By Chris Stoddard
As a lifelong Hingham resident and member of the Hingham Public Schools’ music program for seven years, I knew about South Shore Conservatory (SSC) but didn’t get the chance to experience their wonderful programs until I was in middle school. I played the trombone in my school band, but I wanted to branch out and try something different, so I started playing bass guitar in a rock band. I quickly realized I could benefit from a lesson or two. It was then that I decided to try out SSC, and before long found myself truly enjoying my playing and getting better at my instrument.
After many weeks of growing increasingly comfortable with my technique, my band participated in a yearly performance contest at the Conservatory, where we received the highest possible awards for our rendition of the classic Chuck Berry tune Johnny B. Goode. As someone with performance anxiety, this was a huge moment for my self-esteem, and invigorated my playing to the point where I was comfortable tackling our biggest performance yet: playing on a float in the Hingham Fourth of July parade. Without SSC, I doubt I would have had the confidence to feel as though this was something I would be capable of undertaking without suffering from the potential embarrassment of playing the wrong notes.
When I joined my college’s radio station, I continued my musical journey albeit on a slightly different path. Speaking on air, at Ithaca College, to a crowd of tens of thousands of listeners was a daunting task that, due to my experiences in musical performances, made me feel much more prepared for the challenge. I involved myself with just about every show we broadcast, developing an affinity for a variety of genres and eventually becoming the music director, where I was able to choose what music we would add into our weekly rotation. I was also on the executive board of our Bureau of Concerts during my senior year, overseeing ticketing for on-campus concerts. Though I wasn’t doing much musical performance, as I watched many extremely talented student bands, I recognized the value in it. After graduating with a business/marketing degree, I returned home. When I saw that SSC was in search of a marketing associate, it felt like the perfect opportunity to put my marketing and music skills to good use. I’m happy to say I am SSC’s new marketing associate, helping with social media and general marketing.
As an SSC staff member, I hope to attract students of all ages who want to improve their artistic abilities and feel more comfortable in their performances. When I was taking lessons at SSC, I wish we had events like JRP Day: Guitar Summit! on April 28 at our Duxbury campus. Our Jazz, Rock, and Pop (JRP) program, gives students the skills to play in rock bands. A free event, JRP Day showcases two expert guitarists Jon Finn of Jon Finn Group, and Jon Catler of 13 O’Clock Blues Band. There will also be a workshop by blues pianist and SSC faculty member Anthony Geraci, as well as a rhythm event led by SSC’s Ed Sorrentino! Most importantly, the finale features invitational performances by JRP students and bands, showcasing the talented individuals who play an integral role in our organization.
When I started taking lessons at SSC, I wouldn’t have believed that in less than ten years, I would be working as a marketing associate for the largest community arts organization in New England. I still need to pinch myself in the morning to remind myself I’m not dreaming.
To learn more about South Shore Conservatory programs and events, visit sscmusic.org or call 781-749-7565.