Music and Merriment Under the Stars

Jon Abrams 2

Jon Abrams and his Billy Joel Tribute Band performs at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham on July 22

By Julie Collinge
Summer!  Everyone has a different way of deciding when they feel that summer really is just round the corner – regardless of the current temperature and weather forecast.  For me that pivotal moment is when I realize South Shore Conservatory’s Evening Under the Stars (EUS) concert series is less than two months away.  Time to start getting ready!

For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of attending an EUS performance, let me give you a brief overview.  For four Saturdays in July, the Conservatory presents a concert in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at the Hingham campus.  It is our very own “mini-Tanglewood.”  Seating is available inside the pavilion, but many folks prefer to bring chairs, blankets, etc., and picnic on the lawn.

Every year SSC Director of Performance Beth MacLeod Largent puts together the entire Evenings Under the Stars series, featuring some regular favorite acts, together with new offerings for us to enjoy.  This year’s performances feature Out of this World with Mozart! with the EUS Festive Orchestra, A Celtic Sojourn, a Billy Joel tribute band front by Jon Abrams, and a spectacular Rodgers and Hart review.   The new kid on the block this time is the Billy Joel band – I suspect there will be a high degree of singing along that evening, and I know there will be dancing on the lawn!

As an adult student, studying voice and piano at SSC, my first encounter with EUS was singing in the chorus for a concert production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance.  That got me hooked, and I immediately started looking for ways to get more involved.  Fast forward a few years to 2017, and I now coordinate the volunteers for these outdoor concerts and several others throughout the year.  I love my band of volunteers; not only do they act as ushers, man the box office, staff the concessions stand and the pre-concert reception bar and generally do all they can to make sure everyone has a good time, but they also turn up early to help decorate the space (yes, we do decorate the trees!) and stay late to tidy up.  The best part is that they never stop smiling!  Just the joy of being surrounded by such positive energy is enough to make sure I attend every show, but in addition, I get to hear great music performed live.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

This summer I will once again be singing in the chorus for the Rodgers and Hart review.  What wonderful music!  Doing both volunteering and performing on performance night is “interesting” to say the least.  Fortunately I have a couple of friends who act as my conscience and make sure that I make it on stage properly dressed and without my “Volunteer” name tag.  Of course, there is always a first time for the plan to come unglued!  Why not plan to come to the show and see if we get it right?

If you have been part of the EUS family before, I look forward to seeing you again.  If this is your first time, feel free to look me up and say “hi.”  Any of the volunteers will be able to help you find “Julie.”  Happy Summer!  Happy EUS!

South Shore Conservatory’s Evenings Under the Stars Saturday night concert series runs from July 8 through July 29.  For more information, visit http://sscmusic.org/evenings_under_the_stars.html, call 781-749-7565, ext. 22, or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.

Julie Collinge is a Hingham resident.  She regularly performs in SSC adult performances.

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