Arts and Entertainment

Whidbey flutist Joe Arnold heads to North Carolina

Native American flute player Joe Arnold takes a musical break at the Bayview Cash Store recently to serenade local shoppers. - Patricia Duff / The Record
Native American flute player Joe Arnold takes a musical break at the Bayview Cash Store recently to serenade local shoppers.
— image credit: Patricia Duff / The Record

He calls music a gateway to deeper healing. One gate has opened and is pointing him toward the south.

Native American flute player and local dad Joe Arnold is headed to Asheville, N.C. for a time, where he hopes to find other like-minded musicians and a welcoming audience.

“My evolution in music is such that now I have calls from other parts of the country, and since there is not a lot of movement around this kind of music on Whidbey Island, I’m off to another place,” Arnold said.

His attempts at getting people on the island to come to his concerts have been frustrating for the musician. But he said he understands.

“This music opens up both the dark and the light side of people,” he said. “It can open some port of emotion that you may not be ready for, and that can get scary.”

There is a person in Asheville with whom Arnold would like to reconnect. There are also the beginnings of potential projects available there, one a movie score project which peaked his interest. Also, there are several performance venues in Asheville that book the kind of music he plays.

But he won’t be gone from the island forever.

“I want to keep Whidbey Island as my hub, but go off to other places to play music,” he said.

Arnold said he has been playing the classical flute since he was 8, but started playing the Native American instrument about 17 years ago.

He has spent the past few years working with children in area schools, telling stories and playing music for them. It’s something he particularly loves, because kids get so energized and inspired by his music.

“I was so into those kids, they were awesome. One time, a child came up to me and gave me a big hug to thank me for my music. That was the greatest thing for me,” Arnold said.

For Arnold, life is about transition and expansion. His trip south, he hopes, will be just one of many that take him to new places in music.

“If there is anybody out there who wants to experience what I have to offer, then walk with me, dance with me, play with me,” he said.

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