By 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.