Simon Estes brought the auditorium to their feet multiple times during the Roots and Wings concert. This is Estes’ 30th stop on his tour of 99 counties in Iowa.
The lobby was full before the concert as people crowded inside to buy tickets or find their seats. A total of 750 tickets were sold for this performance.
The stage was simple with a grand piano and a chair. That was all that was needed once Simon Estes began to sing “The Lord is my Light”.
Estes ended his first set with an animated performance of “I Got Plenty O’Nuttin” from Porgy and Bess.
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An honor choir made up of students from Waverly-Shell Rock, Denver, and Tripoli high schools had the opportunity to perform.
As the choir exited, a sparkling Marie Sorenson entered to sing two song selections, the second from the popular “Music Man”. Sorenson is a fourth year music performance major.
Part of the Roots and Wings concert series is to provide performance experience to emerging young artists interested in pursuing a career in performing arts.
Wartburg student Maren Hopkins came to the concert to support Sorensen.
“I knew it would be an excellent show with Simon Estes and Marie singing,” Hopkins said.
While students only had to come from their dorms to attend, some people came all the way from Texas.
Jerry and Jeanie Hinkel attended the concert to watch their great-nephew, third-year Wartburg student Joe Strong. Strong was performing with the Wartburg Choir.
“We have been totally impressed. It was a bonus coming up here and seeing Simon Estes perform,” Jerry Hinkel said.
The Wartburg Choir opened the second half of the concert with a variety of song styles. They ended with “Roll, Jordan, Roll”, a spiritual number.
As Estes sang his third set of songs, the audience sat motionless as his booming voice rang out.
After a concert with very little talking, Estes took the stage again to give the audience a little background on how he got here.
“I didn’t know I had a voice until my choir teacher at Iowa told me I have a voice to sing opera,” Estes said. “I was like what’s opera?”
In 2010, Estes began the Roots and Wings tour and since then has raised $500,000, half of which he says has gone to over 70 scholarships for high school students.
Estes said he knows how hard it is to pay for college and he wanted to help Iowa students out.
The concert finished with the Wartburg Choir, the Honor Choir and Simon Estes singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. A standing ovation followed.
First-year music major Lexi Plumb had a hard time summing up her thoughts on the concert.
“It was a fine example of Wartburg’s best,” Plumb said.