By Beth MacLeod Largent
With a huge tropical blast of hot air, summer has finally arrived here on the South Shore, and I’m excited for what’s coming up next month: Wacky Wednesdays! Running this series of four family-focused concerts is one of the most FUN things I do all year here at South Shore Conservatory. From hand-selecting each performer, to marketing them each by their uniqueness, to running the actual concert, the process is filled with giggles and unfettered joy.In order to ensure everyone has the best experience possible, we start WAAAAAAAAAAAY back in early September, by recalling what received the biggest “wow” the previous summer. I speak to parents of preschool and school-age children, and ask them what they might like to see. What are they looking for in a performance? What do their children enjoy most? Those answers, always fascinating to me, help guide my decision to choose one performer over another.
Mostly I discover that parents are looking for FUN. But in addition to that, they also want great quality musicians, music that they themselves can enjoy listening to, and an event that they can count on to run rain or shine. No disappointed faces the morning of! Mix that all together, and I get to work calling artists, watching videos, catching as many live events as I can, and from that I choose the performers I think are the best fit for our audience.
What makes it easier this year is that all but one of the performers have already performed at Wacky Wednesdays. They love the venue, they love the families, and the families love them. I often have more artists wishing to return than we have spots on the program, which is a good problem to have! Then the ramp up begins – we publicize, we sell tickets and before you know it, it’s here and I’m welcoming many tiny grinning humans to our beloved amphitheater.
One of my favorite memories from summers past, is of a rainy morning where so many children came in their boots that we puddle-stomped after the concert was over. (By then the sun had returned!) Their total joy in the experience is what warms my heart, and what I look forward to during the long winter months. This is also what our sponsor Avis Goldstein, of The Harold and Avis Goldstein Trust, loves about this series. It’s the complete, unbridled joy of children jumping, dancing, singing, and hugging each other at these concerts. They make new friends instantly, bonding over free child-sized cups of chocolate milk and lemonade and 50 minutes of energetic music. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
South Shore Conservatory’s Wacky Wednesdays family concerts presents Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys on July 5, Karen K & the Jitterbugs on July 12, Alastair Moock and Friends on July 19, and Debbie and Friends on July 26. All shows start at 10 am and acts go on rain or shine. For more information or to order tickets, visit http://sscmusic.org/wacky_wednesdays.html or call 781-749-7565, ext. 22.
Beth MacLeod Largent is South Shore Conservatory’s Director of Performance.