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Ainsley Schuler February 23, 2018

On February 12, 2018, Simon Estes came to the Boone Dmacc Campus. Estes came to share his story and knowledge he has gained over the years. Estes is a famous opera singer and has sang all over the world.

 

Simon Estes came to the Boone DMACC Campus on February 12, 2018. Estes is a famous opera singer who was born and raised in Centerville, Iowa. Estes also has about 30 different albums from six different recording studios.

Estes was born on March 2, 1938. Estes grew up singing and had always enjoyed music. He grew up singing for his church, in high school choir. When Estes was in college, he went to the University of Iowa to study pre-med, later moved on to psychology and theology. One day when Estes was in the music center of the college, he was singing and a man overheard him singing and told him that he had “the voice of an opera singer.” Estes, however, did not know what opera was, having grown up in Iowa in the 1930s and 1940s, he had not been exposed to opera. The man who had approached him about his talent, Charles Kellis, began to teach and mentor Estes about what opera was, and Estes continued to study under Kellis.

Later on, in 1964, Estes got into Juilliard (famous performing arts school in New York City)  and started to study opera. Estes landed an audition in Germany when he went to go visit his girlfriend who lived there. He was asked if he could wait until the beginning of the next year to play a role in Aida by Guiseppe Verdi. He talked to the dean at Juilliard and was told, “I’m sorry, but you will have to tell them no, because you will never have a career if you don’t finish Juilliard school.” Estes went on to play the role anyway, however, and in April of 1965 he made his debut in opera. Estes continued and became very well known.

During his career in opera, Estes sang in may different countries and for many well known people throughout history. Estes sang for 26 different presidents throughout the world including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, along with singing on every continent except Antarctica. Estes has also won awards, such as a bronze medal in 1966 in a large competition in Moscow, which was the first year that the competition was open to singers.

Estes spent time teaching students as a professor at Juilliard. Estes didn’t sit still for long, however, as he was singing all over the world at the time and just didn’t have the time to be teaching. Estes went to the president of the college and told him he didn’t really have the time to be teaching and singing. The president of Juilliard said that “Can you find someone who can teach the way you do?” Estes talked to Kellis, the man who taught him to sing, and got him a job at Juilliard.

Simon Estes describes his life as a dream. “It has kind of been like a fairytale, but a reality because God gave me the talent to sing.”

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