By Su D’Ambrosio
As spring slowly makes its way to our community, bringing new beginnings for our gardens, trees and lawns, we are enjoying some new beginnings at South Shore Conservatory (SSC). Throughout the year we always have new students taking on an instrument or class for the first time and, like watching new plants sprout in your garden, it is gratifying to see the joy and sense of accomplishment that these students of all ages exhibit as they begin to sprout and grow as new musicians, dancers and actors. As roots of knowledge take hold through a strong foundation of education, sprouts emerge and ultimately blossom as students become new creative artists. Sometimes, we have the opportunity to observe a new faculty member begin to plant roots in our community. This spring we are happy to welcome Hingham Public School music educator Phaedre Sassano to our SSC family as she joins our faculty as conductor of our Bay Youth Symphony (BaYS) Symphony orchestra.
This process of integration is usually gradual as a new faculty member joins our team and starts building a studio. But Phaedre hit the ground running. Rehearsals began immediately after BaYS’ February 28 concert, and instantly our students started to benefit from her many years of experience as a musician and music educator. As an admired teacher in the Hingham Public Schools, Phaedre came to us with deep roots in the community. She worked to grow the Hingham string program in many ways, including establishing special ensemble opportunities for high school string players to perform for high school musical productions, and then extended this to middle school students for their musical production. The string program in Hingham has blossomed as a result of her commitment and expertise.
We are excited about the fresh ideas and energy that Phaedre brings to our youth orchestra program, which is the only one of its kind on the South Shore. One of the reasons we chose Phaedre for this position was that an important part of her teaching philosophy is to create community, which is very much in line with our mission here at SSC. Making meaningful connections with students is another main goal. This was apparent in her conducting audition with the group. When we saw her capture their attention immediately we knew she would be an effective teacher and leader. As she guides our students forward, we can already see new shoots and branches growing, and the great possibilities for expanding in new directions in the future. Students are rising to the challenge of new repertoire and the new perspective that Phaedre brings. Transitions can be tricky and scary for groups such as BaYS, and we are so happy to see this new beginning look like a metamorphosis. We can’t wait to see the beautiful butterfly emerge at their first concert!
Please plan to join us for our BaYS Spring Concert on May 1 at 3 pm at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center at 73 Alden Street, Duxbury, and hear for yourself. Auditions, for students interested in joining BaYS for the 2016-2017 season, are Tuesday, May 24, from 6-8 pm at SSC’s Duxbury campus; and Tuesday, June 7, 5-7 pm, at SSC’s Hingham campus at One Conservatory Drive. For more information on BaYS, visit http://www.sscmusic.org.
Su D’Ambrosio is Director of Programs and Curriculum for South Shore Conservatory. She lives in Plymouth with her daughters Maria and Rosa and her dog Bernie who is looking forward to the possibilities of digging up the fresh, new spring lawn!