By Deborah Edmundson
I always enjoy September and the start of a “new year” at school and around town. We get back into our “regular” routines, and reconnect with the friends who have traveled and vacationed away. It can be bittersweet, but this September will be particularly sweet because South Shore Conservatory is presenting its fourth annual Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) Festival on Sunday, September 24. Starting with a tasty brunch in the Carr Amphitheater, the festival will continue with small ensemble performances by SSC jazz/rock/pop faculty, and end with a performance of the Beatles’ entire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, in honor of the 50th anniversary of its release. It’s going to be an afternoon of great music!
My husband Phil and I have been involved with SSC for over 20 years, and have a particular attachment to the Jazz/Rock/Pop department. Our son Will became involved when he was a percussion student there. Watching the variety of teaching and performing styles of the JRP department, I was not surprised to discover it’s the fastest growing department at SSC. Jazz, rock and pop music is probably not what you think of when you think of SSC, is it? But it should be! Expand your definition! There’s nothing quite like seeing a kid play the electric guitar in public for the first time. The sense of achievement is palpable, sometimes accompanied by the necessary “attitude,” and seeing the encouragement he/she receives from her teacher is a wonderful thing.
When we’ve attended JRP performances, the educator/performers have certainly impressed us with their musical skill. From having our children take lessons at SSC, we already knew that the teachers work wonders, truly. But it was delightful to discover they are each accomplished and active performers in their own right. That secret was too well kept – SSC has amazing musicians on the faculty, and we want to hear them!
At the JRP Festival, they will play a huge variety of music, from traditional jazz, to blues, rock, funk and pop. Some covers, some original tunes, some you’ll recognize, some that will be new to you. Some will be as comfortable as your favorite t-shirt, and others may challenge you a little. One of the things I really like is that there’s always something I didn’t expect, whether it’s an instrument I never knew about, or a new interpretation of a song I thought I knew, or a performer’s personal story of her musical journey. There will be something you’ll love, and something that will surprise you!
The JRP Festival is so much fun, and it’s an easy way to hear some really outstanding music. We’re happy to go to Boston to hear great music, but even happier to support great music right here in Hingham. It’s been 50 years since Sgt. Pepper was released. Come and celebrate it! Don’t let another September go by without checking out South Shore Conservatory’s JRP Festival. I hope to see you there!
SSC’s JRP Festival is Sunday, September 24 from 11 am to 6 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. For more information or tickets, visit http://sscmusic.org/jrpseries.html.
Hingham resident Deborah Edmundson is a South Shore Conservatory overseer and a jazz/rock/pop enthusiast.