Eric Simpson is the newest member of Maryville College’s Division of Fine Arts. Beginning this semester Simpson has taken over the direction of the MC Community Concert Band and also has taken the responsibility of teaching the classes Music 321 and Music 324 .
Before coming to MC, Simpson worked as an assistant professor of music education at Texas Christian University. During his time at TCU, he also acted as an associate conductor of the concert band and coordinator of instrumental music. Simpson came to MC to be a part of a smaller, more close-knit community and to be closer to family.
“I’ve been at everything from four-thousand students to forty-thousand students to this and I really like the small thing better,” Simpson said, “I just didn’t like the big environment.”
And though he isn’t currently involved with other groups, Simpson is interested in participating more with students and student groups.
Simpson has plans for the community band, ranging from the music selection to future concerts. He chooses music that is more accessible to everyone, music that is not completely academic and is easier to listen to. Planning for the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary concert has already begun. Also, sometime in the future, Simpson hopes to have a social media concert.
Simpson said, “At some point, not in the spring but sometime in the next couple of years we want to do a social media concert, which is where you invite everybody who comes to bring a device and sit out in the audience and tweet, blog, facebook post or vine or whatever what is happening in the concert and you have a moderator who projects it on a screen while the band is playing.” The idea is to get the audience to become more interactive and less passive.
With the community band Simpson hopes to see more student involvement. He would like, sometime in the future, to be able to have an all- student band along with the community band to boost the student participation.
“There’s some really neat stuff that’s happening with the kind of music we’re able to do with that group,” Simpson said.