Victor Simonson is no stranger to Broadway or the church. He excels in both. Now, as the newly appointed Associate Conductor for the touring company of “Memphis the Musical”, the New York native will also undoubtedly play some of the oldest church organs from Seattle to Boston. Simonson’s carefully carved out schedule allows him to conduct master classes, workshops, pulpit preach and teach topics, all related to music in the church, during week-long stays in Denver, CO; San Jose, CA; Sacramento, CA; Costa Mesa, CA; Rochester, NY and Providence, RI. He begins the “Memphis” tour in Portland, Oregon on September 11th and ends in Boston, MA during the holidays, December 23rd, 2012.
In Simonson’s newly designed Artist-in-Residence role, he visits churches in his time-off from conducting David Bryan’s Tony-Award winning Broadway show based loosely on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Philips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. Transitioning easily to church, Simonson teaches, preaches or facilitates one or more workshops in subjects such as “Calling all Psalmists and Minstrels! - Planning and Preparation as Keys to Ministry Excellence” and “Piano Improvisation for the Church Musician”. Simonson’s preaching topics include “There is Power in Your Praise!”
Classically trained at Eastman School of Music, the Helen Hayes Award Nominee in Music Direction served as Associate Conductor of Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple and joined the staff of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, DC in where he served as organist and staff conductor, accompanying gospel great Richard Smallwood and musician Nolan Williams. In addition, he served as orchestrator for The McClurkin Project and accompanied gospel artists such as Shirley Caeser and Micah Stampley and classical greats including Denyce Graves. While on Winfrey’s tour, Simonson carved out time to visit and perform for churches in nearly every city.
The new father of a daughter with wife Ciara, who is an ordained minister, Simonson is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC and will incorporate elements of artistic consultation including assessments the Worship and Arts Ministry, as well as serve as guest worship leader or music director.
Whether playing the Broadway show, or offering musical training and leadership to psalmists and other musicians, Simonson offers a unique musical and foot-stomping experience.