Choir adds new conductor


Photo provided by Jon Arnold

Jon Arnold, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities

by Kendra Campbell, Staff Reporter

Jon Arnold has an extensive education and experience that he brings to Simpson College. Arnold has his bachelor’s and master’s at Emory University in Atlanta. He conducted primarily in metro Atlanta at community and church choirs. He then went to get his doctorate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He previously worked in Wis. and Kan. before landing a job at Simpson.

With Arnold moving all around in his professional and educational career, he said he liked the East Coast and its urban environment. Nevertheless, he is getting used to the Midwest weather.

“I am hoping I am prepared for the winter weather here in Iowa,” Arnold said. However, he likes the urban feeling of Des Moines and cannot wait to continue getting used to Indianola and all it has to offer.

Arnold was drawn to Simpson College and the music program. “I was attracted to the sense of community here and the strong history of the music department. Particularly the Opera program. After seeing a few performances, I was drawn in by the sounds and participation of the choral program,” Arnold said.

Arnold has an idea of what he wants the choral program to look like here at Simpson. “I want to keep emphasizing recruiting. I have a strong contingency of singers now but want to continue and reach out to alumni to create a bigger choral and music community.”  

He also wants to connect with other corporations, schools and musicians in the area. The main reason is to get Simpson’s choral and music programs’ names out and be a part of the music scene again.

Arnold is looking forward to the Lesson and Carols concert on Dec. 10-11. He is also teaching some classes for spring semester, including a music education class, a conducting class and oral methods. 

Arnold is dabbling in the art of piano, is a sci-fi fan, enjoys traveling and is a foodie. “I tried out Fiesta Jalapenos here in town, and it was good,” Arnold said. “I am vegan, so I am pickier with what I eat, but I am hoping to find more vegan options around here.” 

Now a large figure in the Simpson community, Arnold has had a great experience with both faculty and students. “I look forward to helping the next generation of choral and music educators and instructors and getting more variety in my job.”