Simpson Offers New Master Of Music (M.M.) in Choral Conducting Degree

Simpson College’s esteemed music program is set to offer even more.

The College now offers a fully-accredited Master of Music in Choral Conducting degree, through an innovative partnership with CORO, a non-profit, professional choral organization dedicated to enhancing choral music through education and performance.

Simpson’s Continuing & Graduate Programs will oversee the new master’s program, which will begin in the summer of 2018.

“Simpson College is all about helping its graduates find their own personal success,” said Tim McMillin, Department Chair of Music. “The M.M. in Choral Conducting at Simpson allows practicing choral conductors to reflect, learn and improve by employing a wealth of new and innovative ideas they learn each summer while still maintaining their full-time employment during the academic year.”

What excites McMillin and other choral enthusiasts is how Simpson’s new program combines the academic rigor of a traditional graduate program with generous podium time for conducting.

The accelerated program also allows students to achieve their Master of Music during three summers of study.

“The program is tailored for highly-qualified working choral conductors who bring so much to the graduate community,” McMillin said. “We learn from one another’s experiences and enjoy the opportunity to practice experiential learning under the guidance of a nurturing resident and guest faculty.”

Those enrolled in the program will work with CORO Vocal Artists, a professional choral ensemble that includes artists from throughout the United States.

“The combined experiences of the resident conducting faculty, guest conductors, vocal artists and fellow graduate students make this program a gem for any choral director that is looking for a challenging program that offers multiple viewpoints and encourages students to think outside the box,” said Phil Moody the Artistic Director and Founder of CORO.

Matthew Oltman ’97, a former performer and musical director of the choral group Chanticleer, said the potential is great for students to expand their knowledge of choral music repertoire, analyze and understand choral scores and gain practical performance time with feedback from professionals.

“With the Des Moines Metro Opera also in residence on Simpson College’s campus, and the lively, artsy, festival-filled city of Des Moines just a short drive away, the experience of spending the summer in one of the country’s most dynamic capital cities will undoubtedly be a memorable one.”

McMillin, Moody and Oltman are part of the resident conducting faculty.

For more information about the program,you can contact Ginger Hermon ’15, admission counselor in the Continuing & Graduate Programs, at More information also can be found at

Whether you are a conductor feeling like you are in a ‘rut,’ someone looking to improve specific skills, excited simply to find professional development that is germane to your specific interest or job, or simply curious about what the M.M. program might do for you, I encourage you to get in contact with us,” McMillin said. “There is something for everyone in this program.”