Press Release, December 6, 2017
Sun Sailor Newspapers
Gabby Landsverk, editor
As part of our annual year in review articles, we like to focus on behind the scenes people in our community. One of these is Hopkins resident, Gigi Kornfuehrer. Her picture has popped up a few times during the year, sometimes front and center and sometimes in the background. Let’s start with one of those up front pictures.
In the June 6, 2017 article of the Hopkins Sun Sailor, you, as Golde, were pictured on the front page with Tevye for Fiddler on the Roof, a production put on by Faith Presbyterian Church. How long have you been in theater?
“My first community theater play was Guys and Dolls in 1983 in Cresco IA. I was part of the chorus, something I did with 4 other summer musicals at that theater. I also did a Neal Simon play Plaza Suite that I affectionately call a ‘straight’ play as there was no music. When I moved back to MN in 1988, I participated in several musicals that my church produced, the last being Godspell in 1995.”
What is the appeal of theater?
“There are several reasons. The actors and production workers become a family. When you are new to an area, this is an instant way to get to know people. Being in a play draws on a different set of skills that may balance your life. At the time in Iowa I was working on a dairy farm. And thirdly, recognition for a job well done gives a person a good mental boost.”
Why did you pick this particular play?
“I had thought earlier about trying out for plays, but there always seemed to be some time conflict. I officiated high school volleyball and many productions seemed to overlap with that fall time frame. I was taking a class last year that required goals to be written. Thinking of that assignment brought up the old thought of theater. Having seen several productions at Faith, I called up a friend and church member there who has played in the pit band for these musicals. She said the day before she had just heard about the decision to produce Fiddler on the Roof. That sealed it for me as this was a favorite musical and I have always wanted to sing ‘Do You Love Me!'”
How did you prepare for singing this role?
“Music has been part of my life for a very long time. As a 5th grader I started playing flute, something that I continue with today in the Synod Senior Band. In high school, band and choir met at the same time. With the investment of an instrument, band it was. Wherever I have lived as an adult though, I have joined the church choir. I have been part of the A Cappella Choir at Westwood Lutheran since returning to MN in 1988. We have had a number of very talented directors who have helped shape my voice. Last year I even had 2 line judges at volleyball matches I was officiating, happened to be music teachers, make comments about my articulation of words after hearing me sing the Star Spangled Banner (not as a solo!).”
Speaking of volleyball, that was another of the pictures you were in. In the background of a picture of the MSHSL Volleyball Tournament held in St. Paul at the Xcel Center. You can be seen in the background wearing your official’s uniform of white shirt and black slacks. How did you get into volleyball officiating?
“As a physical education major at Concordia College in Moorhead, learning how to officiate basketball and volleyball became part of the curriculum due to having 2 professors who where nationally rated officials. Rules have changed a great deal through the years both for the players and the officials. I no longer have to wear a skirt!”
Have you officiated other groups besides high school?
“In the beginning there was only college volleyball. This was before Title IX. When I moved to Richmond VA in 1973, there was no volleyball at any level. I did officiate basketball though, including up to being five months pregnant, and still beat the girls down the court!” When I came back to MN after living and officiating in IA and MO, I also did work summer sand volleyball and winter leagues for area communities.”
How long do you plan on continuing this?
“This is my 30th year since returning to MN. With working the state tournament, I plan on ending on a high note. This will allow me more time and flexibility for fall activities.”
And what might some of these activities be?
“There are a lot of fun community celebrations held in the fall and also art & craft days. I love to see people’s creativity. The granddaughters also have musical and athletic events to watch. Traveling in the fall is quieter than during the summer as school is in session.”
Do you have a favorite season of the year?
“Summer is my season for 2 reasons: gardening and travel. Slowly I have changed the landscape at our home from totally grass to at least half shrubs and perennial flowers. Our property was nominated this year for most improved in the residential category but we lost out to someone else. But, my neighbors and people who walk by appreciate my efforts and take the time to stop and give me positive comments.”
“I like traveling in the summer because of longer days and not having the need to carrying heavy clothing. We attended a destination wedding to Puerto Vallarta in May and loved the sparkling clear blue water to snorkel in. We are already planning future trips to Iceland and Alaska.”
You seem to be quite footloose and fancy free. Did you work out of the home at some point?
“I started as a Physical Education and Health teacher at Columbia Heights High School also coaching girls tennis and basketball. Because of multiple moves following my husband’s career and the birth of 2 children, that was mostly put aside. Between now and then, I went back to school for computers and worked in that field before being laid off after 9-11. At that point I partnered with an international direct marketing company, shop.com powered by Market America. My emphasis is in the health and wellness end of the company. By being an active listener to people that I meet, I have focused on what a person wants in their health or to help them improve their financial situation. I am happy that others are happy.”
It appears that your varied skills have helped balance you through the weavings that life has taken you. I look forward to seeing you in your next theatre production. And how do we reach you to with questions about your products?
“shop.com/gigik. Thanks so much for the interview”
The pleasure has been mine.