Not just another pretty voice |

Not just another pretty voice

Mike Vidakovich
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

In his younger years, there was a point in time when Jack Jabbour aspired to be a rock and roll star. Playing his guitar in clubs from Aspen to Parachute by night, Jabbour took a job substitute teaching at Colorado Mountain College by day, figuring it would be a good way to pass the time and pay some bills until his big break came in the music business.

“I was sitting in front of my house in New Castle one day playing the guitar,” Jabbour recalled. “My neighbor came by and told me they needed a substitute guitar teacher at CMC. It sounded like a good way to make some money.”

There are a couple of generations of school children in the Colorado River Valley who are forever grateful to Jabbour’s neighbor for giving him that teaching tip.

Jabbour would spend the next 30 years of his life teaching English and coaching various sports in Garfield County School District Re-2. The majority of that time was at Riverside Middle School in New Castle.

“Mr. J,” as he is known to his students, spent his after-school hours on the football field, basketball court, baseball diamond and the track oval, teaching middle-schoolers the finer points of the sporting life and sportsmanship.

“I’ve always taught at the middle school level. I love the age group,” Jabbour said. “I feel like hanging around the kids keeps me young. I’ve always been able to relate to them.”

Jabbour was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in a military family, never having lived in one place for longer than three years. When his father landed a job as Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) director at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the family moved with him, and young Jack enrolled in the CSU journalism school.

After completing his bachelor’s work, Jabbour decided to move west to the California coast and pursue a master’s degree in journalism at UCLA. He was at the Los Angeles school during a time when coach John Wooden’s basketball dynasty featured a 7-footer from New York City who would become one of the game’s all-time greats.

“I remember walking through campus and seeing this really tall guy with the old Afro hairdo. He stood head and shoulders above everyone else,” Jabbour said. “Of course, it was Lew Alcindor.”

Alcindor later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Jabbour’s journalism degrees did not go to waste. The year was 1975 when the Glenwood Post asked him to be a stringer for the paper and help cover local high school sports. Jabbour wrote for the Post until 2000, when a call from a former student took him from print media to the broadcast booth.

“I got a call from Gabe Chenoweth at KMTS. He needed a color broadcaster to help with high school sports. He said it was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” chuckled Jabbour.

Teamed with KMTS play-by-play man Ron Milhorn, Jabbour’s voice is heard in living rooms throughout the valley, describing everything from and Aspen Skier jump shot to a Rifle Bear curveball.

“Ron and I have a lot in common. Even though he’s a USC guy and I’m a UCLA guy, we clicked right away,” Jabbour said.

Since retiring from teaching in public schools, Jabbour and his wife of 38 years, Linda, have found a new home teaching at the Garden School. Jabbour is still with his beloved middle school kids at the private Christian school in New Castle, teaching humanities, language arts, reading and history.

Without knowing it, Jabbour may have achieved stardom in the music world after all.

Every Friday, just before lunch, Jabbour can be found in the Garden School Chapel strumming his guitar and leading the students in various gospel and inspirational songs as they clap and sing along with him.

Hardly any of these kids know who Bob Dylan is, but they certainly know all about Jack Jabbour, and they are very glad to have him.

Not a bad gig.

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