The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

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It’s a city for a choir just like ours: Chicago!

Anna Schewe
Simpson College Choir rehearses in preparation for their upcoming tour.

Simpson College Choir and Chamber Singers are headed to Chicago at the end of the month for their biannual choir tour. 

A small team of choral students, led by Choir UGA, Lyza Cue, have been collaborating with the Director of Choir, Jon Arnold, to put together the itinerary. 

“Dr. Arnold is working with the team to make the choir tour as engaging as possible, and we’ve discussed the fun-to-academic ratio,” Addi Thomas, a member of the choir, said.

The group has also been essential in gauging student interest in various activities and ensuring students’ input and needs are taken into consideration. 

“It’s really important to see what the world is like outside of Indianola and outside of Iowa,” Arnold said. “I wanted them to be exposed to a city with premier cultural entities.”

While in Chicago, the group will see the esteemed Chicago Symphony and visit the Art Institute and Navy Pier. 

On the way, they will perform at high schools in Southeast Polk and Bettendorf, both of which have Simpson alumni as their choir directors. Dr. Arnold hopes this will help to build connections with the students. 

The choir also plans to stop at Northwestern University to work with Arnold’s graduate program conducting teacher. 

“In conducting, lineage of teachers is really important,” Arnold said. “Those student and teacher relationships last for your whole career. I’ve experienced working with the teachers of my teachers, and I wanted to give the choir students that opportunity to work with someone at the top of the field.”

The two choirs have been working on a program based on animals to take on tour, a more lighthearted repertoire than they’ve performed at recent concerts. 

“This program will be good to take to schools because there can be a conception that music in college is always very serious and perhaps elitist,” Dr. Arnold said. “We want the high school students we interact with to see that music in college can be fun.”

Sophomore, Maxwell Wearmouth-Gweah, is excited to perform the program. 

“I like the more lighthearted nature of the pieces,” he said. “While I did enjoy all of the music we did last semester, too, it’s a nice change of pace.” 

Most importantly, touring is something the choir gets to do together. 

“Bonding makes a big difference in performance,” Arnold said. “You can tell when a choir has a strong  community.” 

Thomas and Wearmouth-Gweah are both excited about the time they will spend with other members of the ensembles. 

“Last tour, I really liked the late-night hangouts and games on the bus,” Thomas said. 

The choirs get to tour every two years, alternating with the band. 

“I’m grateful that the costs are covered by the college,” Arnold said. “That makes it an opportunity that’s accessible to everyone.” 

The only thing missing from the trip, according to Thomas, is a visit to the iconic sculpture, “Cloud Gate”, more commonly known as “The Bean”, which has been closed to the public due to construction since August. 

“I’m so sad about the bean,” Arnold said. “We will try to get a glimpse from afar.”

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