Performathon 2016 winning artist announced

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Heartiest congratulations to 10-year-old South Shore Conservatory pianist Grace Coughlin for creating the artwork for Performathon 2016.

The annual performathon marathon takes place at Barnes & Noble in Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham on Thursday, March 31 from 5-9 pm; Friday, April 1 from 4-9 pm; Saturday, April 2 from 9 am – 6 pm, and Sunday, April 3 from 12-5 pm.  Be sure to save the date!

Experience the power of music, art, and movement on Sunday, February 28

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Our Creative Arts Therapies (CAT) department hosts its first Accessible Arts Day Open House on Sunday, February 28, 2-4 pm at our 64 St. George Street, Duxbury location. We are very excited to showcase our music therapy, art therapy, and therapeutic yoga and movement programs.

SSC’s CAT therapists know that engagement in structured community-based arts programs has the power to increase feelings of wellbeing, while decreasing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and pain. This is a message we hope to send home with everyone who attends the open house. This information is especially helpful to health care professionals, individuals living with developmental delays, people facing critical illness or age-related changes and illness, and caregivers.

Every attendee will be invited to participate in 15-minute music, visual arts and yoga/movement activities which are accessible to all populations. Through these activities you’ll discover: how music therapy can improve communication, develop social skills, manage stress and reduce pain, express ideas and feelings, reinforce physical rehabilitation, and enhance memory; how art therapy can help individuals resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviors, and foster self-awareness; and how therapeutic yoga and movement can empower individuals to access an elevated levels of health, expand the breath, develop concentration, and deepen awareness of one’s self in time and space.

Our Creative Arts Therapies programs serve individuals of all ages, with therapy services at our Duxbury and Hingham campuses, in collaboration with our community partners throughout the South Shore, and in individual homes.

If you ‘d like more information, please contact Eve Montague, MSM, MT-BC, Director of Creative Arts Therapies at 781-934-2731, x20 or e.montague@sscmusic.org.

SSC’s Jazz Brunch: A Feast for the Senses

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By Bill Arvanites
From the Copley Plaza to the Parker House, from Paul’s Mall & the Jazz Workshop to Ryles, from bars and clubs in Cambridge, South Boston and Somerville, whose names have long since been forgotten, I was lucky enough to hear jazz musicians playing regularly. It was through my father that I first heard the music. He was a painter, and his studio was full of jazz records. Here I learned about Brubeck and Baker, Gerry Mulligan and Art Tatum, Getz and Gilberto. Like the music he loved, his art was improvisational. Moving from one to the other as if working out a math problem, all the while keeping the beat.

Jazz, in fact is my favorite “live” music. While I love rock & roll as well as music by the BSO, I find jazz even more familiar and accessible. For me it sits on that plane somewhere between something that seems so familiar, yet always on the verge of the unexpected. Lucky enough to see performances by Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald to name but a few, I find that the performances by our JRP faculty remind me of what I love about jazz.

On Sunday March 6, starting at 11 am, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) presents its second Jazz Brunch featuring a quartet comprised of SSC faculty from our Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) department.

Over the past five years SSC has expanded its offerings in JRP to now include an annual Hingham Jazz Festival, held in September, along with other performances scattered throughout the year that feature the multi-talented members of this department. During last year’s Festival, SSC added a Jazz Brunch, which was met with resounding success and requests for more like it. Rather than wait a whole year, we have decide to help get a jump start on spring, and offer a sampling of what is yet to come in September.

Unlike traditional Conservatory fare, the Jazz Brunch gives listeners an opportunity to hear just what these teaching artists can do, in a relaxed, informal atmosphere, plus offers a delicious, hearty brunch too. Friends and family members can sit together and chat, with soothing, soulful jazz playing in the background, or take a moment to sit and listen an eclectic mix of traditional and new jazz. As the members of the SSC community have discovered, these players offer a wide range of styles, covering well-known standards as well as original compositions.

SSC is fortunate to have so many talented teaching artists in this genre and here is an opportunity for all to experience what they are all about. And while it is often said, it bears repeating, that jazz is truly the “original American art form.”

South Shore Conservatory presents the first Hingham Jazz Festival 2016 preview event, a Jazz Brunch on Sunday, March 6, 11 am – 1 pm at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://sscmusic.org/hingham-jazz-festival.html or call Beth MacLeod Largent at 781-749-7565, ext. 20.

Jazz lover Bill Arvanites is South Shore Conservatory’s Vice President, Finance and Administration.

Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom

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By Meg Durkin
Here we are at 2016. Our modern society moves at a very fast pace. We are used to moving quickly, with many places to go and many things to accomplish in a day. How many short trips do you make in one day? How many times you check your email or text to stay connected to friends, family and professional life? All this busyness creates more opportunity for stress, and a busier, less quiet brain. When our brain is too busy we begin to feel stress, and stress has a negative effect on our lives.

What about our children? They don’t always have the tools to relieve themselves of the stress they feel from adults or within themselves. Many do not know how to channel these feelings without guidance. While they may not have huge responsibilities such as paying the mortgage or feeding a family every day, children do feel residual stress from adults. Children also feel stress when family dynamics change, such as a new baby or a divorce. Children feel stress when they watch violence on the television or in video games, or when they are overcommited with too many extracurricular activities. When a child feels stress, they have a harder time with decision-making, behavior, learning and memory.

What happens when more than one child in a classroom is experiencing stress? This is a recipe for disaster in the classroom and makes being an educator even harder in today’s world. Getting the children’s minds and bodies in a more peaceful place is essential to keeping order and smooth learning in a classroom.

The good news is that I have seen very effective ways to manage stress in the classroom. My favorite solution is to incorporate mindfulness and yoga into the curriculum. By integrating simple yoga and mindfulness techniques, such as breathing and movement into the class day, classroom teachers can create positive, peaceful, productive classrooms that support exceptional learning and a lifetime of health and wellness.
Over my years at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), I have seen children, who enter my yoga classroom all wound up, able calm their bodies and minds in just a few short moments with familiar and fun yoga poses and games. I know it’s all based on physiology, but it feels rather magical.

Educators, school counselors, physical education teachers, school nurses and administrators can learn these techniques at a Yoga 4 Classrooms® workshop geared for children in grade K-8. During this six-hour workshop they also learn to recognize the physiological and neurological signs of stress and imbalance in their students and themselves and learn to incorporate more than 60 simple, classroom-friendly yoga and mindfulness techniques into the class day.

Using all these techniques in my teaching, has improved classroom management, while addressing individual needs. And I’m not alone. SSC Preschool teacher Sandra Guimond shared this with me after taking the workshop, “Each morning at circle time, we do some deep breathing exercises and a few yoga poses before we begin our day. I have found that the children really enjoy this part of the morning. It immediately grounds them and helps them to focus. It has also helped spark their creativity!”

The workshop also helps teachers learn about the Yoga 4 Classrooms® card deck, which provides simple easy-to-follow instructions for each activity or sequence of yoga and mindfulness activities supported in the workshop. PDPs and/or CEUs from credentialing organizations (with approval), and Continuing Education Training Hours (CE’s) through Yoga Alliance may also be available.

SSC yoga instructor and licensed Yoga 4 Classroom® trainer Meg Durkin offers a professional development workshop for K-8 educators on Saturday March 5, from 9 am to 3 pm at South Shore Conservatory, 64 St. George Street, Duxbury. For more information or to register, visit http://www.yoga4classrooms.com.

Meg Durkin, founder of Yoga Magic for Children, has taught yoga at South Shore Conservatory since 2009. Her yoga instruction is part of SSC’s arts-integrated Preschool, PreK and Kindergarten curriculum.

Join us for Love Songs on Valentine’s Day

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Members of SSC’s voice department present Love Songs

If you missed yesterday’s Love Songs concert in Duxbury, you still have the opportunity to enjoy it on Valentine’s Day, the day devoted to love in all its intricacies.

Sponsored by Avis Goldstein for her beloved Hal, this beautiful concert features love songs from familiar musicals, from French composers such as Bizet, Poulenc and Jacques Brel, plus beautiful lute songs, and a lovely Liszt/Schumann solo piano piece.  The music is romantic and emotional, and very fitting for celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved one.

Please join South Shore Conservatory for Love Songs on Sunday, February 14, 4 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.   Admission is free.

Love Songs

Mark Leuning

By Mark Leuning
Arguably above all other art forms, music, and song in particular, succeeds at understanding and bringing to life love’s emotional landscape, that universally felt, sometimes intangible, but always powerful part of the journey through the human experience. It is fitting that South Shore Conservatory’s voice department chose to present their faculty concert in February, the month celebrating the universality of love.

When we decided to program a concert devoted to this theme, the only challenge was in fact how effortlessly one can select repertoire with love as a central idea. As a result, selections in this concert explore love in its many forms.

French music almost unintentionally is featured at the forefront of this concert, and yet it manages to avoid cliché images of a perfect Parisian romance. Bizet’s Habanera from Carmen presents love’s fiery, dangerous and sensual side, while Jacques Brel’s Ne me quitte pas, a contemporary popular French song, is a pleading, passionate ballad, begging a loved one to stay.

Poulenc’s Les chemins de l’amour, which liltingly explores both the wreckage and the beauty of a love lost, sounds like a catchy cabaret number, whose poignancy and playfulness produce a vague feeling of intrinsic familiarity, and Hahn’s A Chloris sheds light on a hopeful and stately kind of love, exploring a regal, yet almost painfully promising courtship. These two beautiful French selections are my contribution to this concert, and as an ardent admirer of the French mélodie repertoire, these two pieces in particular speak profoundly to my heart.

But, this is not by any means a concert of only French love songs. Gorgeous from The Apple Tree takes on unabashed self-love, and Someone to Watch Over Me is an endearing and innocent wish for safety, shelter, companionship and constancy. Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls hysterically plays with infatuation as a physical ailment, and Love Offerings is an English translation of an Indian poem delving into love’s spiritual potential, and the power of this emotion to be a kind of offering, one that breaks down the barrier between life and death.

We selected a set of lute songs composed by John Blow and John Dowland to round out the concert with beautiful evocations of love presented by a musical collaboration outside the traditional voice and piano duo. As they listen to pieces representing centuries-old repertoire, audience members will be struck by how relatively little our comprehension of love as a raw emotion has changed throughout history.

With group and solo selections, and Widmung, a Liszt/Schumann solo piano piece, our Love Songs concert tackles this fundamental artistic theme in a fittingly multi-dimensional presentation. Through this array of stellar faculty performers, our February concert is a must-see winter and Valentine’s season musical celebration.

South Shore Conservatory presents Love Songs, the fourth of six Conservatory Concert Series (CCS) concerts, on Sunday, February 7, 4 pm at 64 St. George Street, Duxbury, and again on Sunday, February 14, 4 pm at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham. This Valentine’s Day performance is sponsored by Avis Goldstein for her beloved Hal.

Conservatory Concert Series is sponsored in part by Boston Private. The public is invited to attend all CCS performances free of charge. To learn more about Love Songs and other Conservatory performances, visit sscmusic.org or find us on Facebook.

Tenor Mark Leuning has been a member of South Shore Conservatory’s voice department since 2014.