Digital Access

Digital Access
Access newtondailynews.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
News, sports, local and regional entertainment and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
News

Estes discusses gift of song and giving heart

World renowned opera singer and Iowa native Simon Estes (center) visits with Jane Ann and Curran Cotton following a luncheon Friday afternoon at DMACC/Sodexho. Estes performed Thursday night in Newton in honor of the community’s 150th birthday. Jessica Lowe/Daily News
World renowned opera singer and Iowa native Simon Estes (center) visits with Jane Ann and Curran Cotton following a luncheon Friday afternoon at DMACC/Sodexho. Estes performed Thursday night in Newton in honor of the community’s 150th birthday. Jessica Lowe/Daily News

Simon Estes and a group of reserved ticket holders met for lunch and conversation Friday afternoon at DMACC/Sodexho in Newton. Estes dined and discussed his singing talents, career and philanthropic work which has spanned the globe for more than four decades. “I enjoy teaching and sharing what I’ve learned,” said Estes, who has been singing for 43 years. During his four decades of singing, Estes, who was born in Centerville, made his professional debut in 1965 in Deutsche Opera in Berlin. He debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1982. He has released many albums including “Simon Estes on Broadway,” “Simon Sings His Favorite Gospels and Spirituals” and “Simon Estes Sings Christmas Carols.” In 1996, Estes received the Iowa Award. Also, the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater, an event venue in Des Moines, was named in his honor, according to www.wartburg.edu/estes. Estes gave credit to his wife Ovida for helping him to continue his career, traveling the world to share his talent and helping him achieve his many honors. “I’ve sang on every continent except Antarctica where the penguins are. And I juggle all of this because of my wife,” he said. “I couldn’t do all this without her help.” Not only has Estes sang internationally, he also has traveled the globe doing philanthropic work with youth. According to the Simon Estes Educational Foundation Web site, the foundation was founded in Tulsa, Okla., in 1983. One year later, the Simon Estes International Foundation, Inc. was founded in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1996, The Simon Estes Foundation was established in Cape Town, South Africa. And in 2001, Estes established the Simon Estes Iowa Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization which provides positive minority role models and scholarships to disadvantaged Iowa youth. “As far as philanthropy goes, I believe in a living will rather than a dead will,” said Estes. “People who are blessed with funds should know there are people who need help right now. Why wait to help them when you are dead?” Estes emphasized that people do not need a lot of money to make a difference. “You don’t have to be a multi-millionaire or a millionaire to be a philanthropist. You just have to be a person with a giving heart,” he told the crowd of 22 at the luncheon. “You don’t always have to be a philanthropist with your money, you can be a philanthropist with your heart. There’s so many different ways you can give.” Estes took questions from the audience with several questions about his opportunities to sing for kings, queens, presidents and other celebrities. Estes said he views those moments as the same as when he took the stage at the Center for Performing Arts on Thursday. “All human beings are equal,” Estes said. “I respect (the royalty) as they should be but I don’t feel nervous. All people sitting here is the same as the kings of Norway or Spain that I have sung for.” Before leaving the luncheon Estes took time to greet each person in attendance, take a few photographs and share his impressions of the community. “I’ve had a wonderful time. I’m happy you’ve invited me back here,” said Estes who performed in Newton at the dedication of the Center for Performing Arts more than two decades ago. “It’s been 26 years. If you want me to come back you’ll have to not wait so long. If you wait another 26 years I may not be able to do that,” he joked. ——— Visit online at www.seef.org www.wartburg.edu/estes

Loading more