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Simon’s got talent!

Orchestra teacher is a busy man after school hours

Ed+Smon+on+stage+during+an+Amy+Grant+holiday+concert.
Ed Smon on stage during an Amy Grant holiday concert.

Ed Smon on stage during an Amy Grant holiday concert.

Ed Smon on stage during an Amy Grant holiday concert.

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South is full of talented students, athletes, dancers, musicians, mathletes, etc; However, South also is the home to orchestra teacher and violinist, Ed Simon.

Simon said he has always had a passion for music.

“My parents didn’t play instruments, but they always appreciated it. My brothers, however, played, and inspired me to pursue a career in music,” he said.

Simon, while very passionate about violin, also possessed an equal passion for teaching.

“When it came time to really choose my career Music Education was perfect. Teaching music brought the two together perfectly, they go hand-in-hand,” he said.

“It takes hard work to make it in the music world, even as a backup musician. I practice three hours a week give or take. It’s really hard to find practice time, between grading and preparing for my classes, so I practice whenever I can. Sometimes I even practice in my classroom!” Simon said.

Through all of his practice and dedication, Simon has come to play with some pretty amazing performers, including: Josh Groban, Johnny Mathis, Manhattan Transfer, Amy Grant, El Monstero–a Pink Floyd cover band, which performed at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Dennis DeYoung of Styx, and Rod Stewart.

Simon said that playing for Rod Stewart was an especially cool experience.

“A long time ago I played for Rod Stewart when he came to St. Louis at the Scottrade Center. You never get to shake hands or really talk to them because they are kind of ‘protected’ being millionaire stars and all, they say hi to the local musicians but in a group setting, like in a classroom. At the end of the show during his encores, he walked up the steps in the center of the stage to sing ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’. I happened to be sitting playing my violin right next to the steps on a riser. As he was closing out the song, he sat right next to me– I mean spot light blaring in my face– I could have reached out and touched him! That was so cool, me, sitting next to a giant in the rock-n-roll world. My female colleagues playing with me were a little jealous. And yes, he does kick about a dozen soccer balls out into the audience”

According to Simon, playing with so many artists is not an easy task.

“When I perform with groups and famous artists, we don’t get the music in advanced, which makes it really hard to be prepared. We come in on the day of the performance and have to learn the music on the spot,” he said.

When he is not playing with famous artists or teaching, Simon can be found playing for the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra where he is the concertmaster.

However, students also think Simon is quite the music teacher.

“Mr Simon is also a great teacher. He is always willing to give advice if you go to him, and is really optimistic about all types of music, not just orchestra music,” Van Genderen said.

Van Genderen went further telling of detailed critiques and other helpful hints given by Simon, all of which “Really helped me to improve my playing in every area.”

Choir teacher Jonathan Owen also said Simon is a busy musician outside of school.

“Ed plays in a professional string quartet at weddings and other local events. He often plays for area school and church events, and sometimes helps the choir with accompaniments,” he said.

 

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Simon’s got talent!