Meet Our Music/Vocal Director!

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Meet Our Music/Vocal Director!
Steve Koek
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Meet Our Music/Vocal Director!

South Pacific Spotlight: Summer Place VP Emma Gingold directs vocals and conducts impressive orchestra

Emma Gingold is Summer Place Theatre’s resident music and vocal director, and we are delighted to have her fill that role for this summer’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. Her talents were last utilized in last year’s production of Footloose. Her other credits include Camelot and 9-to-5. Emma serves as Vice President on the Summer Place Theatre’s Executive Board of Directors and is the full-time accompanist at Lyons Township High School.

Emma has gathered an impressive group of diverse musicians to form a robust orchestra comprised of both professional and student musicians. Music plays a key role in the execution of the varied storylines in South Pacific and Emma will be conducting an orchestra has all the key elements to bring out the richness and intricacies of this iconic score.   

After growing up blocks from downtown Naperville, Emma now lives in Westchester with her husband, Josh, and her dog, Bonnie.

South Pacific opens on June 7!

Get your tickets here

QUESTION: Who or what inspired you to start doing theater?
In junior high, the chorus classes got to be in the musicals if they wanted to, without auditioning. I was a super shy kid (I still am) and would have never done a show if I had to sing alone in front of people. Then I got double-cast as Anna in The King and I in eighth grade and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I've done several shows since then, but I'd still much rather be in the pit!

Q: What was the musical that had you fall in love with musicals?
Maybe Oklahoma or Camelot--I used to fall asleep listening to cassette tapes of those shows.

Q: As Vice-President of the Summer Place Theatre Executive Board of Directors and the Music Director for many shows, what are some of the biggest changes you have seen in community theater in recent years?
I guess it's harder to commit yourself to something nowadays. People are so busy and there are so many other opportunities we have to compete with. So I think it's harder for cast members and their families to consider volunteering on committees, and it's harder to convince people to buy a ticket for our show when they could be seeing any number of other shows. We're all spread too thin. Even I wish I had more time to be involved more.

Q: How much of a teaching element is there time for, and a need for, during a community theater musical rehearsal process like South Pacific?
Some actors don't read music, and I wish there were more time to teach more of the basics of reading so they can take that with them to their next show. But those who do read music help the process move faster, which means we get to go straight to the "making music" part without spending too long on the "singing the right notes" part. Also, the leads are generally theatre veterans or have taken years of voice lessons, so I don't teach them anything.

Q: Which character from South Pacific would you most like to have dinner with and why?
I'd like to grab a hotdog with Stewpot and the Professor--they remind me of my best friends from high school.

Q: What do you do when you’re not doing theater?<
My day job is at Lyons Township High School, where I get to accompany for their six choirs all day long. I've also music directed shows at LT and Morton West HS in Berwyn, and back when I wasn't a full-time accompanist, I taught piano lessons. One day a week I accompany for one of Spirito's middle school choirs and teach music theory. I love saying that I'm a professional musician, but it does take a long time to answer the question "where do you work?" If I have free time, I'll put on an episode of Parks & Rec or Arrested Development and veg.

Q: What is something people who work with you would be surprised to find out about you?
I love folk music from the British Isles. I worked at the Renaissance Faire for five years, I play tin whistle, and I've been taking fiddle lessons for a year or so.

Q: Why should people come see this production of South Pacific?
The base level of talent in this show is honestly higher than any other show I've worked on. We had incredible people audition, a super long list of callbacks, and a director whose ability to bring everyone together and inspire them to do their best is, in my opinion, unparalleled. The pit is part professional musicians, part future-music-major students, and they are going to BRING it. I'm also really excited about doing our first show at the Yellow Box. One of our slogans is "professional theatre quality at community theatre prices," and our audience is definitely going to get some bang for their buck with this show.

Come see talented cast and hear an incredible orchestra play an iconic score when South Pacific opens on June 7.

Learn more about our production here   Get your tickets here

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