At 72, trumpet player Gordon Simmons has the honor of being the oldest member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra. He is also one of the orchestra’s longest-serving members, embarking on his 40th season with MOT this fall.
One of Gordon’s favorite things about being in the orchestra is performing with his colleagues, especially during the Three Tenors concert in 1999. But one of his most memorable moments was in Don Pasquale with a dog.
“One day just before our first rehearsal, I got a call from the director of production wanting to know if I would do the trumpet solo on stage,” he said. “That is hard enough, but then he said they want me to be a blind trumpet player with a dog. I had to hurry from the pit get on a simple costume and go on stage with a dog in a matter of minutes. It was challenging to say the least.”
Gordon began playing trumpet when he was nine years old, eventually attending Taylor University, Wheaton College and Wayne State University, studying trumpet with Arnold Jacobs, Frank Kaderabeck, and Donald Green. Now, he teaches trumpet himself, both at Oakland University and through his own private studio.
“For many musicians teaching and performing go hand in hand,” he said. “I tend to be a people person which helps immensely in the area of teaching.”
He said his life as a musician in Michigan has given him great experiences.
“Working in Detroit has allowed me to play a variety of musical work,” he said. “Having spent several years on the road has helped me to appreciate Michigan.”