Medici Scholar Award for his work in linking the digital classroom with counterpoint.
Joshua is also one of the first (if not the first) students to complete his doctorate in two years at the Fred Fox School of Music. His hardwork and dedication to scholarship, craft, and gracious service reverberates in the walls of the school.
As a church musician, Joshua has always pursued excellence in and around the ministry of the church. He believes that music first comes from the congregation in the consecrated worship of the Sunday morning service. A fruitful and enriching experience in church is one where the congregation is uplifted in the worship of God, brought closer to the presence of God, and inspired to go out into the world to serve siblings and neighbors.
As a composer, Joshua has focused on accumulating many different styles and ideas. His music reflects the attitude, “write the music you love that no one has heard yet.” He draws from many different composers and innovations of the 20th century, including but not limited to: Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Ives, Copland, Shostakovich, Bartok, Messiaen, Reger, Asia, Schoenberg, and Rochberg.
Joshua is excited about being a servant of God’s church at Christ the King, and uplifting the musical service and worship of the church.