In Memoriam: Otis Davis Simmons, 1924-2015

Otis Simmons, the former dean of the School of Music at Alabama State University, died on January 10 in Montgomery. He was 90 years old.

Dr. Simmons was a native of Kansas City, Kansas. After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in music philosophy at the University of Kansas.

Dr. Simmons joined the faculty at Alabama State University in 1966 as chair of the department of music. He was named the university’s first dean of the School of Music in 1972.

Dean Simmons retired from Alabama State in 1982 and later served as an adjunct professor of music at Troy University in Alabama.

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  1. Dr Simmons was the greatest teacher I ever had. I can still hear his voice in my mind saying: “There is no such thing as bad music, just ordinary music and extraordinary music.”

    A lot of people don’t know this but he was a fighter pilot in WW2 and a real badass.

    He detested ordinary music as a waste of potential but always respected others right to value it. He taught me to realize that I could either be an ordinary or extraordinary person and I will never forget him.

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