Advocating for the arts

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Here at SSC, we clearly see huge value in the arts.  We watch in amazement as our students – all ages and all abilities – come to life when they participate in music, dance and drama.  We marvel at the unique ways they tell their individual stories, using the arts as their paintbrush. We are working hard to make sure everyone continues has this opportunity.

On Arts Matter Day, Friday, October 28, South Shore Conservatory, along with hundreds of other Massachusetts creative community organizations, celebrates the arts and culture online, advocating for our legislators to recognize the value of the arts and support the arts in their communities. Not only are the arts are an integral part of what makes us human; they help define our humanity and provide a structure for understanding, they drive the economy, enhance education, build community and embrace diversity and inclusion.

So, check out South Shore Conservatory on Facebook and Twitter as the SSC community (students, faculty, staff) tells the world why the arts matter to them.  Or, stop by one of our campuses and share why the arts matter to you!

 

 

It Takes a Musical Village

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By Su D’Ambrosio

Last week I attended the Massachusetts Music Educators Southeast District meeting. As I looked around the room it occurred to me that the South Shore is blessed with many dedicated educators who work hard to build and maintain strong music programs in our public schools. There was a mix of familiar faces and new teachers, with chorus, band, orchestra, jazz band and general music represented.  We reviewed plans for our upcoming Junior and Senior festivals, which bring students together from all over the South Shore for a weekend of rehearsal and performance.  In order to participate, students must audition.

Last year over 1000 students auditioned for each festival.  Just over 400 were accepted at each level. The competition is strong and students often feel the pressure at their audition. To prepare, students spend hours at school working with their band, chorus, orchestra and jazz band teachers. Many also study with a private teacher who helps them in their weekly lessons. In addition, some students participate in groups or classes outside their school, such as South Shore Conservatory’s Bay Youth Symphony (BaYS), chamber music or Mezzo Voice Class. The most successful students are those who had strong music education experiences before they even touched an instrument or joined a chorus. Elementary general music teachers set the foundation for all of the learning that takes place later, by helping students understand rhythm, tonality, musical form and reading music notation.  Teachers at all levels of a student’s musical journey contribute to their success in the audition room.

Through my own children, I have had the great privilege of observing this process firsthand. They both participated in Junior and Senior District ensembles as well as the All-State Festival. My daughter Maria was accepted into the All-National Honor Band. Both were immersed in music as babies and had the great fortune of having excellent music teachers (too many to list!) at all levels of school.  Suffice it to say that between my two girls, there have been eight public school music educators, nine private teachers on four different instruments, and fourteen group instruction teachers and conductors.  Their success in the audition room was the result of this talented village of music and arts educators. This musical village was also responsible for shepherding my daughter Maria along the path that led to The Boston Conservatory.

At South Shore Conservatory, with private instruction, group classes and small and large ensembles, we are honored to be part of so many students’ journeys through the arts. On October 30, from 12-3 pm, we are hosting a free Festival Audition Workshop at our Hingham campus to help prepare students for their Junior and Senior District festival auditions. This event is open to any student on the South Shore.  During this workshop, students have an opportunity to play their audition pieces for faculty and receive valuable feedback to help them do their best on audition day.  We are proud to be part of the outstanding village of music educators that support young musicians in our communities.

South Shore Conservatory’s Festival Audition Workshop is free to SSC and non-SSC students by reservation.  Students interested in reserving a spot, should call 781-749-7565, ext. 10 before October 26. For more information, visit http://sscmusic.org/festival_audition_workshop.html.

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 wants to thank Lisa at PetSmart for shepherding him on his journey through doggie obedience school.

Celebrating an outstanding commitment to music

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By Elaine Sorrentino
One of my favorite parts of the summer is during the final Summer Music Festival (SMF) performance in July, when our conductors celebrate the outstanding musicianship, leadership and dedication of our students. After two weeks of rehearsals, and with so many talented and ambitious young musicians, selecting only one or two students who stand out in a large ensemble is a difficult task.  Each conductor looks for qualities such as playing collaboratively and confidently, having respect for fellow musicians, and acting as a role model for others.

As I sit in the audience, hankie in hand, these surprised (and probably nervous) students come up to receive their awards.  Most of them receive scholarships toward next year’s Summer Music Festival program.  But only one deserving recipient receives the Malcolm W. Rowell Music Education Scholarship awarded to a college-bound music education student.  This special scholarship was established in honor of Rowell who served as Summer Music Festival Music Director for over 21 years.

This summer’s deserving recipient of the Rowell Scholarship was horn player Erin Jenkins of Hanover.  Erin, who also plays clarinet and saxophone, has participated in Summer Music Festival (SMF) since tenth grade, and started at UMass at Amherst as a music major this fall.

Erin’s impressive music resume extends far beyond her experience here at South Shore Conservatory. Over her high school years she played principal horn and principal clarinet in Hanover High School’s (HHS) Symphonic Band, first tenor saxophone in HHS’s jazz ensemble, and was the drum major for the Pride of Hanover Marching Band.   In addition, she was accepted into SEMSBA in 2016 and 2013, and scored 5 on her Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory test.  Clearly music has had a profound impact on Erin’s life.

“My main goal and inspiration is to be able to share with others the effect that studying, creating, practicing, and performing music has had on my life. A mix of all of the musical experiences that I have been fortunate enough to take part in have all had powerful impacts in the way that I perceive, practice, perform, and share music (especially Summer Music Festival),” Erin wrote in her scholarship essay.

According to SMF Music Director Eric Laprade, she was selected because “Erin epitomizes the Summer Music Festival spirit.  During her three years as a student at SMF she has shown herself to be a creative, dedicated, articulate and inspiring individual.  She has contributed immensely to the Summer Music Festival culture and we are excited by her potential as a future music educator.”

Erin is very excited at the prospect of continuing her music training at UMass Amherst, a university with a great reputation for music education.  “I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of the horn studio at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. UMass has been my dream school for many years. I am excited to further my education and knowledge of the arts, and to get as many people as possible excited about music as I can.”

To learn more about South Shore Conservatory programs and scholarships, visit sscmusic.org.

Elaine Sorrentino is South Shore Conservatory’s Communications Director.

 

Satisfy the thespian in your teen!

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Do you have a teen thespian or teen comedian in your house? Have them join us at our Hingham campus this weekend (Saturday, October 15) and next weekend (Saturday, October 22) for free trial classes of Saturday Stage Club (ages 12-14) and Teen Improv Comedy (ages 15+).

Saturday Stage Club, which runs 9:30 – 11:30 am,  brings together students who have a passion for the stage. Students work as a team to create a unified idea out of many voices through character deep-dives, improvisation, writing and design.

Teen Improv Comedy, from 12-2 pm, is brand new this year.  We are so excited! It teaches the dynamics of improvisational comedy. Focusing on teamwork, collaboration and the freedom of saying yes, this class helps individuals build new skills through classic improv games, exercises and scene work.  Participants learn how to think on their feet and create rich worlds and characters from nothing at all.  Most of all, participants will have fun learning to trust themselves and their peers as they explore this burgeoning art form.

Full class info is at http://sscmusic.org/drama.html.

Meet our new faculty members in concert

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By Jesse Stiglich

All throughout our towns we see that fall has arrived and summer has slowly backed into the rearview mirror. As I drive to work at South Shore Conservatory, I observe the leaves on the trees slowly start to turn from green to vibrant red, orange and yellow.  It’s noticeable just how different each of these leaves truly are, just by their colors. Their change in appearance and introduction to our landscape and environment offers us a chance to explore each leaf’s identity and uniqueness.

With this new academic year, we are introduced to many new faces.  One of the newer members of SSC’s faculty, I’ve already met many new students as they entered my percussion studio for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  Each one was unique, just as every new faculty member is unique.  I am eager to learn more about my fellow educator/musicians and will have the opportunity to do so and to share my own story and musical style at this year’s SSC Debuts concert, which features our newest faculty members.

Much like the freshness and change that the autumn leaves provide, so too do SSC’s new faculty members. Each performer in the concert offers their own unique taste in music. With each piece of music played during the fall Sunday afternoon, the audience is allowed a chance to not only explore the music’s art and melodic concepts, but also delve into experiencing the personalities of each of our newest faculty.

The program for SSC Debuts features a vast variety of musical selections. It ranges from vocal music from the repertoire of Schubert and Faure, to classical trumpet, French horn, violin and piano, to a fun marimba solo by Eric Sammut, which is what I am performing. The talented faculty performers tasked with turning these pieces of music and mixed program into a stellar afternoon include Devin Morin, baritone, Christine Hedden, fiddle, Robert Marlatt, French horn, Siu Yan Luk, piano, Emily Hale, violin, Allyson Lynch, soprano and Andrew Moreschi, trumpet.

The freshness of these new faces accompanied by the recent change of seasons will provide a new sparkle to the SSC community as a whole. With all of the solo pieces taking place that afternoon, the audience will get a chance really connect with these new faces individually.  SSC Debuts provides a terrific chance for the musicians to connect with many of the people that make up the South Shore Conservatory community. With such talented, fresh musicians entering the fold, accompanied by a program with something for everyone’s tastes, the SSC Debuts concert is one that cannot be missed this fall.

South Shore Conservatory presents SSC Debuts, the first of five Conservatory Concert Series (CCS) concerts on Sunday, October 16, 4 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.   The concert is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited, so I suggest you arrive 30 minutes prior to the performance in order to guarantee yourself a seat in the concert hall.  Following the concert, the audience is invited to join the performers for a reception in the lobby.  Be sure to come up and say hello!

For more information, visit sscmusic.org or call 781-749-7565, ext. 20.

Percussionist Jesse Stiglich teaches private lessons and Time Train, for students 6-8, at South Shore Conservatory’s Hingham and Duxbury campuses.