Join us for Community MusicFest!

String camp 2015

By Anne Smith
When was the last time you learned something new – when you opened yourself up to the excitement of being a beginner?  One of the perks of adulthood is that we get to do the things at which we excel.  As Director of Community Partnerships at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), no one pushes me to conjugate Latin verbs or play basketball anymore.  Jump shots are not a part of my job description and so they have fallen away.  Studies show, though, that learning a new skill, especially through music, is beneficial for us as we age. Active participation in the arts improves cognitive function, builds community, and facilitates self-expression.

A year ago, I sat down with my SSC colleagues to discuss how we might increase participation in the arts by those aged 18+. The result of that very fruitful brainstorming meeting was a yearlong strategy to welcome grownups into the SSC community through performances, classes and lessons: our Adult Learning initiative.

In addition to private lessons and classes at our two campuses, we committed to providing opportunities for participation in community-based programming through partnerships with local Councils on Aging, senior centers, residential communities and assisted living facilities.  At the end of our first year, SSC adult music programs are thriving all over the South Shore.  A ukulele band is going strong at the Hingham Council on Aging.  In Norwell, seniors gather for a drum circle once a month.  Kripalu’s adaptive dance program Shake Your Soul® meets once a week in Kingston. All programs are carefully designed to challenge adult minds, stimulate creativity, and build vibrant social connections.  Through our Adult Learning initiative, we’ve extended access to the arts to over 500 new participants this year.

Since the fall, Barbara Farnsworth, Director of the Hingham Council on Aging, has booked six sessions of ukulele classes.  “I have a colleague who learned to play the ukulele and found it to be great fun and had made many friend,” she told me.  “I was looking for something new and different to offer at the Senior Center, and thought that the ukulele fit that description.  To be quite honest, I was very surprised to see the level of interest both at the beginning and as we continued to offer subsequent sessions.  SSC’s John McCarthy has been wonderful to work with, and those who have taken the classes now have a new talent.”

To celebrate adult learning through the arts, SSC invites everyone to Community MusicFest 2017, on Saturday, June 24 from 4-6 pm in our Jane Carr Amphitheater at One Conservatory Drive.  A line-up of lively performances includes solo acts by SSC adult students as well as SSC Community Voices Chorus and an adult percussion ensemble.  Guest performers include Plymouth-based acapella group, Friends in Song. Cohasset-based Rusty Skipper Concert Band headlines.  Formed in 1995, The Rusty Skippers play an entertaining pops-style program of marches, jazz, Broadway, and light classical music.

Come enjoy a picnic on the lawn while you listen! Admission is free. Island Dawgs, owned by SSC parents Laurie and Chris Igo, will provide steamed hotdogs with all the fixings, snacks including chips, pretzels, etc., soft drinks and water and Slushies!  For more information, contact Beth MacLeod Largent at b.macleodlargent@sscmusic.org or 781-749-7565 x20.

And of course, if you’ve always wanted to try the cello or take up singing, we would love to have you join our community of active, joyful learners.  It’s never too late to try something new!  Contact Student/Faculty Liaison Jessica Wilcox at j.wilcox@sscmusic.org or at 781-749-7565 x37 to schedule a trial lesson.  Or visit http://www.sscmusic.org to see what’s here for you.

Music and Merriment Under the Stars

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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 Festival Orchestra and Conductor Nicholas Palmer, 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 performances include Out of this World with Mozart on July 8, A Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan on July 15, Jon Abrams and his Billy Joel Band – a Tribute on July 22, and Beguiled Again:  The songs of Rodgers and Hart on July 29.

South Shore Conservatory’s Carr Amphitheater is at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. 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.

 

Saying goodbye after eleven years

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By Dalton Letorney
More than eleven years ago, I arrived at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) to take Suzuki piano lessons to help with my childhood anxiety. My grandmother had discovered research about anxiety-relieving effects in making and listening to music, and she wished such relief for me, so she suggested that I pursue piano lessons. Since I first set foot on campus, SSC has become my second home.

 

I recall the thrill of playing a complete song that first day, one of the huge benefits of the Suzuki method, a process in which one learns music by ear. I stayed with my first teacher until he retired, and was concerned about changing teachers until I met piano instructor Eric Lane who truly changed my life. He encouraged me to listen to styles of music other than classical, such as pop and rock. He also gave me lessons in music theory, taught me songwriting, chords and their variations, lyric-writing, and a whole lot of improvisation, and his incredible teaching inspired me to arrange and compose my own music.

At eleven, I also fell in love with singing.  Over the past seven years, I’ve studied with a number of incredible voice faculty members, starting with Beth MacLeod Largent. Working with Beth alongside my piano lessons with Eric, my voice strengthened and I acquired perfect pitch. I realized that no note sounds quite like any other note, and as a singer, one must be exceptionally conscious of melodies and pitches, for every pitch is meticulously produced by human action.

After a short break from singing as my voice change progressed, and I found myself with a brand-new instrument. Vocal production needed to be relearned, for I could not sing notes with the same coordination and resonance as I had done so easily before. In came Lorna Jane Norris, an incredible voice teacher (“crafter,” I prefer) who meticulously tuned my voice through careful resonance balance. Over four years, Lorna has helped me evolve into not only a vocalist, but also a unique artist with an individual sound. Our lessons are often filled with not only vocal exercises, but also laughter and fun.

SSC also provided several classes and performance opportunities outside of studio lessons. When I was eleven, I joined the SSC’s cast of Cinderella, my first an opera production. I also joined Saturday Stage Club, an acting class that helped me become more comfortable as an actor and gain confidence as a performer on stage. I spent a summer as a student in Summer Stage Camp, as well as multiple summers as a student in SVI (Summer Vocal Institute) where, one summer, I arranged the company’s final performance number, and which married my score notation skills with my love of creating arrangements.

I also attended multiple SSC Open Mic nights and Monster Jams to solidify my performing experience in a supportive environment. I’ve also competed and won awards in various both piano and voice competitions. More recently, I’ve interned at Jazz/Rock/Pop summer camps, volunteered at SSC events, and performed on stage numerous times during Duxbury Music Festivals. I’ve also been invited to perform at numerous events such as SSC’s Chase Away the Winter Blues fundraiser.

What I’ll miss most when I graduate this year is South Shore Conservatory’s amazing faculty members and fellow students. We’re all tethered together in an intimate family. I love the encouraging and supportive nature of everyone in the organization. Without SSC’s inspiration, support, and encouragement, I would not have fallen so deeply in love with music.

As I enter Boston College in the fall, I’m excited about BC’s double majoring opportunities, and the ease with which I can keep music in my school career despite the academic rigor. I’m confident that music will always lead me in the direction that is most ideal for me. While I have dreams of being a successful musician, I also have passions in applied mathematics and sciences, specifically biology and organic chemistry.  If I pursue a pre-med track in college, I will utilize my love of the human voice to become a laryngologist or voice pathologist. Either way, the foundation of music will keep me grounded, inspired, and ready to apply my knowledge and experiences to any aspect of my life.

SSC JRP Bands Release Compilation Album “Unscene” at New World Tavern

CD release party at New World Tavern June 2017
Join South Shore Conservatory (SSC) rock bands Toast, Not Today, No Bueno, Lights in the Basement, and Mirror Image for their Album release party at New World Tavern at 56 Main Street in Plymouth on Sunday, June 11, from 1-5 pm.

The SSC rock band album, named “Unscene,” is SSC’s first student-driven compilation album of its kind.  Tickets, at $12 per person, are available at the door.  Also available at the event is an “Unscene” zine with art for each track, complete lyrics, and download codes for digital album.