Share the Mad Love!

By Eileen Puzo
Most of the times in life that I can look back on and think “THAT was awesome” are one-offs. Weddings, birthdays, special events. There’s one time, however, that I get to repeat this year: Mad Love. I think you should be there, too.

The Dave Jodka Mad Love Music Festival is an annual day of great live music, delicious local food and drink, community and positivity, all in celebration of the life of my friend Dave. Dave loved all of these things, but more than anything, he loved his family and friends. So many of them have come together to create Mad Love. Last year, the event sold out in advance with over 750 guests. They came from Hingham, Scituate, the Cape, Norwood, New Jersey, Chicago, Florida, D.C., California and more. It is that much of a good thing.

So I want you to be there, too! I want you to listen to one of the awesome live bands who will play. I want you to hit up the food truck from Galley in Scituate, and sip a cider or get a sausage from The Sausage Guy. I want your kids to have the time of their lives in the Kid Zone while you play a game of Mad Love branded corn hole. I want you to witness firsthand the very real and palpable love that Dave Jodka inspired. When something is this good, you want to share it. I promise you will walk away feeling like you have been a part of something awesome. And you have!

Mad Love was born out of inspiring grace in the face of tremendous loss. Some of you know the story. Dave Jodka, a Scituate father of four, husband to Kathleen, and so much to so many others, lost a year-long furious battle to rare cancer at the age of 44 in October of 2014. I think the word the British use to describe this feeling of loss and devastation is “gutted.” And yet, in the face of this, Kathleen and the kids thought about what Dave loved and how to honor his memory. And Dave loved music.

Throughout his brilliant life, Dave performed in bands. He talked about being a teenager and just knowing that his band could have been a smash if they’d just had the resources…someone to coach them in everything from branding to marketing to creating an engaging performance.

With this in mind, Dave’s family introduced Mad Love as a way to establish a scholarship in his name at South Shore Conservatory to enable students of all backgrounds to experience the same love of music that Dave inspired. These students work weekly with a coach who is a professional rocker, get a first-class education in marketing, and train alongside specialists in their instruments. I am absolutely delighted to announce that Toast, the first recipients of the Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers, will make their debut at this year’s Mad Love, on the same stage as internationally touring bands. Dave would be psyched.

I’d invite you to mark your calendars for October 9, 2016 from 11 am – 5 pm for Mad Love, but given the speed with which it sold out last year, I think you’d better buy your tickets first and mark your calendar after! Come be a part of an amazing day! Share the Mad Love.

Tickets to the Mad Love Music Festival may be purchased at  South Shore Conservatory is located at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.

Hingham resident Eileen Puzo is not only a huge Dave Jodka fan, she is also South Shore Conservatory’s Director of Annual Giving.




Take a musical coffee break with us this Tuesday!

Who doesn’t love listening music from the movies?  Many of us can identify the tune after only hearing the first couple of notes, and as the song plays on we remember exactly what was going on  in the movie as the song was played.  Can’t you just see those Von Trapp children making their way up the grand staircase as they sing So Long, Farewell, or see Kevin Bacon dancing when you hear Footloose?  This music transports us to another place.

If you’d like to take a break from your ordinary day and be transported to a happy place for an hour or so, please take a musical coffee break with us this Tuesday, September 27, 11 am at our Duxbury campus, as we present Music From the Movies, the first of six Coffee Break Concert Series performances.  The concert is FREE and features SSC faculty performers violinist Amanda Roberts, pianist Sarah Troxler and vocalist Holly Marshall. We guarantee you’ll leave humming a happy tune!

Come enjoy great music while you sip your coffee/tea and breakfast treats. Call 781-934-2731, ext. 21 to reserve your spot.

Let the arts give you goosebumps!


By Anne Smith
You know that feeling when you experience something powerful – something beautiful – and the hairs on your arms stand up?  When your heart races a little and your throat closes and suddenly there are tears rolling down your cheeks?  Scientists call it “frisson.”  It happens to me all the time with music.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, google Barber’s Adagio for Strings.  Within 30 seconds, you will have goosebumps.  I promise.

Back in February, I was standing on risers, performing the Berlioz Te Deum with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.  I was new to the chorus and new to the experience of standing behind the Boston Symphony Orchestra (I’m an alto – and an amateur).  The horns and tympani and all those voices joined together in the common pursuit of beauty left me breathless and tearful and, somewhat inconveniently, momentarily unable to sing.  I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder how many people in the world are connected to something that brings them pure joy like this?  I am so lucky.”

When I was in college, dreaming about my adult self, it never occurred to me that my future would be so deeply tied to the arts.  Music was something my parents had encouraged, and something I did willingly.  It was part of me, but it certainly wasn’t going to be my career.  After graduation, there was a ten-year hiatus during which I got married, went to grad school and had three children. There didn’t seem to be much time left over for artistic pursuits.

It wasn’t until we moved to Duxbury and my oldest child started piano lessons at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) that music came back into my life.  Suddenly, there was a welcoming, inspiring community just down the street, where I could reengage with the music that made me so happy as a child.  I threw myself into it.  I sang with SSC’s Opera by the Bay.  I took weekly piano and voice lessons.  I joined a community chorus.  Those things fed me.  When my husband and I divorced in 2009, there were many weeks when the first clear thought and deep breath occurred while I was standing in the middle of a chorus.  The act of surrendering to the music and living fully in the moment allowed me to leave behind the sadness and fear, and experience peace and brief moments of joy.

Music and the arts connect us with history.  They envelop us in beauty. They offer respite from troubled times. I see this in my own life every day, but it’s not just me.  A growing wealth of data shows that participation in the arts is of great benefit to adults, especially those over 60.  The arts stimulate the brain, improve memory and hearing, reduce stress, and have a positive impact on mental and physical health as well as social relationships.

This fall, SSC launches it Arts for a Creative Life initiative, a full suite of arts experiences – concerts, group classes, private lessons, and performance opportunities – designed to challenge adult minds, stimulate creativity and build vibrant social connections.  Back in my 20’s, I wouldn’t have called myself a musician.  Now, in my 40’s, I work full time for a community school for the arts.  I get paid as a church soloist and section leader.  I perform with one of the most decorated choruses in the country. I often feel that singing puts me in touch with the best, truest version of myself.  All of us have access to this path through the arts, and SSC can lead the way.  Won’t you join us on the journey?

SSC’s Arts for a Creative Life kicks off its adult learning initiative with a week of free classes and performances from Tuesday, September 27 – Sunday, October 2. Please join us. For a full schedule of free offerings, visit

Anne Smith is South Shore Conservatory’s Director of Community Partnerships.

September 25: A great day to celebrate our jazz/rock/pop musicians

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For three years SSC’s jazz/rock/pop educator/musicians have wowed audiences when they perform their varied styles of music.  Jazz, rock, pop, blues, Latin music are not necessarily styles that come to mind immediately when you think of a Conservatory.  Perhaps that’s why Hingham Jazz Festival has a faithful following.

This year’s festival is a one-day event starting with a jazz brunch from 11 am – 1 pm on the stage of the Carr Amphitheater, followed by performances throughout the campus.  The day ends with a tribute to many of the ground-breaking musicians who passed within the past year, and whose music has stood the test of time.

Join us on Sunday, September 25 at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham.  It is recommended that you purchase your tickets to the brunch in advance to guarantee you a seat and a serving of great food and great jazz.

Tickets at


Fall is the New Spring!


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Try out a new instrument at Sunday’s     Explore the Arts Open House

By Su D’Ambrosio
When you think of fall, I imagine some people think of trees bursting into brilliant flames of color before shedding their leaves at the end of the season, as vibrant summer gardens and beautiful green lawns wilt and die in order to regenerate.  Fall is an ending that leads us to a quiet winter and the anticipation of new beginnings in the spring.

When I think if fall, I think only of beginnings. The beginning of a new school year brings the promise of new possibilities, new ideas, and new opportunities to learn and grow in new directions.  Students start the year with new clothes, new books and school supplies, and many will decide to try new things and participate in activities that might plant seeds that grow with them throughout their lives.

I recently performed with an orchestra hired by a woman to play, as her husband conducted, as a birthday gift.  Her husband had studied trumpet when he was young, and played in the school band. This experience planted a seed that grew into a desire to one day lead an orchestra as its conductor.  It took a lifetime, but through this gift her husband was able to realize his lifetime dream.  He took some conducting lessons and prepared for the moment he could stand in front of his orchestra and, with a wave of his arms, elicit beautiful sounds and eloquent music for his family and friends.  Watching this unfold from the clarinet section was like watching a beautiful flower blossom from bud to full bloom.

Hearing the story of how his passion for music started when he first learned trumpet as a child helped me realize the true power of the seeds we plant as arts educators.  It also reminded me that the arts transcend age and ability.  This man was not a “professional” musician yet he was able to conduct a movement of a Beethoven symphony with grace and passion.  What a powerful reminder that the arts live in all of us and all we need to do to find them is look.

At South Shore Conservatory (SSC) we are dedicated to providing access to quality education in the arts for all ages and abilities. At our Explore the Arts open house, on September 11 from 2-4 pm, you can visit either of our campuses to see all the wonderful ways that you can plant the seed of music, dance or drama that will grow with you or your child into the future.  We truly see this as an opportunity to explore and discover something new to try this year.

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 hopes to realize his puppyhood dream of starring as Sandy in the musical Annie.

Explore the arts with your family on September 11


This coming Sunday (September 11), grab your kids and check out a few breeds of rare instruments, take a hip hop class or play a little percussion, enjoy listening to a student rock band or try out a Suzuki violin, Piano FUNdamental class or Music Together – all for free at South Shore Conservatory.

We’re throwing open the doors to our Hingham and Duxbury campuses from 2 – 4 pm and inviting the public to come and explore the arts at their leisure.  Our incredible teaching artists are excited to meet the South Shore families to discover what type of creative outlet matches their personalities.   Are you a rock band family?  An orchestra family?  Do you like the tuba, oboe or harp?  Or are you more of a dance or drama family?  You can always check out our preschool/pre-k/kindergarten programs.  It’s all here for the exploring.

South Shore Conservatory’s Explore the Arts Open House for families with children from 0-18, is Sunday, September 11, from 2-4 pm  at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham and 64 St. George Street in Duxbury.  We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information, visit