He is a member of the United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass, and plays frequent orchestral engagements with Washington Concert Opera, The Washington Chorus and the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as at Strathmore, the National Cathedral and other venues.
Lightner has performed nationally and internationally with Keith Brion’s “New Sousa Band,” including a tour of China in 2010. As a soloist, Lightner has given recitals at the University of Kansas and the University of Oregon, and on the U.S Air Force Band Chamber Players series. He has twice been a featured soloist in the U.S. Army Band Tuba and Euphonium Workshop. A dynamic pedagogue, he has presented master classes and taught students at the University of Louisiana Monroe, Eastern Illinois, Texas A&M Kingsville and throughout the DC area with the Fairfax Symphony’s SCORE program.
Jess Lightner’s military career includes 14 broadcast recordings for NBC’s Today Show, several national tours and numerous audio recordings. He has also recorded with The Cathedral Choral Society on Dominick Argento’s Evensong: of Love and Angels. A founding member of the British-style brass band, Brass of the Potomac, he is heard on its album American Rhapsody. He has also done studio work for Disney and various educational recordings.
Lightner holds degrees from the University of Kansas (Bachelor of Music with distinction) and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (Master of Music with honors). His major teachers are Scott Watson, Tim Northcut, Michael Grose and David Fedderly.