Music Theatre and Music Education
Choral Director at Lakes Community High School, Lake Villa, Illinois
Daniel Ermel graduated from Carthage in 2011 with a degree in musical theatre/vocal performance. He wanted to act and direct — so he did.
He performed with multiple companies including Kohl’s Wild Theater, Madcap Puppets, and the Metropolis in Arlington Heights, Illinois. In early 2016, he was cast as “Burrs” in “The Wild Party” with The Up and Coming Theatre Company. He has also been the music director for projects with Buffalo Grove Singers, Citadel Theatre, and Big Deal Productions.
But it was a summer gig directing a kids’ music camp that became Mr. Ermel’s favorite role. He decided to pursue a teaching certificate, and soon afterward, he got a job teaching music to K-2 students at a bilingual elementary school in Highwood, Illinois.
“Seventy percent of the students’ instruction is in Spanish, and I was part of the 30 percent of instruction in English,” he says. “I was fortunate enough to see every class for two half-hour sessions each week.”
Today, Mr. Ermel is a choir director at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa, Illinois.
“The well-roundedness of the program at Carthage was extremely beneficial to my success. I didn’t just perform. I learned to build sets, to sew costumes, to direct one-acts. I spent a J-Term studying the wildlife in the Costa Rican rainforest. Carthage made me so much more than just an actor or a musician; it made me a person.”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“The most enjoyable part of my career is its journey so far. I graduated with a performance degree, and was lucky enough to perform with various companies including Kohl’s Wild Theater, Madcap Puppets, and the Metropolis in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
“Eventually, I was approached by a friend to music direct for a summer camp (something I had never done before), but I took the challenge head on and loved every minute. I decided to return to Carthage in the summer of 2014 to enroll in the Accelerated Certification for Teachers program to obtain my teaching certificate in K-12 music.
“I’ve performed, directed, and now I am teaching. The journey so far has been great, and I look forward to seeing where it will take me.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“The well-roundedness of the program at Carthage was extremely beneficial to my success. I didn’t just perform. I learned to build sets, sew costumes, to direct one-acts. I spent a J-Term studying the wildlife in the Costa Rican rainforest. Carthage made me so much more than just an actor or a musician; it made me a person.”
“The exposure I had to such great models in my own educators really helped shape my teaching methods and philosophy. The education classes I took through the ACT programs also allowed me to really focus my studies on my subject field.”
How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?
“My first teaching experience was as a one-on-one aide in a self-contained special education classroom. My exposure to approaching problems from multiple angles and out-of-the-box thinking helped me understand the best way to work with each student. Recognizing that four students needed to be taught four different ways (and understanding how to approach this) made both my time and their time at school a success.”