By Beth MacLeod Largent
Budding trees. Pollen-covered cars. Daylight remains at 7 pm. It’s beginning to look a lot like springtime! This means summer isn’t far away, and South Shore Conservatory’s (SSC) outdoor summer concerts are right around the corner! We began planning this summer of music last fall when the leaves started to turn, and lessons learned during the previous summer of concerts were still fresh in our minds. Over coffee and Danish we sat and reflected. What worked really well? Don’t change it! What could use some freshening up? What type of new experiences do we want to bring to SSC? And, most importantly, what will make the Summer Spotlight adventure that much more memorable for our beloved audiences?
Over the years we’ve gotten to know our growing audience pretty well, and we select the music accordingly. So, when our marketing team sat around the table to brainstorm, we wondered, how can we make the overall experience even better for concertgoers? We talked, and we laughed, and we threw some spaghetti on the wall to see what would stick.
We started with Evenings Under the Stars (EUS) preconcert receptions, which have always provided an exhilarating place to meet friends, enjoy a light bite before the concert, and park onsite instead of taking the shuttle. What could make them even more special? Live music would certainly liven up the party. And, what if we had craft beer supplied by a hot new brewery, such as Barrel House Z? More fun! How about moving the party into Cox Hall where guest could sit if they wanted, nibble on creative bites, listen to great music, and start their evening off with a bang. Yes! Our new Sip! receptions are snappy, and included in the price is the coveted, not-to-be-purchased-separately, onsite parking pass!
Next we critiqued concessions. We LOVE our hotdogs concession, but wondered, is there something else, something more that could make the concerts a little more festive and offer variety? Food trucks are everywhere these days. They offer a great selection of foods, and they are so much fun; so why not have one or two here at SSC? South Shore Food Truck Association hooked us up. We are happy to announce that there will be one or two food trucks at each summer concert, offering delectable nuggets such as gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, cupcakes, breakfast foods. It will be a smorgasbord of deliciousness! I’m saving myself for a Sadie Mae’s cupcake. Have you tried one?? Amazing!
Our Summer Spotlight concerts this year are going to be so much fun. EUS starts on July 7 with the Evenings Under the Stars Festival Orchestra’s Opera and Musical Theatre Gala with Hingham native son Nicholas Palmer conducting. This concert honors Nick’s mother Dorothy Palmer, for her extraordinary support of the Summer Spotlight series, and promises to be special. For a full schedule of EUS concerts, visit sscmusic.org/eus/. Our Wacky Wednesdays family concerts start on July 11 with Karen K & the Jitterbugs, and promises fun food truck fare as well. For a full schedule of Wacky Wednesdays performances, visit sscmusic.org/wacky/.
Hope to see you at the Jane Carr Amphitheater at One Conservatory Drive this summer. If I have a tiny bit of frosting on my face, you’ll know why!
Mezzo soprano Beth MacLeod Largent is South Shore Conservatory’s Director of Performance.