MSU Music Division says goodbye to Simons, Alme
Like a beloved sonata, their music has touched the lives of too many to count. But as the finale nears for senior music faculty Dennis Simons and Joe Alme, bittersweet memories blend with anticipated adventure as they each prepare for retirement and life after MSU.
Simons, associate professor of music, also retired his baton as conductor of the Minot Symphony Orchestra April 21, after wrapping the final concert of this season's "The Dance: Celebration of 10 Years!"
"Ten years seemed a nice, round number to be ending with," he said in a recent interview. "It's been such a fabulous time here, with musicians who have tackled a lot of exciting repertoire and risen to the challenges."
Simons joined the Minot State University faculty in 2002 where he taught music appreciation, creativity in music and world music. With his departure, another MSU music faculty follows: wife Penny Simons. Penny is an instructor of piano and teaches piano pedagogy. The Simons plan to return to England to be closer to family.
"I am not stressing about retirement," Dennis said. "In the music world, some musicians' best work was done in their eighties. I see my life as a constant growth procedure, where lifelong learning and the constant pursuit of excellence is the goal. I am excited to take all my life experiences and see what the next adventure will bring."
Alme was an assistant professor of music and director of bands, where he taught low brass, band methods, was conductor of the MSU Concert Band, co-directed the Beaver Athletic Band and also supervised music student teachers. As MSU director of bands in the 80s, he left to become the executive director of International Music Camp, a position he held for 25 years. Alme returned to MSU in 2007.
"My career started at Minot State in the fall of 1964 as a college freshman. MSU gave me the tools I needed to find success and happiness," Alme said. "I was proud and pleased to be able to give something back to Minot State during my 'second tour' as a faculty member. My plan is to travel with my wife, Joyce, and spend as much time as possible with my grandchildren. They all desperately need trombone lessons!"
"These two gentlemen leave some very big shoes to fill," said Ken Bowles, Division of Music chair. "We have been indeed fortunate to benefit from their lifetime of experience and understanding, which they so willingly shared. In both their cases, the ensembles they leave for the next conductor are far more secure than the ones they inherited. What a valuable gift to MSU."