A fun camp preview for string students!

AMC 2016 cropped

By Amanda Smith Roberts
With the cold weather we’ve been experiencing, I long for the warm months of summer, when there’s an abundance of outdoor camps and performances taking place in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at South Shore Conservatory (SSC).  During these cold winter months, however, summer planning is in full swing, which for me means I am now planning for American Music Camp (AMC) for Strings 2018!

It is hard to explain the unique AMC experience in words, so we are offering a FREE preview of the camp for string students to experience the fun firsthand! AMC for Strings began at SSC in the summer of 2015 with the goal of providing students with fun classes and creative opportunities to boost their playing skills, introduce them to new musical styles, improvisational skills, various techniques for their instruments, all of which help them enjoy creating and sharing music with each other.  Since its inception, AMC has inspired the majority of its faculty members and student campers to return each summer!

Our March 3 preview event allows violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin and ukulele students, ages 3-18, to bring their instrument and explore new areas of string playing, with fun offerings such as Old Time Radio Show, reminiscent of Prairie Home Companion, where students learn to write a script and run a variety show that hosts the daily student recitals, or Movie and Pop Music and Arranging, where students create their own renditions of their favorite film scores and pop tunes.  Noodle Bands, rock bands that write and perform songs about pasta, tend to pop up here and there during the event.  Students are placed in classes geared to their interests, playing level, and age group.

Other preview classes include: Irish Fiddling, Improvisation, Musical Story Telling, Foot Percussion, Pop/Movie Music Arranging, Cool Cello Techniques, and Baroque Ensembles.  Participants can buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a mandolin and other exciting prizes! Joining me for the preview are faculty members Joy Adams (cello), Andy Reiner (5-string fiddle), Hazel Ketchum (guitar), Erik Caldarone (electric guitar), and Emily Hale (Baroque ensembles).

AMC for Strings, which runs from June 24-29, gives students a unique taste for what is possible on their instruments.  Additionally, it helps them find their individual musical voices through inspiring creativity. The camp provides opportunities for all string students, regardless of experience or musical background. One of our favorite activities is the daily all-camp jam session and student performances in the amphitheater. Some of our younger students, who attend the half-day camp, return at the end of the day just for this fun activity.  One would have to fly all over the nation to accumulate such an expansive variety of experiences that they will gather in five days!

South Shore Conservatory’s AMC Preview event takes place on Saturday, March 3 from 2-5 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.  To register, visit https://goo.gl/forms/XKqSnCkMUgqNCk872.  For more information about the camp or the preview event, visit www.sscmusic.org, find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook, or contact Amanda Roberts at a.roberts@sscmusic.org.

Amanda Roberts is the chair of South Shore Conservatory’s string department.


Support for those dealing with memory issues

By Kari O’Briant   shake-your-soul
When I first heard about Memory Cafés two years ago, I was delighted at the concept.  I’ve seen how Alzheimer’s has affected members of my own family, as well as the families of my friends; I imagine there are few people in this country who have not been directly impacted by it.  How wonderful that we are creating opportunities to support the people dealing with this disease!  I wish this had been available years ago.

In 2017, through South Shore Conservatory I began providing music therapy at Memory Cafés at various local Councils on Aging.  These gatherings, designed for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as their care partners, offer a supportive, relaxed environment that eases feelings of stress and loneliness that can occur with these diagnoses and caregiving.  I’ve been to cozy events that involved only a couple of participants and allowed time and space for deep discussion, and I’ve been to others with over 20 participants that were energetic and full of lighthearted laughter.

Cafés are typically provided in community spaces, free of charge, and staffed by individuals with experience in Alzheimer’s and dementia.  They usually center on a theme, such as a co-occurring holiday, often include engagement in an activity such as art or music, and can include educational opportunities.  Music provides space for expression and connection.

In my work, I have used music therapy interventions such as singing favorite songs, playing instruments, and songwriting, to encourage reminiscence, social connections, expressions of emotion, communication, and movement – all applicable goals for individuals attending Memory Cafés.

One of my great joys is witnessing families and communities connect through music.  Within my work as a music therapist at these events, I’ve seen:

– married couples smile at each other while recounting how they met
– individuals discuss their favorite Thanksgiving desserts and pie-making techniques
– recent strangers cheer each other taking a drum solo
– 25 people laughing and playing kazoos along to Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”
– someone smile with delight at discovering how to play a new instrument.

Participants have the option of attending as many sessions as they like, as frequently as they would like.   This setup creates space for connecting with peers in the community that they might not ordinarily encounter.  For example, a significant number of people with Down Syndrome are expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as they age, and most of the Cafés I have attended have included individuals with Down Syndrome as well as individuals without.  Too often, people who have Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities are kept separate from their peers.  Inclusion is important to building a strong and supportive community, and Memory Cafés promote inclusion in multiple ways.

It has been a pleasure to share space with these people.  Now I have the honor of facilitating the new SSC Memory Café on the third Thursday of every month at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham. While there is no cost to join in, participants are asked to register prior to each session by contacting Eve Montague, Director of Creative Arts Therapies, at 781-934-2731, x20 or e.montague@sscmusic.org. For more information on the SSC Memory Café, visit http://sscmusic.org/cat/.

Kari O’Briant, MT-BC is a board-certified music therapist.  She joined SSC’s Creative Arts Therapies faculty at South Shore Conservatory in 2011.


Play is at the Heart of Learning

prek water tableby Rachel Gellis
If you are a parent, I welcome you to take a journey back in time to think about your fondest preschool and kindergarten memories. Did it involve standardized tests? Staring at an iPad? Sitting still in your chair for a length of time? More than likely, these are not the memories that come mind, but unfortunately, this is what school often looks like today. The warm memories you have likely involve making new friends, creating messy art projects, playing cops and robbers on the playground, cooking in the play kitchen and playing restaurant, singing songs with your classmates, learning to tie your shoes, and the best of days when your teacher would take the parachute out of the closet.

Remember what you loved about preschool as a child, while playful and fun, you were learning skills to be successful in the real world. Playing cops and robbers or restaurant, you were learning to make friends, take turns, follow rules, using imagination, and learning how to get along with others. Creating messy art projects, you were flexing your creativity muscle and learning that the process is just as important as the product. You were learning self-help skills and were so proud of yourself when you learned to tie your shoes. You were becoming independent. Although the parachute might have just been for fun, we believe having fun is an integral part of learning.

At South Shore Conservatory, or SSC, we are taking things back to basics. With a comprehensive foundation of social and emotional skills, combined with an arts-integrated curriculum, we are creating a life-long love of learning in our students. Arts-integration is an approach to teaching and learning in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. At SSC, we use various forms of art (drama, music, storytelling, poetry, visual arts, and creative movement) as primary pathways to learning. Through arts-integration, we are giving our children the tools to understand that there are many ways to learn and there is no one right way to learn. The more ways we teach students to learn, the more likely learning is to occur.

Our philosophy is to keep “play” at the heart of most activities as children begin their educational journey. Through play and the arts, we begin to gently introduce academic subjects to young children, and increase the skill level as they continue to grow within our program. Through the arts, young children engage in a creative process which connects an art form to other subject areas. By doing so, they learn key early childhood concepts, and creatively problem-solve and reach benchmarks using his/her own individual learning style. We equip our students with the tools necessary to be successful in the twenty-first century, creating a sense of community through rich art-integrated lessons and activities. Differences are respected and celebrated as each child freely expresses his or her own self.  Using the arts to connect children to the material they are learning, makes it much more meaningful and purposeful.

Learn by “doing” is also our philosophy with parents! The first of every month we invite parents bring their children to an interactive, hands-on Take A Peek Tour, and jump right into the classroom to observe it in full action.  Offering both morning and afternoon sessions lets us accommodate different schedules.  Giving a child the gift of an arts-integrated Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten experience is truly a gift that continues to keep giving throughout that child’s life.

To sign up for a Take A Peek Tour, contact me at r.gellis@sscmusic.org or call 781-749-7565, ext. 36.

Rachel Gellis is South Shore Conservatory’s Director of Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten.


From dream to reality: bringing the arts to all communities

YouthChorus_FallConcert_0039By Anne Smith
One year ago, I was home during a snowstorm when an email arrived from Malissa Kenney.  Malissa is social worker and advocate, well known on the South Shore for her work with the ARC, serving individuals with disabilities. As an after-school volunteer at the Algonquin Heights affordable housing community in Plymouth, Malissa was well acquainted with the challenges facing that neighborhood. She wrote me in the hopes that together we could provide arts programming to the families living there.

As Director of Community Engagement at SSC, I work with community groups and social service organizations to provide access to the arts off-site, away from our campuses in Hingham and Duxbury.  SSC’s mission is to make the arts available to everyone, regardless of age, ability, location, or financial status.  A partnership with Algonquin Heights fit seamlessly in to both our vision and our experience. This is a community right in the center of Plymouth, but isolated from many of the cultural opportunities the town has to offer.  Financial challenges and lack of transportation mean that most children can’t participate in after-school activities. Malissa wrote, “We want to bolster the community and give the kids an opportunity to tap into their talents, have fun, and build self-confidence.  All those great things happen when you’re involved in arts.”

In the weeks following, we met with Malissa, fellow volunteer Kathy Dunn, and Ami Knight, Director of Resident Services to brainstorm opportunities to provide the community with arts programming. The partnership began in earnest last June with a series of community-wide drum circles drawing over 150 residents, from grandparents to teens to moms and babies, into active, joyful music-making.

Since then, the partnership has flourished.  Contributions from private donors as well as a generous grant from South Shore Community Partners in Prevention Community Health Network have allowed SSC to provide programming free-of-charge.  This fall, VERC Rentals and VERC Enterprises teamed up to donate access to a van to bring young singers from Plymouth to our Duxbury campus every Monday for the SSC Youth Chorus. With some of the funds raised by our annual Chase Away the Winter Blues gala, SSC provided full scholarships for eight singers from Algonquin Heights.

Led by Peter Mundt, beloved music educator from the Scituate school district, SSC Youth Chorus meets once a week from September through May.  Peter believes his role is to promote a feeling of community and family among his singers. “Whenever there’s an act of kindness I try to highlight it. These kids care about each other.  They take care of each other.  This opens everyone up to taking risks. I really want them to feel comfortable and courageous. When kids are excited about music, I feel like it’s opening up their personality and who they are inside.  Singing allows them to express their true selves.”

The power of this partnership is felt deeply by Algonquin Heights’ administrative staff. Ami Knight came to support the young singers at their first chorus concert in December.  The next day, she wrote, “Last night was beautiful.  I cried during the concert and sat in my car after and cried. I don’t know if you all understand how much it means to these kids to have people follow through, to encourage and support them and to not cancel things and to not give up on them.  The children that participate in the program have the ‘normal’ kid stress along with other obstacles.  Because of the family financial limitations and lack of transportation they cannot participate in many enrichment programs. They cannot expand their horizons outside of the community.  You all worked together to remove the obstacle of transportation and with the sponsorship allowed them to participate, to learn and to meet others.  You never canceled a rehearsal.  You never forgot to pick them up.  You encourage them to be their best and they were.  They absolutely were.”

At SSC we believe that the arts change lives. Our annual Chase Away the Winter Blues gala helps us fund partnership efforts such as this one with Algonquin Heights.  The year’s gala is Saturday, January 27 at the Boston Marriot Quincy, 1000 Marriot Drive in Quincy.  The SSC Youth Chorus will be featured performers that night.  For information about the Blues, the SSC Youth Chorus and Community Partnerships, visit sscmusic.org.



Make music your New Life resolution

violin-lesson-600x380by Lorna Jane Norris
As the year turns we often find ourselves thinking about what we want to achieve over the next year. Sometimes it’s a practical and measurable goal, such as getting a new job, repainting the house, or losing ten pounds. There’s something about the New Year opportunity window, though, that invites us to consider creating more meaning in our lives; spending more time with loved ones, spending more time reading and less time on social media, or planting an herb garden.

At South Shore Conservatory (SSC), we always see an increase in inquiries for music lessons right after the New Year.  This year we’re making it easier for folks to get started by offering the first lesson for free through the end of February.  Music is just one of those beautiful things we all want to experience more of, isn’t it?

I love what visionary author Kurt Vonnegut said when asked to identify the single most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. “My Lord, that’s a tough question because there is so much beauty, really; it’s what keeps me going in life, is just glimpsing beauty all the time. I suppose the most beautiful thing, although you can’t exactly see it, is music,” he answered.

Wow. Drop the mic. It’s important to point out here that Vonnegut was not a musician, but an author. You don’t have to be a musician to see the beauty in it, and you don’t have to be a musician to enjoy taking music lessons. In fact, that’s kind of the point of the lessons. When I read something like this, I feel so much gratitude for my music education and for the privilege of working at an organization whose mission is to change lives through music.

Another quote I find inspiring was in opera composer Jake Heggie’s address to the 2017 graduating class of Northwestern’s music school.  He told the graduates, “Music is essential – and it is essentially optimistic. It is about the future: the very best of what we can achieve together when we open our hearts and minds to strive for something great and seemingly unreachable. It is about the deepest stirrings in our hearts and souls. And people are absolutely starved for it.”

So, satisfy your hunger and schedule your or your child’s first private music lesson for free. Our placement team will get to know a little bit about you and your learning style, identify what you are looking for, and work to pair you up with a teacher to help you on your way. If you don’t know what instrument you would like to study (we include voice as an instrument), we can help with that too. SSC has 47 years of experience providing high quality music lessons to over 1000 students a week. You’ve got to admit that’s a lot of students!

Visit sscmusic.org or call 781-749-7565, ext. 37 before February 28 to take advantage of the free lesson. You can also find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.  Don’t wait to make music your new life resolution!

Lorna Jane Norris is South Shore Conservatory’s Vice President of Education.


Helping Suzuki Hurricane Victims through Music

hurricane relief studentsBy Lauren Whittaker

Watching the devastation of Hurricane Harvey on the nightly news motivated me to seek a way help, but what was the best way?!  Concluding that a monetary donation was the greatest help I could offer left me in a second quandary: where to donate?  Red Cross?  Celebrity phone-a-thon?  (It’d be fun to talk to a well-known celebrity directly!  Oprah?)  Perhaps a local drive?

Then, as a Suzuki piano teacher at South Shore Conservatory, registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, I received an email from them with the subject line “Suzuki Hurricane Relief Fund.”  They were suggesting that my students participate in a practice-a-thon, with the goal of raising funds, through pledges, to assist Suzuki teachers and families in the Southeast Texas and Louisiana area, while strengthening my their practice habits and making beautiful music in honor of those who affected by the storm. This was IT!  A way to help a very real need in a way I hadn’t thought about before!

The fund’s priorities were to replace instruments ruined by the hurricane, and help to pay for lessons for those unable to afford to pay, due to the devastation. Of course, no piano is going to fit in a lifeboat, and when the boat came, those with smaller instruments would have had no time to run to find them, so this was a wonderful solution.

SSC knows that participating in music programs has the capacity to increase children’s sense of social responsibility so for both the SSC students and the music students in Houston, this practice-a-thon really was a win-win situation. The more my students practiced, the stronger their piano skills grew and the more they raised for the children who lost so much in the hurricane.  Their practice time included home practice time, listening time, lessons, groups, and recitals!

The program included both September and October, a total of 61 days, at the piano.  Students completed a practice chart then had a parent initial it every day.  Then they added up the minutes.  I pledged one cent per minute at the piano to each of my students.

Nine of my students, ages four-and-a-half to eleven, elected to participate, and did they ever learned some invaluable lessons!  Seven-year old Lily, enjoyed recording her minutes and her mom reported that she practiced more regularly each morning before school.  She told her mom that she felt “happy and helpful” to participate.  Another five-year-old, a new student, had trouble grasping the idea of a practice-a-thon.  But her mom explained it and the idea blossomed.  Near the end, she exclaimed to her mom, “I feel great to help and practice and then give money for the people who don’t have any instruments anymore because I still have my piano!”

Another five-year-old, after only a short introduction from me, learned all of a new piece the first week of the practice-a-thon – on her own by taking the time to listen to her CD repeatedly!  The bounce in her step as she came into my studio and the joy on her face with her new ability had me close to tears!

In the end, the students practiced over 4000 minutes and collected donations of almost $1000.

And they reaped the lasting benefits:  while not required to practice more than their normal amount of time, many of the participating students did.  Some are still maintaining their new habit.  What a pleasure it is working with these children at their lesson.  The joy of mastering something new – a new piece, a new scale, a new and difficult passage – has become the new normal!  The “I Can!” attitude is going viral!

Learn more about SSC’s Suzuki instruction at http://sscmusic.org/suzuki/.


Chasing away the winter blues in January

South Shore Conservency Gala, January 28, 2017.By Liz Graham
About 18 months ago, I decided to return to work after taking almost five years off to be home with my two little girls. My family was living in Boston at the time, and in the middle of building a home in Hingham. I often think that I must have been a little insane to take on a new job, look for a rental home, and enter the final stages of the building process! However, when I began my work with South Shore Conservatory (SSC), I knew it was the exact right time for me, and for them.

My main focus at SSC, is to organize our annual gala, Chase Away the Winter Blues. The Blues is our largest fundraiser of the year, with proceeds benefitting Community Partnerships, Creative Arts Therapy and our tuition assistance program. Before I started working at SSC, this beloved event had always been a huge success.  But by 2017, it was due for a change.

My challenge was to move the venue from our Hingham campus, where the event was bursting at the seams, to a larger space, giving us the opportunity to tell our story, and ultimately raise more funds than ever before. Luckily, I had an incredibly engaged committee that worked enthusiastically and energetically to make the evening special, as well as helpful SSC colleagues, both providing guidance and support throughout the entire planning process. The event, held at the River Club in Scituate last year, was a magical evening of show-stopping performances, an exciting live auction and touching stories about the impact SSC has on our students’ lives.  It was a fun, thrilling evening, and I, for one, can’t wait to do it again this year!

This year’s Chase Away the Winter Blues, co-chaired by Linda Jones and Christine Puzo, takes place Saturday, January 27 at the Boston Marriott Quincy. The venue is beautiful and large enough to accommodate the large crowd the event draws.  The evening starts with a conversational cocktail hour, followed by dinner and a short presentation.  SSC’s talented faculty will be performing in various performances throughout the evening, and we are thrilled to introduce an After Party this year, for those who may wish to come for an evening of dancing after their children are tucked into bed.  With this new event, we are hoping to engage even more people within our community. We look forward to dancing the night away to the sounds of East Coast Soul and celebrating the fabulous work of SSC.

Through fundraising efforts, SSC strives to reach more and more communities and people who may not, otherwise, have access to music education. The Blues gala not only helps us to do just that, but also helps us get the word out about the diverse populations we serve. It’s truly a memorable event.  I hope to see you there!

South Shore Conservatory’s Chase Away the Winter Blues gala is Saturday, January 27, 6 pm at Boston Marriot Quincy, 1000 Marriot Drive, Quincy.  To purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or for more information, visit http://sscmusic.org/blues or contact Liz Graham at l.graham@sscmusic.org or 781-749-7565 ext. 14.

Liz Graham of Hingham is South Shore Conservatory’s Special Events and Corporate Relations Liaison.

Playing The Nutcracker

Bob MarlattElizabeth England.jpg

By Elaine Sorrentino
Everyone loves The Nutcracker, with its magical world of dancing snowflakes, sugar plum fairies, unsurpassed costuming, and gorgeous music that circles through your memory for the entire holiday season.  This year, however, there’s another wonderful surprise for those who attend Boston Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at the Opera House this holiday season.  You’ll see a couple of familiar faces in the orchestra pit!

South Shore Conservatory (SSC) instructor Robert Marlatt is principal horn for Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, has played with the company since November 1996, and has performed more than 800 Nutcrackers over the course of his Boston Ballet time.  He will play 39 performances this season.  Also, SSC instructor Elizabeth England has been playing oboe for The Nutcracker since 2016.  She was awarded tenure in May of 2017, and will play 44 performances this season.

Both musicians shared that the process of auditioning for Boston Ballet was a bit intimidating, starting with auditioning anonymously from behind a screen for members of the orchestra and the music director!  They needed to play a prepared solo piece, customarily repertoire from the orchestral world, such as a Sibelius symphony, Beethoven works, or Stravinsky violin concerto, in addition to works created specifically for the ballet genre, such as Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, or Romeo and Juliet. Then they played some orchestral passages.  Neither Robert not Elizabeth needed to wait long after auditioning, as they were notified the same day of their being accepted into the next round of auditions, the semi-finals.  Again, they performed their solo plus a new set of orchestral passages from behind a curtain.  In the final round, however, they were also given instructions on how to play differently by the conductor, in order to demonstrate the musicianship of a candidate.  Clearly both of these accomplished musicians passed this test too, with flying colors, and the next thing they knew, they were Boston Ballet musicians.

Where so many ballet companies perform without a live orchestra, and others have drastically reduced the orchestration, Robert and Elizabeth realize how fortunate we are here in the Greater Boston area to have Boston Ballet in our backyard.  They feel that live music is an integral part of the whole Nutcracker experience.  “It makes a huge difference! It’s a collaboration and multi-discipline art form; if you take away an enormous component of that collaboration, I think that’s unfortunate,” says Elizabeth.

From the orchestra pit, the musicians cannot see the dancers, but during quiet spots in the music, they can hear the dancers’ toe shoes on the stage.  So, what’s makes playing for The Nutcracker special?  Robert says, “The smiles from the audience. Before every show and at intermission, the orchestra pit is surrounded by kids and parents, and we know that, for many, it is their first experience hearing a live symphony orchestra.”

Elizabeth is in agreement. “The audiences! It is so special to create this beautiful world for the audience. Hearing the children in the audience laughing and enjoying themselves is wonderful. Creating a space for everyone to enjoy themselves and be uplifted by this shared experience is a beautiful thing. People come down to the front of the house to look in the pit before the show, during intermission, and after the show. It’s a delight to speak with them, answer any questions they have, and share a smile.”

In Elizabeth’s teaching studio, her students are having fun playing Nutcracker music, but Robert’s students haven’t started yet.  “Maybe I’ll surprise them next week with the ‘Waltz of the Flowers!’” he quips.

To sign up for lessons with Robert or Elizabeth, or to learn more about South Shore Conservatory’s private lesson program, visit sscmusic.org or call 781-749-7565 x10.


Holiday Favorites concert in Duxbury, December 12 at 11 am

If you happened to miss our Holiday Favorites concert on Sunday, don’t fret!  South Shore Conservatory’s Coffee Break Concert Series presents its own version of Holiday Favorites Tuesday, December 12 at 11 am, with charming husband and wife piano duo Mark Goodman and Jennifer Cope Goodman. They will present songs of the season, some of it on piano four hands, with discussion of the “ins and outs” of piano four hands playing.

This concert is sponsored by The Village at Duxbury and is free to the public.

Beyond the music

SSC Community Voices at Inly

By Dianne Morse
Three years ago I retired from the Marshfield public school system as a math coach at the middle school level. Throughout my teaching career, I was always partial to working with struggling learners and special needs students. Last December I saw a Facebook post about South Shore Conservatory’s SSC Community Voices program for developmentally-delayed adults. It intrigued me and I hoped I’d qualify. Little did I know at the time, but singing ability was not a prerequisite for this group! I contacted Creative Arts Therapy Director Eve Montague right away and offered to be a singing partner.

The first rehearsal I attended was held in January, 2017.  I loved the enthusiastic welcome that was given to each singer as they arrived. Directors Eve and Amanda handed out the ‘music’ which consisted only of large print lyrics. As they handed it out they asked each participant, “Are you reading tonight?” This touched me as so respectful of each person‘s ability and dignity as an adult with special needs. Some of the singers are unable to read, some are blind, some don’t sing at all, some don’t sing anything close to what everyone else is singing, some have perfect pitch, some know all the lyrics after only listening to a song once,  but all blend somehow in this wonderfully inclusive group.

From that first night I was sure I’d be returning weekly. On Monday nights I sing with the Snug Harbor Community Chorus at the Performing Arts Center in Duxbury. There I’m challenge to learn my part, breathe correctly, and to stay on key. I leave those Monday practices with my personal goals to practice the more difficult passages. In contrast, on Wednesday nights I leave Community Voices with a chuckle and a smiling heart.

When I arrive at CV rehearsal I always wonder where to sit.  Shall I sit beside Jennifer? She lifts my spirit- she freely shares her exuberance, pretends to read the words but really just watches my mouth, and eventually gets us both in trouble by chatting with me. She always exclaims, “This is my favorite!” with every song we sing. Shall I sit beside Patrick? He reaches out to touch my hand whenever he’s anxious. Liz always claps too loudly and Joe holds his notes long after Eve or Amanda has directed us to stop singing. All of my CV singing friends are interesting adults with special abilities.

Our spring concert was exciting! Not only was our Duxbury SSC Community Voices group singing at the Inly school in Scituate, but we combined with the Hingham SSC Community Voices group, and together numbered about 40 singers! After that concert a few of the people in the audience approached me and asked how I got involved. Since then a fellow teacher, Rena Lukoski of Hanover, has joined the group.

Our wonderful group of singers and new friends often see each other outside South Shore Conservatory on Wednesday nights. I’ve run into my singing buddies at the Wang Center, at Heritage Days in Scituate Harbor, in bowling alleys, craft shows, and in supermarkets. It’s fun to say hello and share smiles as we visit as friends. Joining Community Voices has been a unique way to experience the power and joy of music.

South Shore Conservatory’s SSC Community Voices in Duxbury and SSC Community Voices, Too! in Hingham present their holiday concerts on Wednesday, December 13,
7 pm.  These performances are joyful and free.  For more information, visit www.sscmusic.org.