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Local Artist Spotlight: Emily Hoppe

Cover Photo by: Stewart Edmonds
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My mom and me. Photo by Kathryn Hoppe

Having been raised by a brilliant music educator, I often feel like I’ve been teaching my whole life! My first experiences were helping my mom in her classroom, conducting hand chimes, leading circle songs and, by the time I got to high school, directing musicals with her! My love for music was cultivated before I was even born and my love for children came soon thereafter.

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Cinderella at Samford University. Photo by Starla Castle

There has been so much research to prove what my mom has always taught me: music education is vital to the life of the child. I am so fortunate to have had such a strong upbringing and I am very thankful for places like Mason Music for making music accessible to all children! I love to see kids mesmerized by listening to a song and by learning to play and sing themselves! Their natural energy for everything translates so beautifully in the music classroom and I feel lucky everyday for the magic we create together.

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Creative Drama at Children’s Dance Foundation. Photo by Emily Hoppe

I love how my teaching informs my art and my art informs my teaching. Every show I do, I learn something that I know I can bring to children in the classroom, be it a dance combination or a warm-up activity or a method for communicating through a beautiful turn of phrase from another educator. Because that’s what directors are: educators. My emphasis in college was directing and I am so thankful for the pedagogy I learned through that institution. Likewise, helping students learn healthy singing and techniques and fundamentals keeps everything fresh for me and informs my own life as a performer. I couldn’t do one without the other.

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Seussical the Musical at Gardendale Arts Council. Photo by Sarah Steeley

​I received my B.A. in music and theatre from Samford University. My senior year, I directed a children’s musical that we toured around the city to schools and children’s centers like the YWCA. It was amazing to be able to see something I helped to create bring joy to so many little faces! As a performer, I have always found that being on stage with an audience full of young people is the most fulfilling experience to have. This past summer I had the opportunity to be in Seussical the Musical with several students from the area and it was such a joy to put together a show with and for young artists.

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Hairspray at Theatre Tuscaloosa. Photo by Porfirio

​Beyond children’s theatre, my favorite memories on stage are from two different productions of Hairspray. Years ago, Red Mountain Theatre Company conducted a search across the state of Alabama for “Tracy Turnblad” and I got to play the part! Tracy embodies everything I wish for my life to be and filling her shoes has impacted my career in ways I never could have dreamed. Her positive view of the world is a lesson for us all and she has inspired me to believe in myself. ​In the summer of 2014, Theatre Tuscaloosa hosted open auditions and I was again able to secure the most exciting role of my dreams. On top of it all, we were surprised to have Marc Shaiman, cEmily6omposer and co-lyricist, come to one of our shows and I had the pleasure of meeting him after.

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Parachute time at Gymboree Play and Music. Photo by Elizabeth Reid

​The biggest challenge is to balance it all. In addition to teaching a residency through Red Mountain Theatre Company with the Better Basics program, I am also the music teacher at Alabama Waldorf School, teaching first through fifth grade music and leading the middle school chorus. Music teaches us many things, including timing and patience, and I allow it to move me everyday from sun up to sun down.

 

Get more music news on Mason Music’s blog.

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