Why the arts matter to all

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By Elaine Sorrentino
For the third consecutive year, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) participated in MASSCreative’s Arts Matter Day to publicly express why the arts matter to us. Created as a vehicle for showing our legislators the importance of the arts to all populations, Arts Matter Day allowed us to crow about how the arts make a difference in our personal lives.

SSC was one of 640 participating arts and cultural organizations and individuals. Among the other organizations who joined us in posting photos and videos on social media were the Museum of Fine Arts, Longy School of Music, Artists for Humanity, Arts Boston and BosTix, Oliver Ames High School, the Clark Institute of Art, BU Arts Initiative, Boston Lyric Opera, Institute of Contemporary ARtBoston, and a host of others.  Parents, students, faculty and staff members took pen to paper, taking stock of their many reasons for needing the arts in their lives.

SSC moms were perhaps the most passionate about their love for the arts.  They see the difference the arts make to their children every day.  Music Together® moms wrote that the arts matter to them because they shape their children’s lives, and instill a sense of wonder in their children.  Preschool mom Lara Thompson said “the joy of singing and learning to play music last a lifetime.”  An active member of SSC’s Woman Song ensemble, Lara would know!

Other young moms chose less wordy responses to the question of how music makes them feel.  “ALIVE!”  and “like dancing” and “like breathing!” were all testaments to the power of the arts in helping us learn, express and be human.

At the Hingham Senior Center, our adult ukulele students proved that the benefits of the arts doesn’t stop at childhood.  As they posed for a picture, proudly displaying their ukuleles, these seniors shared that the arts matter to them because they give them great joy.  And this statement gave their instructor John McCarthy great joy!

Our Director of Performance Beth MacLeod Largent had the most unique and musical affirmation of the arts.  In her lovely, operatic voice, she crooned, “The #Arts Matter at SSC there is no doubt, just take a look and you will see!  Children learn things much faster, from colors to ABC, adults love to make music too, alone or in a group, it’s about community.”

Perhaps the most poignant testimonial was made by SSC President Kathy Czerny who eloquently articulated that the arts are important because they remind us of the way in which we’re the same, rather than the ways in which we’re different!  I love this very simple and true statement.  Whether you’re a lover of music, dance, theater or visual arts, shared moments of experiencing the arts unites us all.

These experiences don’t begin and end in cultural settings.  As the National Anthem, Sweet Caroline, or Take Me Out to the Ballgame plays at sporting events, everyone unites in song.  I recall at the 2016 Rio Olympics, when Jamaica’s gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt paused his moment in the limelight, upon hearing the first few notes of The Star Spangled Banner, and requested that the reporter show respect and stand with him in silence to honor the U.S. National Anthem.  It was a powerful music-inspired moment.

We here at South Shore Conservatory can’t imagine our life without the arts.  Can you?  To learn more about SSC programs and events, visit sscmusic.org or find us on Facebook.

Elaine Sorrentino is South Shore Conservatory’s Communications Director.   

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Congratulations Andrew Smith

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Congratulations to SSC alum Andrew Smith on the release of his new Christmas video, which starts out at SSC’s Ellison Center for the Arts in Duxbury.  He is a former student of Lorna Jane Norris. Here’s a link to his video.

Also, every Friday until December 30, Andrew and his band will be performing at the Seaport Common, 85 Northern Ave, Boston, from 6-8 pm!  If you’re in the area, be sure to check him out.

Sharing Holiday Favorites

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By Holly Marshall
The holiday season is a busy one for all of us.  From planning big family dinners to baking holiday cookies and finding that perfect gift, to hiding that gift somewhere the kids will never find it, it’s easy to lose sight of what the holiday season is all about until it’s already passed by.

Holiday time has a very special meaning for me this year.  I’m getting married!  With my wedding happening just a week before Christmas, losing sight of what the holiday season is all about has proven especially true for me this year. So when given the opportunity to take a break from planning a white wedding to sing about a white Christmas—I jumped at it!

My holiday playlist is usually on repeat as soon as the Halloween decorations come down each year, and I can’t wait to bring some of my favorite holiday tunes to life for our concert!  I’ll be dusting off my classical chops for a Messiah duet with Beth MacLeod Largent, and I, of course, couldn’t resist throwing in a little Broadway Christmas amongst the more traditional Christmas carols.  My favorite SSC holiday tradition is the post-concert sing-along, so get ready audience! There’s nothing better than a room full of people making music together.

For the last few years, the holiday concerts at SSC have been standing room only, so I was thrilled to hear we would be moving to Derby Academy’s lovely (and large!) performance hall for Holiday Favorites on December 11.  I recently saw two of my students take to the Derby stage in James and the Giant Peach, so I’ll be following in their footsteps for this performance!

With Thanksgiving being my fiancé Adam’s favorite holiday, and my family being of mixed faith, our celebration of the holiday season and practice of counting our blessings goes well beyond the 12 days of Christmas.  For as long as I can remember, we’ve sung a special version of The Dreidel Song during Hanukkah written by my grandfather.  Each verse is about a different member of the family, and I can’t wait to hear what my grandfather has written for Adam this year!

Making music has been my way of life, but making music for the holidays is a gift.  It’s a chance to pause, reflect on what matters most and the many blessings in life. Sharing music with others is how I can delight in all the little things that make the holiday season truly bright. On December 11, I hope you’ll take some time to revel in the holiday spirit with us!

South Shore Conservatory’s Conservatory Concert Series presents Holiday Favorites on Sunday, December 11, 4 pm at Derby Academy’s Larson Hall, 56 Burditt Street in Hingham.  Admission to the concert is free, and audience members are invited to join the performers for a reception following the performance.  For more information, visit sscmusic.org.

Holly Marshall is a member of South Shore Conservatory’s voice department, and a teacher in SSC’s ImagineARTS program which brings arts and literacy to kindergarteners in the Brockton school system.

Many ways to give the gift of music and the arts!

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Have you been searching for a gift bag large enough to hold a Music Together class or a rock ensemble?  There’s an easier way to give the gift of music. South Shore Conservatory (SSC) gift certificates are a fussy-less way to give the gift of music over the holidays. These certificates may be redeemed for SSC classes, lessons, concert or event tickets.

Here are just a smattering of what these certificates can buy:

  1. Tickets to our exciting Chase Away the Winter Blues event on January 28  at The River Club in Scituate
  2. Music Together classes for baby  (with a parent or caregiver)
  3. Tickets to next summer’s Wacky Wednesdays family concerts
  4. Hip hop dance lessons for a child/grandchild
  5. Tickets to the Hingham Jazz Festival brunch
  6. Curtain Going Up drama workshop
  7. Tickets to any of 12 Duxbury Music Festival performances next summer
  8. Admission to a Bay Youth Symphony concert
  9. Tickets to an Evenings Under the Stars outdoor concert
  10. Adult Jazz Workshop
  11. Participation in Pure Treble chorus
  12. Rock Band

For more gift ideas, please visit www.sscmusic.org.  To purchase a holiday gift certificate, call 781-749-7565, ext. 10 (Hingham) or 781-934-2731, ext. 10 (Duxbury) by December 20.