Simpson hosts first annual Orpheus Music Festival today


by AbStrong

Eighty high-school students from 10 Iowa high schools are on campus today from approximately 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to participate in the music department’s first annual fall Orpheus Choral Festival. They are representing cities throughout Iowa including Sydney, Newton, Winterset and Des Moines.

Simpson students are singing the festival’s praise.

“This can’t be anything but a good thing,” sophomore Susan Malooley said.

Sophomore Daniel Perkins agrees.

“It’s a good opportunity for high-school students to experience what the college music program is like,” Perkins said.

Simpson has conducted spring and summer Orpheus Festivals with junior-high and high-school students for several years now. Simpson also hosts a week-long summer music camp where high school students stay overnight in the residence halls and get a taste of the collegiate lifestyle.

Malooley remembers participating in similar events in years past.

“When I was in high school I participated in the Dorian Music Festival at Luther College,” Malooley said. “It was very exciting.”

She feels that this event will be especially exciting for prospective students because Simpson’s music department is so widely known and well established throughout Iowa. The quartets participating are comprised of the top singers from each school and Malooley thinks the festival will heighten the interest of these potential music majors.

Tim McMillin, director of choral activities for the Music Department, is a Simpson alumnus from the late 1990s.

He enjoyed the Music Department so much that he was inspired to come back as an instructor.

The campus will be open to students who wish to learn more about the music program, but won’t be actively recruiting. McMillin says the emphasis is being placed solely on music, not competition.

“The goal of this event is to enhance lives through beautiful music with no pressure,” McMillin said. “The state of Iowa needs some bringing together of souls like this.”

Simpson students will be rehearsing with the high-school students and participating in the festival as well.

The high-school students will be performing first and each section will have two Simpson leaders; something that McMillin feels will leave a lasting impression upon them.

He said it will be an intense experience for them to be singing right next to a college student.

The Simpson chorale and choir will perform afterward.

The repertoire for the event includes a wide variety of pieces including two movements from Franz Schubert’s “Mass in G,” a romantic German piece, and spiritual and English selections. There will also be several soloists.

The festival is open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. in Smith Chapel. McMillin and others invite students to support the college and prospective students.