By William S. Reardon
I grew up in a large family with a father who loved singing and played piano well. Dad would always accompany the family Christmas carol fests with grandparents and cousins and, of course, we’d rehearse before fest day. But it was washing dishes with siblings (no dishwasher!) that launched my choral singing life; we’d literally cover our ears so that we could carry our own part while other family members sang theirs. From there it was only logical that I took up choral singing with a conductor in Chapel Choir and Glee Club at Thayer Academy.
Once I was accepted at Harvard, I decided my principal extra-curricular activity would be singing four years with the Harvard Glee Club. In 1967, I was fortunate to join the Harvard/Radcliffe eleven-week, eight-country world choral tour with 88 other singers. We performed at Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia and Edinburgh, Scotland Music Festivals. Through that incredible experience I met my wife Kathy and we’ve been singing together ever since in some chorus wherever we have lived. Next April, a majority of that group will gather in Cambridge for a 50th reunion, where we will sing some of our original repertoire, hold a memorial service for lost members, and perform a new piece jointly with the current student singers. Harvard also has an alumni chorus that has now done nine ‘home and home’ exchange singing weeks with Kyoto University Glee Club Alumni in Tokyo/Kyoto, Japan and New York/Boston in the States, as well as special concert visits to Nagasaki and Pearl Harbor.
What has singing and music meant for me through over 50 years of performing? In my professional life I was a busy partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a large public accounting firm. They say that math and science mesh well with choral singing – something about the left brain/right brain split. But, for me, that one night of rehearsal each week was a total diversion from days filled with analyzing financial statement numbers, and worrying about that next new client. It is impossible to focus on choral singing – notes, rhythm, dynamics, language and blend – and worry about anything else in your life. Your brain is simply too busy processing all these different parts of the choral experience to focus on anything but the music in front of you.
After graduate school, before deciding what I would do in my work life, I took a series of aptitude tests with a Boston firm that advised you on career choices. They believed that, if you had strong aptitudes in music and related skills, your life would be ever so much happier if you found ways to involve as many of those strong aptitudes as possible in your work and play life. It then made sense that, in addition to singing with Kathy, I should seek out ways at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) to expand both my business and musical interests.
Over the last 45 years, my family has dedicated two memorial rooms at SSC for family members who equally embraced music in their lives. In 1982 I followed my dad, a founding member of the SSC Board of Directors and treasurer in its early days, joined the SSC Board and served as its treasurer for many years. I also served as president for one term. At this year’s Annual Meeting on November 16, I will step down from my board role, after 34 satisfying years, to allow others to share in SSC’s future.
But singing? That continues, of course!
To learn more about South Shore Conservatory programs, visit www.sscmusic.org or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.
South Shore Conservatory would like to thank Hingham resident Bill Reardon for his many years of financial guidance and for his friendship. He will always remain a dear part of our SSC family.