John Michael Moore ’05

Since graduating from Simpson in 2005, John Michael Moore has enjoyed a highly successful career as a lyric baritone.

He has performed at the Metropolitan Opera and has been featured in several performances at the Des Moines Metro Opera, among other venues.

Having grown up in Spencer, Iowa, Moore explained in a letter what Simpson means to him:

It was a beautiful spring morning in 2000 when I first arrived on Simpson’s campus. I was there to audition for acceptance to the program and for a potential music scholarship.

I remember the attention to my talent that Robert Larsen gave, the kind words spoken to me by Anne Larson, a prominent voice faculty member, and the tender care we were allotted by Deb Terry in the music office. It was this initial visit that landed me at Simpson orientation a few months on, and ultimately 4 1/2 years of life learning and music making.

Simpson College provided me with a basic liberal arts education. The campus is beautiful, the people good, the air agrarian, and all the trappings of small college life, in a small-ish Iowa town. What separates Simpson College from the typical Iowa institution and actually, from many an institution nationally, is the music department.

Simpson College music has produced not only serious professional musicians, but also hosts a stellar music education program for both instrumental and vocal music, a dedicated faculty with real world professional credentials, and an internationally recognized opera festival housed there each summer. The facilities have been built and maintained using private donations from patrons dedicated to the mission of Simpson College music and the security of its future.

Today, I can safely say that I would not have the same number of career opportunities had I not been educated at Simpson College. I would have been lost at a state school, or conservatory with graduate students taking performing opportunities. Iowa is fortunate to produce many fine musicians and educators from its excellent grade school system. The state boasts many fine music departments, at fine institutions, but what separates Simpson is the special relationship it shares with Des Moines Metro Opera. Not only did DMMO’s founder, Robert Larsen dedicate himself to the company’s success, but as head of the department he also forged an alliance with Simpson that is still thriving today.

The faculty of the college worked hand in hand during the summer months to produce opera. Simpson’s Fall and Spring operas were merely extensions of that professional work. Simpson College was producing operatic work at a professional level from the beginning, because it knew no different. Certainly, the level of performance was collegiate, but sound professional preparation was the standard. What we achieved in the years I attended Simpson College was no less special than many productions playing in theaters around the country. When the talent was ripe, Simpson College music department went above and beyond the call of duty to prepare and stage professional level productions. That tradition continues today, as new faculty and staff come onto campus and revel in the high level of artistry that exists as a tradition, not merely a goal.

One can rest assured they will have a gratifying college experience at Simpson and can be confident knowing they leave a music performer, or music educator trained for excellence in art, scholarship, and life.

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