Mad about Mad Love Music Festival!

Andrew, Kathleen, Conor, Clare, Matthew

Andrew, Kathleen, Conor, Clare, and Matthew Jodka

By Eileen Puzo, with Clare, Andrew, Conor and Matthew Jodka
In preparation for the fourth annual Mad Love Music Festival, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) invited some very special guest authors to write this week’s Conservatory Notes article. They are excited to tell you all about Mad Love, which takes place at SSC on Sunday, October 7. And they should know! They helped start it all…

Hello! We are the Jodka kids. Our names are Clare, Andrew, Conor, and Matthew, and we want to tell you about Mad Love. We started Mad Love because our dad, Dave Jodka died from sinus cancer. He loved music and he loved his family. He was in multiple bands and he could play multiple instruments.  In memory of him, we created the Mad Love Music Festival. Mad Love is a music festival to celebrate the life of our dad. Mad Love is fun for all ages with activities for everyone! There will be live bands, food trucks, lots of merchandise, fun activities for kids, and more!

“My favorite part of Mad Love is the food trucks because I like the Galley’s french fries!” says Conor (8).

“My favorite part of Mad Love is seeing the people we know and love because it is always fun to see people we haven’t seen in a while!” Andrew (10) says.

“My favorite part of Mad Love is the music and the games because the games are fun and the music is fun to listen to! I also like meeting the bands!” says Matthew (7).

“My favorite part of Mad Love is seeing friends and family and meeting up with them to take pictures, play games, dance to music, get snacks, or even merchandise!” says Clare (12).

Mad Love is an incredible opportunity to see where your money goes and how it is put to good use. In fact, all the money we earn from tickets and merchandise will be put into a scholarship called The Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers. This scholarship creates a rock band of high school students who get to learn through South Shore Conservatory. This band we created is called Toast. It is an awesome opportunity for them to meet new people and experience something they have never experienced before.

We like to rock out, just like our dad.  Andrew plays drums and trombone, and Clare plays the piano. Maybe someday we will even be part of Toast (the SSC rock band that Mad Love Music Festival supports)!

We believe Mad Love is more than just a music festival. It is a reminder to be grateful every day and live with gratitude, just like our dad. Tickets are now on sale! Don’t miss out! To buy your tickets or learn more information, got to . We hope to see you there!

So take it from the Jodkas! Mad Love is where you want to be on October 7. This great-for-all-ages day features performances from SSC’s Future Rockers Toast, as well as Carissa Johnson and the Cure-Alls, The Silks, These Wild Plains, the Aldous Collins Band, and Pressure Cooker. With food trucks from Wahlburgers, Hank’s Clam Shack, Sadie Mae’s, Nona’s, and Drank, lawn games and a kid zone, it’s a great day for rockers of all ages.

South Shore Conservatory’s Mad Love Music Festival is Sunday, October 7, from 11am to 5 pm at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham.  Tickets may be purchased at

Eileen Puzo is SSC’s Community Engagement Manager. A Hingham resident, she has been involved with Mad Love Music Festival from its inception.

Sunday’s Big Band Concert

Aretha Franklin Remembering the Queen of Soul_1535720609203.png_96189498_ver1.0_640_480Did you know that Sunday’s JRP Series Kick-off Concert not only features big band music, it also features a tribute to Aretha Franklin.  A versatile vocalist primarily known for her gospel and Motown contributions, Aretha performed beautiful renditions of jazz ballads and standards from the big band era.  Be prepared for a fabulous rendition of Natural Woman, one of the iconic tunes for which she is best remembered.

Tickets for the September 23 afternoon concert, as well as the Sunday Jazz Brunch are still on sale at  One Conservatory Drive, Hingham, MA 02043.


Goodbye Herb Fulton

Herb Fulton
We were sad to learn that Herb Fulton, a major player in South Shore Conservatory’s Hingham campus renovation in the mid-1970s, passed away earlier this month.  With Herb’s efforts,  and the efforts of those at Lester R. Fulton & Son, general contractors, we were able to create a thriving community school for the arts from a rundown, WWII Commandant’s quarters.  His name came up in the news a few months ago when he discovered and donated his old Quincy Patriot Ledger paperboy bag, from back in the 1950s.  The Ledger, in turn, donated it to the Quincy Historical Society.

Thank you Herb for your contribution to South Shore Conservatory!

Big band music kicks off Jazz/Rock/Pop Series

Ed Sorrentino CAWB.JPG

By Ed Sorrentino
Oxymorons.  You hear them everywhere.  Phrases such as “awfully good,” “seriously funny,” or “original copies” just roll off people’s tongues.   Well, here’s a new one for you – little big band.

Some of you may be familiar with music from popular big bands of the 30s and 40s, conducted by bandleaders such as Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller.  Traditional big bands usually had upwards toward 20 plus musicians, with six saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, guitar, bass, piano, drums, plus male and female vocalists.  This unique makeup created a real danceable, full-bodied sound.

So, what’s a “little” big band?  It’s a smaller ensemble, fewer than ten musicians, playing music designed to create a fuller sound than one would expect from this smaller formation.  The music is fun and lively, and it’s the music our Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) department at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) will be presenting at our September 23 JRP Series Kick-off Concert.

Big band songs are familiar to all of us, and are often heard nowadays at all types of events.  One of the most recognizable tunes from this era is In the Mood, which composed by Joe Garland, although it’s always been associated with Glenn Miller who arranged this for his big band.  It quickly became, and continues to be, one on the most popular songs from the 1930s.

Back in the late 70s/early 80s, I performed with the big band Swing Shift, led by the great reed player and Artie Shaw Band leader, Dick Johnson.  It was here that I met some of the greatest jazz musicians in New England, among them, jazz trombonist Alan Cron who is now Rockland Superintendent of Schools.  Remembering what an amazing player Alan was, I invited him to join us for this kick-off concert, then thought about inviting other local music educators.  Performing together in concert would be a fantastic way to celebrate and recognize excellent area music educator/performers. I’d hoped to develop an arts-based collaborative culture, musician to musician, educator to educator, where we can perform together and share advice.  We don’t currently have an SSC big band program, but who knows where this could go?

As a big band drummer, I am often referred to as the “driver of the bus.”  Everything, timewise depends upon the drummer.  Big band music follows a very specific “road map,” a.k.a. written compositions and arrangements.  This type of playing is a real exciting challenge!  Even though the music is more prescribed than in-the-moment, it still allows for a fair amount of improvisation, and requires knowledge of the big band repertoire.  Every arrangement of the songs chosen for this concert has space for improvised solos.

This kick-off concert will not include only instrumental arrangements.  Voice Department Chair Emily Browder-Melville will be singing the famous 1924 George Gershwin tune Fascinating Rhythm. There may even be a nod to versatile vocalist Aretha Franklin, primarily known for her gospel and Motown contributions, but who performed beautiful renditions of jazz ballads and standards from the big band era.

Anyone who loves exciting, popular music is invited to join South Shore Conservatory as they present their JRP Series Kick-off Concert on Sunday, September 23, 1 pm in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at One Conservatory Drive.  Prior to the concert, the JRP department presents a fabulous jazz brunch.  For more information and tickets, visit or call 781-421-6162, x204.

Percussionist Ed Sorrentino is chair of South Shore Conservatory’s Jazz/Rock/Pop department.

Why We Love Singing American Songbook Classics

Dianne Legro teaching shotBy Dianne Legro
Patti Abate of WATD summed it up perfectly during our interview on her My Generation show, as we talked about my American Songbook class at South Shore Conservatory (SSC). “It’s all about having fun, keeping yourself engaged with something you love or always wanted to try, and continuing to grow at any age!” she said.

Whenever I connect with people who are learning something new or practicing something they love, I am uplifted and inspired by the sparkle and light that shines from their eyes. It is especially inspiring to get to know and work with American Songbook students as they explore, grow, try a new song, or perfect one they know.  I just love sharing in the joy and fun they experience in this process.  Last year we had so many laughs and shared successes each week that I can hardly wait to start the next Songbook class on September 19 at 6 pm. The eight-week class meets on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 pm, and I invite anyone who has a love of singing to join us!

Those who join the class can expect a true masterclass setting where each singer is coached, one to one, by our accompanist – the wonderful Mark Goodman – and me in front of the other students. This method allows student singers learn from each other and enjoy mutual praise, encouragement and support.  Those with particular songs already in mind are encouraged to bring them in, so that we might find the right key for their success. I also suggest and provide songs from music I know will be a good fit for the student’s voice.

American Songbook repertoire has something for everyone. These beloved songs have the effect of engaging deep feelings, memories and sentiments on both the audience and the performer.  Up tempo or slow ballad, they run the gamut of love (lost, found or searching for) and other topics with humor, wit playfulness and elegance.

American Songbook students have shared many anecdotes about the benefits of participation in this class.  One student wanted to share how much the breathing exercises for singing he learned had helped him improve a lifelong health issue in his lungs. He is absolutely thrilled with the measurable improvement. Another student, new to singing, joined the class because it was on his bucket list. “Well, why wait, there’s no time like now!” he said.  In addition to having fun, he is feeling like a confident singer and thoroughly enjoyed singing in two of our recitals! A former Navy officer, he generously compared the class with the best training he had ever experienced in his career of high level trainings and he expressed his appreciation for the excellence in teaching he receives in class.  Another student shared that when she sings she forgets “the slings and arrows of outrageous aging.  And the joy! Oh the joy!!”

Mark Goodman recently commented to a fellow colleague, “As the semester went on I saw progress from all the singers in the class in terms of vocal ability and confidence. Dianne is equally comfortable working with students of all ages.”

Those interested in keeping themselves engaged because they love singing or it’s something they’ve always wanted to try, are strongly encouraged to join us this fall. Visit for complete information on registration, schedule and pricing, or call 781-749-7565, x10. South Shore Conservatory is located at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.

Dianne Legro teaches American Songbook at South Shore Conservatory. She is an award-winning soprano who sings classical, Broadway and American Songbook classics.