John Simons serves as a professor of church music, associate dean, and chair of the ministry department in the School of Church Music, where he teaches courses in worship, congregational song, and music ministry philosophy. As well, Dr. Simons conducts the Southwestern Singers and serves as the editor-in-chief of the School of Church Music’s academic journal, Artistic Theologian. His work with children’s music ministry and community arts ministry are well known, and he works as a church music consultant for churches and Christian arts organizations throughout North America. He is married to flutist, Ellen Simons, and together they have four children – Thomas, David, Jessica and Christina.
Prior to coming to Southwestern, Dr. Simons was associate professor of music and director of graduate studies at Mercer University, in Macon, Georgia. He also taught at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma and Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and he served as a full-time minister of music in Tennessee and North Carolina.
After having completed his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baylor University (1985), Dr. Simons taught middle school choral music and drama then completed a Master of Music degree in sacred music and choral conducting from Baylor University (1988), studying with Hugh Sanders, Ray Luper, and Robert H. Young. He then taught high school choral music and drama, moved to teaching collegiate choral music and music education, then completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro having studied with Richard Cox, Hilary Apfelstadt and William Carroll.
Publications, Community Arts Ministry and Presentations
Some of Dr. Simons’ honors include the American Choral Directors Association National Student Award (1988), the Sally Mae Teacher of the Year Award (1989), and several community service awards related to his work with children in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. His publications include Celebrating Grace Hymnal for Baptist Worship (co-founder and coordinating editor), the English translation of the Christmas hymn, O Sleep Well Beautiful Baby, the children’s hymn, Children Are a Priceless Treasure, and a chapter about middle school music ministry in the book, Music Ministry: A Guide. Known as a community arts specialist, Dr. Simons founded the Georgia All-State Youth Choir Festival, the Southern Piedmont Children’s Choir (North Carolina), the North Carolina United Methodist All-State Youth Choir, Mercer University Children’s Choir (Georgia), and the Brock Community Children’s Choir (Texas). He has also written and received grants for community music making from the National Endowment for the Arts and state arts organizations in North Carolina and Georgia. Dr. Simons has given numerous presentations and conducted workshops on choral music and church music ministry for organizations such as Georgia Music Educator’s Association, North Carolina Music Educator’s Association, Georgia American Choral Directors Association, Baptist Church Music Conference, and state Baptist conventions in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.