It only required one visit to the Simpson campus to persuade Katelyn McKone where she wanted to go to college.
Actually, we could narrow that down even more: It only required one meeting with Dr. David Camwell, associate professor of music – and, like Katelyn, a saxophone player.
“It was just his personality, how friendly he was and how he made me feel welcome,” she says. “It made me really want to go to school here.”
That spirit of friendliness and cooperation was evident elsewhere.
“One of the other reasons I chose Simpson is because when I was here for my audition, one of the underclassmen talked to me and made me feel welcome,” she says. “College is pretty intimidating at first, but in the music department they make it a lot easier.”
Katelyn, whose hometown is Lisbon, Iowa, has never regretted choosing Simpson. A junior, she will play in the Simpson Symphonic Band, Jazz Band and the Saxophone Quartet. She also will serve as the undergraduate assistant for the instrumental music department as she pursues a degree in music education.
“A person can teach, but they have to be able to perform, too,” she says.
That’s a lesson, she says, that Camwell has taught her.
“He’s been getting a lot of recognition for his classical CDs, but he’s also an accomplished jazz performer,” she says.
Teaching and performing go together, Katelyn says.
“Music has made a big difference in my life, so I think it can make a big difference in another person’s life, both through performance and teaching. When people learn how to play music, it can really shape their future.
“I want to be a teacher, but I also want to make sure I get in some playing as well.”
Katelyn said most of her friends in the Simpson music department have gotten jobs fresh out of college. She attributes part of the success to the connections that faculty members enjoy. Simpson’s great reputation also plays a part.
“I feel whatever resources I need, I’m going to get,” she says.
She compares the instrumental music environment at Simpson to a family. “The faculty help you with any questions you have and make you feel really welcome,” she says. “You’re also free to talk to anybody. It’s really professional, but it’s really open as well.”