Everyone’s Favorite Holiday Tunes

Sarah StuartBy Sarah Stuart
The darkness creeps into the day early in December, but as the holidays approach, windows begin to twinkle and holiday favorites float through the air.  Music always accompanies the holiday traditions I enjoy at this time of year.  Just a few notes of a familiar holiday carol bring back a flood of fond memories.  Growing up, our holiday traditions included the smell of pine trees, the taste of gingerbread, the sparkle of a tree aglow, and the songs of the season.

For me, the joy of the season is best expressed by sharing my harp music with others. Playing familiar chords of my favorite carols feels like coming home. This music takes me back to all the Christmases I have ever known, and all the memories of gathering with friends and family to share our music.  I remember my mother playing the piano and my father filling out the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with his rich voice. I remember our house ringing with music and laughter.

Perhaps it was those early musical experiences that initiated my love of chamber music. Chamber music is a collaboration in creativity. It is the coming together of different instruments, different people to create one united musical experience for the audience.  For me, it is also the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season.

I was delighted to be asked to perform in South Shore Conservatory’s Holiday Favorite concert along with other SSC faculty members.  Our program, selected from each of the performer’s nostalgic holiday favorites, includes a wonderful mix of both traditional and popular selections; there is sure to be a song for everyone!   This concert has always been an audience favorite.

At Holiday Favorites I will be performing two classical flute and harp duets with flautist, Donald Zook: Fauré’s “Sicilienne” from the opera Pelléas and Melisande and “Andante con Variazioni” by Rossini.  Although, these works were not composed specifically for Christmas, their simple beauty captures the magic of the season. I will also have the opportunity to accompany Allyson Lynch on the beloved carol, “O Holy Night.” Other selections that will surely get you into the holiday spirit include “Greensleeves,” “Home for the Holidays,” and a “Christmas Lullaby.”

I invite you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enjoy the beautiful melodic sounds presented by SSC faculty musicians.  I’m sure this music will add a little magic to your season.

South Shore Conservatory’s Conservatory Concert Series presents Holiday Favorites on Sunday, December 10, 4 pm at Derby Academy, 56 Burditt Street in Hingham.  Admission to the concert is free. Following the performance, audience members are invited to join the performers to mingle and enjoy some holiday refreshments.

To learn more about South Shore Conservatory concerts and events, visit www.sscmusic.org.

Harp instructor Sarah Stuart has been with South Shore Conservatory since 2013.  She is a Cohasset resident.



SSC Youth Orchestra in concert on November 19

SSC Youth Orchestra spring 2017

Join SSC Youth Orchestra as they present their fall concert on Sunday, November 19,
2 pm at Hingham Middle School, 1103 Main Street in Hingham. This concert includes works by Mozart, Schubert, Wagner, Musella, and Bizet.
SSC Youth Orchestra, run in collaboration with the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra (the Phil) and Artistic Advisor Steven Karidoyanes, offers two leveled orchestras, and is open to students from communities throughout the South Shore and Cape Cod.

These two ensembles offer dedicated and talented young musicians the opportunity to perform symphonic music at a high level in an organized, supportive orchestra program. Both orchestras will perform in this concert – Repertory, an intermediate full orchestra, conducted by Elijah Langille; as well as Symphony, an advanced orchestra, conducted by Phaedre Sassano.

Admission to the concert is free for students K-12.  Adult tickets are $10, and may be purchased at the door.  Additional support for this program is provided in part by grants from the Marshfield Cultural Council and the Scituate Cultural Council.

More at http://sscmusic.org/sscyo/.


SSC offers Music Together in Norwell

Another Music Together

After waiting for over one year, we are delighted to have been awarded the license to offer our popular Music Together® program in Norwell, beginning November 27!

This beloved program encourages families to be musical, serving babies, toddlers and preschool children, between the ages of zero to four, accompanied by a caregiver.  The joyful environment not only provides the gift of music, but also creates connections that can last a lifetime.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this program in Norwell,” said SSC’s Music Together Director Jana Kahn.  “For several years we have been wanting to provide quality music programming for families with young children in Norwell and other neighboring towns, where travel to our already existing locations in Hingham, Cohasset and Duxbury may feel too far to travel with little ones.”

Excited about the new location, Music Together parent Tracy Durso says, “I’ve taken Music Together classes with all three of my children over the last eight years, and every week I still look forward to going to these classes with my youngest.  The time we spend singing, dancing, playing and bonding has been such a special part of her childhood for both of us. What we’ve learned in class carries over into our daily lives as we still use the diverse music and songs for playtime, nap time, car rides and more.”

SSC’s Norwell site for Music Together is located in the United Methodist Church at 11 Church Street. The Conservatory chose this space because, in addition to being sunny and spacious, and it also has a beautiful playground on the grounds for families to enjoy before or after class.  Classes will be offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays initially, at 9:30 am and 10:30 am.

Registration is available at http://sscmusic.org/music-together-at-ssc, or contact Meredith Gosselin at 781-749-7565, x12.

Celebrating the musical genius of Beethoven


By Mark Goodman

The music of Beethoven exercises an equal hold over audiences and performers alike.

Audiences love the drama and epic scale. The opening notes of his Fifth Symphony may be the most famous and recognizable four notes in history. Performers love the depth of emotion and technical challenge. I still remember crying, as a young piano student, when my teacher told me I wasn’t ready to play the Pathetique Sonata. (I eventually prevailed, but can’t vouch for my performance!) And as human beings, we are drawn to Beethoven’s spiritual journey and triumph over the hardship of deafness to go on to compose his greatest music.

Although Beethoven is arguably the most well-known and popular of all composers, he is not easy to describe or categorize. His life spanned the end of one stylistic period and the dawn of another, and his music evolved constantly to reflect this. As a student he studied with Haydn and Czerny at the culmination of the Classical period, and he lived to see the younger generation of composers, such as Schubert and Weber, usher in the early Romantic style. His creativity was so tremendous that, like Picasso, he continually reinvented himself, and his early works bear no resemblance to his late ones.

Next month, in honor of Beethoven’s upcoming birthday, we at South Shore Conservatory are presenting The Music of Beethoven.  Our concert presents three works written six years apart, each of which has its own unique identity – two trios, with a piano sonata sandwiched in between.

The Clarinet Trio, Opus 11, is a spirited example of Beethoven’s early style. This piece is sometimes called the “Gassenhauer” or “streetsong” trio, because its last movement is based on a theme from an opera of the time that was so popular it could literally be heard whistled in the streets of Vienna. The work is sunny throughout, with nary a dark cloud passing through. The unusual scoring of clarinet, cello, and piano is unique in Beethoven’s work, promoting the popularity of the clarinet at the time, and highlighting young Beethoven’s athletic prowess as a pianist.   Our faculty clarinetist is Peter Bianca, whose beautiful performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto at last summer’s Evening Under the Stars concert will be remembered by those fortunate enough to have heard it. The cello will be played by Jan Pfeiffer, a veteran of the Boston chamber music scene, and I will be the pianist.

Next we have the third and fourth movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Opus 31, No. 3, played by Paul Hoffman. With this piece we can already hear the beginnings of the Romantic style starting to appear. The third movement is a minuet, showing Beethoven at his most gracious and elegant. Following that is rollicking tarantella, whose non-stop triplets and headlong pace have earned this piece the nickname “The Hunt.” The boisterous energy of this movement certainly goes beyond anything Haydn ever imagined.

Our final piece is the well-known Ghost Trio for violin, cello, and piano. This piece is a study in contrasts, with the two steely-bright outer movements flanking the dark night of the slow movement. It is this movement that gives the work its nickname with its hushed glacial opening, its ominous low rumblings, and its terrifying climactic moments. The “Ghost” will be performed by our respective chairs of the string and piano departments, Amanda Roberts and Jon Roberts, and faculty cellist Sassan Haghighi

Last but not least, with Beethoven’s birthday around the corner on December 16, we will end with a special birthday surprise. (You’ll just have to wait!)

The Music of Beethoven will be performed first on November 12 at our Duxbury campus, and again November 19 at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.  Both concerts are at 4 pm and are free and open to the public. I hope you can come to experience this music which we love so much and are excited to share with you!

Pianist Mark Goodman is a Hingham resident.