The benefits of audition and competition

Jenny BoydBy Jenny Boyd
Allow me to paint a picture for you. You arrive at the location, check in, and wait anxiously for your turn to warm up in a practice room you wish were soundproof. With sweaty fingers, you glance over the score one last time. You run through your piece, a little too conscious of the eagerly attentive ears positioned outside the practice room. You hear a knock on the door. In the apotheosis of the audition experience, you’re summoned to the hall in which you will perform for a panel of judges.

As a pianist who has participated in over 15 competitions during my time at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), I know this scene very well. I’m acutely aware of the complex nature surrounding musical competitions, yet I believe competitions and auditions are important because they can stimulate the participant’s musical growth. The feeling of accomplishment after receiving recognition is an unparalleled thrill. One prepares vigorously for the defining performance, powering through grueling practice sessions, meticulous training, and of course, the inevitable performance anxiety. The potential for being rewarded for your hard work provides an incentive to achieve your personal best.

But, one need not even place in a competition to reap the benefits of participating. The mere process of leaving your comfort zone fosters enormous growth in one’s performance skills. The benefits of becoming acclimated to performing in “high-stakes” environments are incalculable. For a student, developing “grace under pressure” is a skill that transcends the walls of the performance hall and trickles into other arenas of your life.  After ceasing to view performing for judges as an unachievable feat, one truly feels unstoppable. The result is an expansion in self confidence and self-awareness; you discover your strengths and weaknesses as a performer, reflect upon the experience, and feel proud after doing what previously seemed impossible!

The constructive criticism provided by judges in a competition or festival also helps students grow. Young musicians receive feedback from their teacher, but seldom from other with expertise. By gaining additional perspectives on your playing, you gain a more comprehensive account of the musical areas upon which you can improve.

Keep in mind, in competition there is abundant room for personal bias in the judging process. One judge, for example, may favor a certain repertoire and style because it aligns with the judge’s personal preferences. Another judge may value interpretive originality over technical accuracy because he/she prizes this value in his/her own playing. By the same token, a judge may assess a student’s performance unfavorably if he/she dislikes the selected pieces or the performer’s stylistic choices. Judges are human after all, and humans often judge from the heart.

Additionally, no one knows what metrics a judge may use to determine such factors as originality, stage presence, technique, and musicality – all which are often considered in the judging process. The aforementioned cannot be quantified, and thus it is difficult to call the judging process objective.

Ultimately, the merits of auditioning and competing significantly outweigh any other factors. In music, it is important to prepare yourself for challenging experiences, thus enabling growth. As long as you are amply prepared, you can only gain from the audition experience!

South Shore Conservatory’s Festival Audition Workshop, on Sunday, October 28, from 12 – 3 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham, helps prepare students for their Junior and Senior District festival auditions. It is free and open to any student on the South Shore.  During this event students play their audition pieces for faculty and receive feedback to help them do their best on audition day.  Students wishing to participate should call 781-749-7565 x10 before October 25 to reserve their space.

South Shore Conservatory piano student Jenny Boyd was the overall winner of SSC’s 2015 Concerto Competition.


Winning South Shore’s Got Talent


By Catrina Riker
Even though I have been singing my entire life, meticulously prepared and practiced, I was shocked (in a good way) to be named the winner of Wellspring’s South Shore’s Got Talent (SSGT) competition in June.

When I was only a toddler, I remember watching the Taurino Olympics on television and hearing Andrea Boccelli sing for the first time.  It was inspiring, and piqued my interest in classical music and classical artists. I have seen videos of myself as a young child trying to mimic female classical singers such as Sarah Brightman.  No wonder I decided to study opera.

My mom has always been very supportive of my classical music education, playing Andrea Boccelli’s music so I could familiarize myself with his songs, and encouraging me to take voice lessons at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), which I’ve been doing for three year, since fifth grade.  Up until now I’ve been studying with voice teacher Emily Browder-Melville.  In addition to private lessons, I’ve been involved in the Accelerando Program, which gave me  the opportunity to play for other students and faculty members, and explore topics such musical interpretation, expressivity, how to manage nerves and body awareness. I’ve also gone to Summer Vocal Institute for the last four years, take piano, and have gone to Piano Camp for two years.  All of these experiences were helpful in preparing for competition.

When I was in sixth grade I was at Starbucks, and saw a flyer advertising the talent show, and I thought “here’s my chance,” so I tried out and made it that year, but didn’t win. That didn’t stop me.  I came back the next year to give it another shot, and ended up winning.  To me it was a huge surprise, there were so many talented individuals already comfortable with the show environment!

For South Shore’s Got Talent, I sang Nella Fantasia, by Ennio Morricone. It is Italian and means “In my Fantasy.”  I’ve listened to that beautiful calming song for years, and never considered singing it until this year, when I thought, “People will actually really appreciate this.” So I sang it, and hoped the lyrics, which are full of hope, would touch the amphitheater audience and the judges. Emily helped me prepare. She made sure I was comfortable performing with a mic, as opera singers tend not to use mics.  This contest required it.

Pianist Brandon Santini accompanied me. I was comfortable choosing him as an accompanist, as I had sung with Brandon multiple times in my Accelerando classes.  In fact, I plan to continue singing with him for other performances in the years to come.

Preparation was nerve-wracking but it was all worth it in conclusion. I was very nervous; gazelles were leaping in my stomach but as soon as I opened my mouth to sing, I felt my nerves dissipate as I stepped into my element, and everything fell neatly into place!

Presented by Wellspring Multi-Service Center in Hull, South Shore’s Got Talent is a fundraising event that helps spread the good word of Wellspring’s impact on improving the lives of our neighbors in need in 19 South Shore towns. The winner receives a substantial cash award, a head shot session, a hair/make-up session, and a live interview on HCAM.

To learn more about South Shore Conservatory’s private lesson program and other class offerings, visit

SSC voice student Catrina Riker is 13 years old and attends Hingham Middle School. She is very excited to continue her opera studies with SSC’s Beth MacLeod Largent this fall.

Mad about Mad Love Music Festival!

Andrew, Kathleen, Conor, Clare, Matthew

Andrew, Kathleen, Conor, Clare, and Matthew Jodka

By Eileen Puzo, with Clare, Andrew, Conor and Matthew Jodka
In preparation for the fourth annual Mad Love Music Festival, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) invited some very special guest authors to write this week’s Conservatory Notes article. They are excited to tell you all about Mad Love, which takes place at SSC on Sunday, October 7. And they should know! They helped start it all…

Hello! We are the Jodka kids. Our names are Clare, Andrew, Conor, and Matthew, and we want to tell you about Mad Love. We started Mad Love because our dad, Dave Jodka died from sinus cancer. He loved music and he loved his family. He was in multiple bands and he could play multiple instruments.  In memory of him, we created the Mad Love Music Festival. Mad Love is a music festival to celebrate the life of our dad. Mad Love is fun for all ages with activities for everyone! There will be live bands, food trucks, lots of merchandise, fun activities for kids, and more!

“My favorite part of Mad Love is the food trucks because I like the Galley’s french fries!” says Conor (8).

“My favorite part of Mad Love is seeing the people we know and love because it is always fun to see people we haven’t seen in a while!” Andrew (10) says.

“My favorite part of Mad Love is the music and the games because the games are fun and the music is fun to listen to! I also like meeting the bands!” says Matthew (7).

“My favorite part of Mad Love is seeing friends and family and meeting up with them to take pictures, play games, dance to music, get snacks, or even merchandise!” says Clare (12).

Mad Love is an incredible opportunity to see where your money goes and how it is put to good use. In fact, all the money we earn from tickets and merchandise will be put into a scholarship called The Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers. This scholarship creates a rock band of high school students who get to learn through South Shore Conservatory. This band we created is called Toast. It is an awesome opportunity for them to meet new people and experience something they have never experienced before.

We like to rock out, just like our dad.  Andrew plays drums and trombone, and Clare plays the piano. Maybe someday we will even be part of Toast (the SSC rock band that Mad Love Music Festival supports)!

We believe Mad Love is more than just a music festival. It is a reminder to be grateful every day and live with gratitude, just like our dad. Tickets are now on sale! Don’t miss out! To buy your tickets or learn more information, got to . We hope to see you there!

So take it from the Jodkas! Mad Love is where you want to be on October 7. This great-for-all-ages day features performances from SSC’s Future Rockers Toast, as well as Carissa Johnson and the Cure-Alls, The Silks, These Wild Plains, the Aldous Collins Band, and Pressure Cooker. With food trucks from Wahlburgers, Hank’s Clam Shack, Sadie Mae’s, Nona’s, and Drank, lawn games and a kid zone, it’s a great day for rockers of all ages.

South Shore Conservatory’s Mad Love Music Festival is Sunday, October 7, from 11am to 5 pm at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham.  Tickets may be purchased at

Eileen Puzo is SSC’s Community Engagement Manager. A Hingham resident, she has been involved with Mad Love Music Festival from its inception.

Sunday’s Big Band Concert

Aretha Franklin Remembering the Queen of Soul_1535720609203.png_96189498_ver1.0_640_480Did you know that Sunday’s JRP Series Kick-off Concert not only features big band music, it also features a tribute to Aretha Franklin.  A versatile vocalist primarily known for her gospel and Motown contributions, Aretha performed beautiful renditions of jazz ballads and standards from the big band era.  Be prepared for a fabulous rendition of Natural Woman, one of the iconic tunes for which she is best remembered.

Tickets for the September 23 afternoon concert, as well as the Sunday Jazz Brunch are still on sale at  One Conservatory Drive, Hingham, MA 02043.


Goodbye Herb Fulton

Herb Fulton
We were sad to learn that Herb Fulton, a major player in South Shore Conservatory’s Hingham campus renovation in the mid-1970s, passed away earlier this month.  With Herb’s efforts,  and the efforts of those at Lester R. Fulton & Son, general contractors, we were able to create a thriving community school for the arts from a rundown, WWII Commandant’s quarters.  His name came up in the news a few months ago when he discovered and donated his old Quincy Patriot Ledger paperboy bag, from back in the 1950s.  The Ledger, in turn, donated it to the Quincy Historical Society.

Thank you Herb for your contribution to South Shore Conservatory!

Big band music kicks off Jazz/Rock/Pop Series

Ed Sorrentino CAWB.JPG

By Ed Sorrentino
Oxymorons.  You hear them everywhere.  Phrases such as “awfully good,” “seriously funny,” or “original copies” just roll off people’s tongues.   Well, here’s a new one for you – little big band.

Some of you may be familiar with music from popular big bands of the 30s and 40s, conducted by bandleaders such as Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller.  Traditional big bands usually had upwards toward 20 plus musicians, with six saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, guitar, bass, piano, drums, plus male and female vocalists.  This unique makeup created a real danceable, full-bodied sound.

So, what’s a “little” big band?  It’s a smaller ensemble, fewer than ten musicians, playing music designed to create a fuller sound than one would expect from this smaller formation.  The music is fun and lively, and it’s the music our Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) department at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) will be presenting at our September 23 JRP Series Kick-off Concert.

Big band songs are familiar to all of us, and are often heard nowadays at all types of events.  One of the most recognizable tunes from this era is In the Mood, which composed by Joe Garland, although it’s always been associated with Glenn Miller who arranged this for his big band.  It quickly became, and continues to be, one on the most popular songs from the 1930s.

Back in the late 70s/early 80s, I performed with the big band Swing Shift, led by the great reed player and Artie Shaw Band leader, Dick Johnson.  It was here that I met some of the greatest jazz musicians in New England, among them, jazz trombonist Alan Cron who is now Rockland Superintendent of Schools.  Remembering what an amazing player Alan was, I invited him to join us for this kick-off concert, then thought about inviting other local music educators.  Performing together in concert would be a fantastic way to celebrate and recognize excellent area music educator/performers. I’d hoped to develop an arts-based collaborative culture, musician to musician, educator to educator, where we can perform together and share advice.  We don’t currently have an SSC big band program, but who knows where this could go?

As a big band drummer, I am often referred to as the “driver of the bus.”  Everything, timewise depends upon the drummer.  Big band music follows a very specific “road map,” a.k.a. written compositions and arrangements.  This type of playing is a real exciting challenge!  Even though the music is more prescribed than in-the-moment, it still allows for a fair amount of improvisation, and requires knowledge of the big band repertoire.  Every arrangement of the songs chosen for this concert has space for improvised solos.

This kick-off concert will not include only instrumental arrangements.  Voice Department Chair Emily Browder-Melville will be singing the famous 1924 George Gershwin tune Fascinating Rhythm. There may even be a nod to versatile vocalist Aretha Franklin, primarily known for her gospel and Motown contributions, but who performed beautiful renditions of jazz ballads and standards from the big band era.

Anyone who loves exciting, popular music is invited to join South Shore Conservatory as they present their JRP Series Kick-off Concert on Sunday, September 23, 1 pm in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at One Conservatory Drive.  Prior to the concert, the JRP department presents a fabulous jazz brunch.  For more information and tickets, visit or call 781-421-6162, x204.

Percussionist Ed Sorrentino is chair of South Shore Conservatory’s Jazz/Rock/Pop department.

Why We Love Singing American Songbook Classics

Dianne Legro teaching shotBy Dianne Legro
Patti Abate of WATD summed it up perfectly during our interview on her My Generation show, as we talked about my American Songbook class at South Shore Conservatory (SSC). “It’s all about having fun, keeping yourself engaged with something you love or always wanted to try, and continuing to grow at any age!” she said.

Whenever I connect with people who are learning something new or practicing something they love, I am uplifted and inspired by the sparkle and light that shines from their eyes. It is especially inspiring to get to know and work with American Songbook students as they explore, grow, try a new song, or perfect one they know.  I just love sharing in the joy and fun they experience in this process.  Last year we had so many laughs and shared successes each week that I can hardly wait to start the next Songbook class on September 19 at 6 pm. The eight-week class meets on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 pm, and I invite anyone who has a love of singing to join us!

Those who join the class can expect a true masterclass setting where each singer is coached, one to one, by our accompanist – the wonderful Mark Goodman – and me in front of the other students. This method allows student singers learn from each other and enjoy mutual praise, encouragement and support.  Those with particular songs already in mind are encouraged to bring them in, so that we might find the right key for their success. I also suggest and provide songs from music I know will be a good fit for the student’s voice.

American Songbook repertoire has something for everyone. These beloved songs have the effect of engaging deep feelings, memories and sentiments on both the audience and the performer.  Up tempo or slow ballad, they run the gamut of love (lost, found or searching for) and other topics with humor, wit playfulness and elegance.

American Songbook students have shared many anecdotes about the benefits of participation in this class.  One student wanted to share how much the breathing exercises for singing he learned had helped him improve a lifelong health issue in his lungs. He is absolutely thrilled with the measurable improvement. Another student, new to singing, joined the class because it was on his bucket list. “Well, why wait, there’s no time like now!” he said.  In addition to having fun, he is feeling like a confident singer and thoroughly enjoyed singing in two of our recitals! A former Navy officer, he generously compared the class with the best training he had ever experienced in his career of high level trainings and he expressed his appreciation for the excellence in teaching he receives in class.  Another student shared that when she sings she forgets “the slings and arrows of outrageous aging.  And the joy! Oh the joy!!”

Mark Goodman recently commented to a fellow colleague, “As the semester went on I saw progress from all the singers in the class in terms of vocal ability and confidence. Dianne is equally comfortable working with students of all ages.”

Those interested in keeping themselves engaged because they love singing or it’s something they’ve always wanted to try, are strongly encouraged to join us this fall. Visit for complete information on registration, schedule and pricing, or call 781-749-7565, x10. South Shore Conservatory is located at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.

Dianne Legro teaches American Songbook at South Shore Conservatory. She is an award-winning soprano who sings classical, Broadway and American Songbook classics.

Increasing abilities with Yoga for the Special Child®

SoniaBy Annie Ryan
On Saturday mornings, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) holds Yoga for the Special Child®. This Creative Arts Therapy class is provided for children like my son, James Ryan.

James is a five-year-old who loves listening to Frank Sinatra Radio on Sundays, being outside, his cousins, and school. He is a tall and very slender boy who has various medical diagnoses. He lives his life with Cerebral Palsy, a gastrointestinal tube (Gtube) for nutritional intake, and Cortical Vision Impairment. He also has a variety of medical complications. These diagnoses started directly at birth when James had an Inventricular Hemorrhage, causing a major blood clot in his brain. He is a quadriplegic and does not walk or sit up on his own. He has a wheelchair, gait trainer walker, hospital bed, body brace, eye patch, foot braces, and hand braces.  Upon meeting James and seeing his obvious physical disabilities, you will then see his contagious smile, and notice how happy he is with life. This happiness grows with the time spent in SSC’s Yoga for the Special Child® (YSC).

We were introduced to yoga teacher Gita Brown and her Yoga for the Special Child® program during a summer camp with the Fragile Footprints program of which James is a member. This program, available through Cranberry Hospice, provides family support, child life care, community resources, and more. James took part in Gita’s session during this camp and enjoyed it. Noticing his interest during the session, Gita informed us that accessible yoga classes are available through South Shore Conservatory. Seeing James so happy with and interest in yoga, we signed him up right away. He had an initial meeting with Gita, and let us know, through his excited body language, that he wanted to continue with yoga. Prior to meeting Gita, James had only experienced early intervention therapies. He has been enrolled in YSC for over a year now, and it’s an activity James looks forward to every Saturday.

When we first met with Gita and added this extracurricular activity to his typical therapies, our goal was for James to gain physical strength, but we’ve noticed so many more benefits. For example, where it was not possible before, he can now blow his nose; and when upset or ill, he now can take better breaths to give himself appropriate oxygen and calmness to heal. James has gained strength in motor ability. With Cerebral Palsy his muscles are always at work, even when sleeping. Practicing yoga gives his body the perfect stretch to his muscles in a relaxing environment. He has gained the ability to lift and hold his head up better, strength to hold himself in a supported sitting position, and is beginning to lift his legs and hold his head up more while doing tummy time on the floor. Practicing yoga has also helped his internal organs. James has small kidneys and a cyst on one of them, constipation complications, acid reflex, complications eating by mouth, and more. Yoga helps give a boost to his blood flow, teaching his body’s organs to work appropriately, and teaching his brain to send appropriate messages to his body.  While yoga has done amazing things for James in these last two years, I look forward to seeing even more surprising benefits in his yoga future.

At SSC’s Yoga for the Special Child® training last summer, James was used as a ‘model’ student. Sitting and watching him, I was blown away at the positions he can get into. I wouldn’t have thought a child with his disability could do such a thing. YSC has been wonderful for James. He has also met children with special needs who see Gita before and after his own session. If you have a child with any type of special needs, or know a child with special needs, have them meet Gita. Yoga provides an experience of strength, healing, relaxation, fun, and self-awareness. James will forever have a love for Gita and yoga. As a parent, I will forever be thankful to South Shore Conservatory for providing this amazing yoga class for my son.

Learn more about SSC’s Yoga for the Special Child at

At home with the ukulele


By Karen Hughes
What makes a person want to play an instrument?  One suggestion from Itzhak Perlman, “They like the sound they hear in their head.”  Once I heard the laughing sound of the ukulele, I knew I wanted this instrument as part of my life.  A timely article in the Hingham Journal highlighting the formation of a ukulele group was the invitation that opened the door to a whole new experience. The Hingham Senior Center and South Shore Conservatory (SSC) were partnering to provide ukulele enthusiasts an opportunity to learn from the best and in our community.

I had never played a string instrument, or with a group, so the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at the Senior Center (a senior-me?) was the first clue that I had found a new musical home.  We all came from various musical backgrounds.  Whether classically trained, a band musician, or a novice on any instrument, we were soon all concentrating on coordinating our fingers and strumming the sound we believed we could eventually make.

Our gifted and delightful teacher, SSC guitar faculty member Julie Morgan, carried us along in this belief, even when at times it didn’t look or sound too promising.  Julie’s enthusiastic appreciation for diversity, in people, music and learning styles, kept us laughing and playing the hard parts…just one more time.  We found ourselves exploring, stretching and celebrating our new skills. We had to toughen up tender fingers.  We shared information on the best tuners, how to use them.  If help was needed, where were the good music stores with ukulele information?

Forming a community around making music has a completely different focus than any other kind of social group.  We never have to get it all right all the time.  We can enjoy trying on different musical genres, and yes, there is a “little bit of country and a little bit of rock and roll” in all of us.  We sing with enthusiasm if not perfection. We have different strengths, and that makes the music we play more than the sum of our parts. And in busy lives, it’s good to know that having had time to practice or not, we are encouraged by each other and never leave a class without having discovered something new.

And there is magic.  Suddenly one of our accomplished members surprises us with his harmonica; smiles all around, and we suddenly understand why it’s called “playing” together.  There is strumming Happy Birthday to a loved one.  There are unexpected requests from grandchildren for their own ukulele, and then the inevitable, “Can you teach me, Grammie?”  Yes, there is magic.

Here are some other remarks from my fellow ukulele club members:

“Bliss, forgetting everything else in my life exists playing and singing along”
“Always wanted to play the guitar, and this class has given me the confidence to try”
“The group gives me permission to sing – even though everyone knows I can’t!”

We are the “Grand Ukes,” and if you like the sound of all this, come on along.

South Shore Conservatory offers a three-session beginner class on Tuesdays,
September 11, 18, and 25 from 11:15 am – 12:15 pm at the Hingham Senior Center, 224 Central Street.  The Grand Ukes start up their new session, welcoming new members and old, on October 6.  To sign up for the fun, contact Barbara Farnsworth at the Hingham Senior Center, 781-741-1458.

Creating a safe environment for vocal exploration

YouthChorus_FallConcert_0039By Peter Mundt
I believe I was in late elementary school when I discovered The Beatles among my parents record collection. It was life-changing.  This music was drastically different from the type of music I was hearing in school, and I just couldn’t get enough of it.  Before long I found myself wanting to do more than just listen to the music.  I wanted to play it.  So, I picked up my mother’s guitar and never looked back.

My teenage years were spent playing in garage bands and going out to hear live original music performed by other groups in the Binghamton/Ithaca area, which had a vibrant local music scene, of which I was happy to be a part.  Unfortunately, at the same time, music I was learning in school seemed boring and disconnected from the joy I was experiencing with making music.  I hoped to change this someday.

With this history, how ironic is it that I ended up becoming an elementary school general music/chorus teacher in a public school system? Now teaching in the Scituate school system, I have experienced great success in engaging my students. No boring music for my students! I attribute much of my success as an educator to the effort I make to not repeat the way music was presented to me in school.

My teaching philosophy is that there is a fun way to teach just about anything!  Kids deserve to be taught real music – from folk, jazz, rock, blues and classical repertoire.  I find that many of the songs and chorale arrangements written for young people are so uninspiring that they turn kids off.  This is why I dedicate so much time listening to music and arranging it myself.  I want all my students in Scituate and in South Shore Conservatory’s SSC Youth Chorus, which I conduct, to love what they’re singing. This year, the chorus sang familiar tunes such as ‘Viva La Vida,’ ‘Joy to the World,’ ‘Summer Breeze,’ ‘Happy,’ Walking in the Air,’ and ‘Don’t Stop Believin,’’ and they loved it.

In addition to fun music, I also enjoy providing my students with musical challenges.  I’m happiest when my students are excited about what they are working on, even to the point where they may feel a bit nervous.  Often their voice trembles as they step out of their comfort zone for the first time, but I can feel their excitement and know we’re in new, fertile territory.  It may be when students lock into a new harmony or sing a solo.  They experience an indescribable joy from this new awareness, which requires persistence, risk, and prior failed attempts.  It changes everybody forever!

Chorus can do this, and it’s the main reason I teach. In South Shore Conservatory Youth Chorus (SSCYC), students throughout the South Shore have the opportunity to thrive in a safe environment with other students who love to sing.  They learn the fundamentals of proper vocal production and singing in harmony.   They are encouraged to try out solo opportunities and special performance collaborations with other SSC departments (such as singing with the SSC Youth Orchestra).  It is my hope that students feel safe enough to step outside their comfort zone and come away loving to sing even more than they thought imaginable!

South Shore Conservatory invites singers in grades three through six, who are interested in learning more about SSC Youth Chorus, to participate in the chorus’s first rehearsal, an open rehearsal/pizza party on Monday, September 10, from 5 to 6 pm at SSC’s Duxbury campus at 64 St. George Street in Duxbury. To learn more about SSC Youth Chorus, visit

SSC Youth Chorus conductor Peter Mundt has been with South Shore Conservatory since 2017.