Emma Terrell

Class Year



Des Moines, Iowa


Music Theatre

When Emma Terrell was younger, she wanted to be a lawyer, but as she grew, so did her passion for music. “I chose Carthage because the Music Theatre Program is in the Music Department, rather than the Theatre Department. I love the emphasis in music that Carthage offers its music theatre majors. I play piano, so I feel the theory and aural skills classes have been particularly helpful in my development as a musician, and potential music director.”

At Carthage, Emma is involved with Lambda Kappa Music Fraternity and has traveled to Spain with the Carthage Choir.

“Our program is growing, and we are getting more and more exciting courses every year. We have a great music theatre dance class right now called Movement for Singers. It’s fast-paced and really helpful in preparing students for future dance calls in the real world. We also have amazing voice and acting faculty. They have prepared me for theatre life after college.”

“Our program is growing, and we are getting more and more exciting courses every year. They have prepared me for theatre life after college.”

Emma Terrell, ’17

Career goal

“After Carthage, I will move to Chicago and begin auditioning for shows in the area. I hope to perform semi-regularly as well as accompany, or music direct, for musicals.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

Prof. Corinne Ness has had a huge impact on my career here at Carthage. As a freshman, she was my first private voice teacher, and helped to shape my vocal technique for years to come. She is also my advisor and has guided me through my four years to help me graduate on time. Most recently, she entrusted me to direct, and act in, one of the workshop musicals this year. This is a huge undertaking, and Corinne made the whole thing possible. She has guided me through the process and aided me in every step.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage would probably be Prof. Peg Cleveland’s History of the Lyric Stage class. Peg is such a lively and cheerful professor, and she really cares about her students. She made the class interactive, interesting, and very insightful. She made a (sorry) kind of boring subject (opera), fascinating. I would love to take that class again.”

Campus involvement

“I am a member of Lambda Kappa Music Fraternity (LK), and serve on the e-board as music director. LK has become very important to me as a way to relate to professors in a professional way, practice managing schedules, and stay on top of projects, but it also is a venue to hang out with some of my best friends every week.”

Toughest class

“I don’t know if this is the toughest class I took at Carthage, but Voice for the Stage (THR 3100), taught by Prof. John Maclay, was definitely the class I put the most effort into. Each week we had to come to class prepared with a new Shakespeare sonnet in a new dialect. While some of the dialects were relatively easy to pick up, some of them were not (Scottish), but John had a great attitude about it all and laughed at and with us the whole time. It was great.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have had the opportunity to be in three Main Stage productions, four workshop productions, and music direct a fifth workshop production while at Carthage. I also traveled to Spain with Prof. Eduardo Garcia-Novelli and the Carthage Choir, where we had the time of our lives.”


“I received scholarships from the Theatre and Music departments. These scholarships are why I was able to attend Carthage. They really made it financially feasible for my family. I also have received the Hazel Bothe Memorial Scholarship for three years now.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite Carthage memories probably relate back to Carthage Choir, specifically in Spain. We all spent so much time together on that trip, it would have been hard not to make amazing memories. We slept overnight on the bus once, and sang in freezing cold cathedrals, as well as beautiful historic cathedrals. The whole trip was mesmerizing and memorable.”

Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is behind the library. There’s a little staircase that faces the river and trees. It’s really pretty and always super quiet. Sometimes I’ll go there to read or just to have a quiet moment to myself.”

Biggest surprise so far

“The biggest surprise is how fast these four years have gone. It feels crazy that I will graduate soon!”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“Eight-year-old me would probably laugh. I used to want to be a lawyer or something, so kid me would think it’s hilarious I want to sing and dance in musicals for a living.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Be prepared for nuts-o schedules. Normal students take four classes during a semester. We take 10 including rehearsals every night, lessons, studio and departmental, and jobs if you have them. We’re a scheduling nightmare.”