International opera star, music educator, humanitarian, and native Iowan Simon Estes will bring his resonant bass-baritone voice to the stage of the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts for its Grand Opening on Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m. The first professional "star" on the stage of the Sami Center, Mr. Estes will perform classic spirituals and Broadway hits and a taste of opera. His presence at the opening of the new 1,000-seat school and community facility signals the expectation for high quality cultural programming in the new center.
In addition to the concert, Mr. Estes will teach a master class for local vocal music students on Friday.
Mr. Estes worked with Friends of the Sami Center and SAMI Executive Director Terry Miller to select a program with a variety of musical appeal and several numbers by invited vocalists. Lauren Hummel, a 2007 Spirit Lake graduate and freshman at Wartburg College, returns to Spirit Lake to perform two Broadway selections; she has worked with Simon Estes, who is a member of the faculty of Wartburg. Her accompanist is Laura Ayres, also a 2007 grad and Lauren's cousin.
Lori Milsom, a friend of Simon Estes and classical vocalist from Iowa who performed for over sixteen years in the Baltimore area, will also sing several songs. She will be accompanied by Otis Stroup, jazz pianist from Baltimore.
The concert will also include the Spirit Lake High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Meistersingers.
After the concert, Mr. Estes will be the honored guest at the Seats with Simon Red Carpet Party in Pomerantz Hall of the Pearson Lakes Art Center, starting at 9 p.m. This event, sponsored by Friends of the Sami Center, will feature hors d'oeuvres by Chef Jason Snow, Peace Harbor Chef, complimentary wine from Okoboji Wines, and piano music provided by area musicians. Party passes are available by contacting Carol Schultz at 712-336-4694 or Sheryl Hall at 712-336-2664.
Mr. Estes, a native of Centerville, Iowa, has delighted audiences of all ages for more than 40 years, having performed in the most esteemed concert houses and for dignitaries around the world. Selected as the first black member of the Old Gold Singers at The University of Iowa and a prize winner in Moscow's Tchaikovsky competition in 1966, he has since triumphed in the world of classical music. He currently teaches at Iowa State University, Wartburg, and Juilliard School of Music and advocates for health and education for youth around the world.
* Tickets for Simon Estes in Concert are available through the Box Office of the Pearson Lakes Art Center, by calling 712-332-7029, or online at www.lakesart.org.