With a Little Help from My Friends

olivia barbuto hingham

Olivia Barbuto, right, is one of the vocalists performing Friday in ‘With a Little Help From My Friends.’

By Ryan Delano and Olivia Barbuto
Six years ago, South Shore Conservatory’s piano and voice departments, in hopes of giving students from each their departments a musically collaborative experience, presented a performance that teamed up pianists with voice students.  The performance, aptly named With a Little Help from My Friends, was wildly successful, and has grown in popularity each year since.  Students work together to learn their collaborative pieces for a few months before making beautiful music together it in front of an audience.  Pianist Ryan and vocalist Olivia talk about the experience performing in this annual concert.

Ryan:  At first, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. When my piano teacher, Mark Goodman, suggested that I perform at the With a Little Help from My Friends concert, I was a little apprehensive. My record with accompaniment at that point consisted of being asked to accompany my middle school chorus, never getting contacted to rehearse, and ultimately being told the day of the concert that I wouldn’t be performing.

However, after four years participating in With a Little Help from My Friends concerts, I proudly consider accompaniment as one of my greatest skills on piano. With piano being such a solitary instrument normally, it takes an entirely different set of tools to work with a vocalist. Rather than listen to yourself, you have to focus in on the tiniest of breaths from the singers. Rather than making your own decisions about changing tempo or dynamics, you have to do your best to seamlessly react to the singer. The lessons I learned from With a Little Help from My Friends gave me everything I needed to accompany my high chorus during a recent masterclass at Symphony Hall. The concert and the lessons leading up to it don’t only provide a moving musical experience, they also highlight the supportive community that South Shore Conservatory has built. There are older pianists performing with young singers and vice versa.  There are all types of voices, styles, and songs.  Everybody has a good time enjoying the music, culminating in a rousing sing-along rendition of the concert’s namesake by The Beatles. I’ll definitely miss it when I’m off to college next year!

Olivia: I have participating in South Shore Conservatory (SSC) programs since I was five years old. The programs and the organization give me such a thrill, and help me to improve my technique and abilities. There is one program I have done for many years, and have continued participating in because of its differentiability and amazing opportunity. It’s the With A Little Help from My Friends event. This SSC program uses singing students, and piano students to prepare a piece and perform in a concert. The students working together to make a piece their own is something I have cherished for a long time. It gives both students a sense of independence and leadership in only one piece of music. This year will be my fourth year participating, and I am so thrilled to get to do it again. Meeting new musicians and sharing our love for music is something I look forward to every year.

South Shore Conservatory’s With a Little Help from My Friends takes place Friday, February 1, 7 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.  Admission to the concert is free.  For more information about SSC programs, visit sscmusic.org, call 781-749-7565, x10, or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.

Ryan Delano resides in Weymouth and is a senior at Weymouth High School.
Olivia Barbuto resides in Hingham and is a junior at Hingham High School.

SSC’s musical party with a cause


ia 10000th book (2)

ImagineARTS, SSC’s arts and literacy program that benefits from the Chase Away the Winter Blues gala, handed out its 10,000th book in May in Brockton.

By Donna Ryan
A few months ago, I started working as the Special Events Manager at South Shore Conservatory (SSC). Working for SSC is a natural fit for me because I love the mission. I am passionate about music education and about providing access to the arts for all who reside in our South Shore communities.


Further, I am a parent of two sons who both participated in South Shore Conservatory music programs, including years of private lessons at our Duxbury campus, and Summer Music Festival at our Jane Carr Amphitheater in Hingham. Bolstered by their solid music foundation, both boys went on to perform at Carnegie Hall with their high school wind ensembles. It was a wonderful, confidence-building life experience for them. My eldest son continued performing throughout his college days with the Northeastern University Wind Ensemble. Throughout their formative years, I saw first-hand how valuable music was in their overall development, and cannot overstate how much I loved witnessing them discover and develop their own passion for music.

The work we do here, within and beyond our four walls, is life-affecting. Tuition does not cover all our costs, so, as a nonprofit organization, SSC relies on donor support to help deliver music education to over 4000 South Shore residents annually. In my new role, I manage SSC fundraising events including Duxbury Music Festival and the upcoming Chase Away the Winter Blues gala.

Ah, Blues…one of my favorite events of the year.  How shall I describe it? Blues is a musical party with a cause!  South Shore Conservatory believes that everyone, regardless of age, ability or circumstance, can benefit from the transformative nature of a music and arts education.  With that in mind, all proceeds from Blues benefit three core initiatives:  SSC Community Partnerships, including ImagineARTS, an arts and literacy program in the Brockton public schools; Creative Arts Therapies programs which touch a large population of individuals who learns differently; and our tuition assistance program, which affords students the opportunity to receive a music education. Each year, SSC continues to expand programming reaching more South Shore communities, and those for whom this opportunity would not be possible because of financial, location, or access barriers.

This year’s Blues, at the Boston Marriott Quincy, includes cocktails, dinner, dancing and live performances by SSC faculty, students and alumni. It is a celebration of music and friendship.  It’s also an opportunity to showcase our talented SSC faculty musicians, and spotlight the exceptional programs we provide to our South Shore community. We expect over 300 guests to attend.  Last year we raised over $325,000, so we are hoping to exceed that in 2019!

Join us on Saturday, January 26 for the Chase Away the Winter Blues gala, starting at 6 pm at the Boston Marriott Quincy, 1000 Marriott Drive, Quincy.  Gala tickets include cocktail hour, dinner, dessert bar, live music, silent and live auctions, raffle and the After Party.  The After Party, a rocking fun time, starts at 9 pm.  Guests who cannot attend the whole gala may purchase tickets for this part of the evening only.  For those who might like a night away, SSC has reserved a discounted block of rooms.

For more information about Blues, visit sscmusic.org/blues/ or contact Donna Ryan at d.ryan@sscmusic.org or 781-421-6162, ext. 207.


Singing with Parkinson’s

Group Of Seniors Singing In Choir TogetherBy Eve Montague
Director of Creative Arts Therapies
Since arriving at South Shore Conservatory as a music therapist in 2008, I have been focused on bringing the therapeutic benefits of music to varied populations, especially those who, because of health or physical challenges, may have taken music participation off their list of possible activities.  Over the past 10 years, we have brought the joy of music to individuals with autism, developmental delays, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss.  Starting January 16, 2019, we can add one more population to the list:  folks living with Parkinson’s disease.

Singing with Parkinson’s, a new chorus designed for individuals living with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners, is directed by board certified music therapists highly skilled in adaptation and accommodation.  The structure of music and its ability to re-circuit in our brains when areas shut down, provides opportunity for individuals living with Parkinson’s to address multiple symptoms in a fun and social way. A partnership between SSC and the South Shore YMCA, the chorus is supported by a grant from the American Parkinson Disease Association, MA Chapter.

The first session of Singing with Parkinson’s starts Wednesday, January 16, from
1 – 2:30 pm at  Laura’s Center for the Arts, South Shore YMCA, 97 Mill Street, Hanover.

To register or for more information, please contact Eve at e.montague@sscmusic.org or 781-934-2731 x20. No prior experience is necessary to participate in this free chorus.


Rocking Out at Monster Jam

nathan tesler performing croppedBy Nathan Tesler
Since early elementary school, I have been involved with the South Shore Conservatory piano and JRP departments. From personal experience, I know that many music students, especially piano students, often are isolated with their playing, with little opportunities to play with others. Playing with other musicians is instrumental to any musician’s growth. As a piano student at South Shore Conservatory (SSC), I luckily had the opportunity to participate in several groups and events that allowed me to play with others. One of these events was Middle School Monster Jam. For music students with little experience playing with others, this is one of the best events you can participate in, and also a whole lot of fun.

At Monster Jam, a large group of middle school student musicians, who have never played together before, comes together to learn a popular song (for example “Let it Be” by The Beatles or “Ride” by Twenty Øne Piløts) in one night, then performs it for an audience at the end of the night. When you arrive at Monster Jam, the air is filled with creativity and possibility. Students are quickly separated into groups, based on their instrument, in which they are coached to play the music they perform later that night. Some of us already know the song, others have just scanned the music before arriving, and some are hearing the song for the first time. After we learn the parts in groups, we all join together to practice the song right before we do a performance. It is amazing how quickly we go from being strangers, or maybe just knowing one another a little, to collaborating so well on stage. In other words, music really brings people together.

After scrambling to get the song good enough to perform, we watch our parents start to shuffle back in to the performance hall to watch the final performance. Through the intro of the song we are all nervous, but once the singers jump in with the chorus, we begin to feel more comfortable. We loosen up our playing and start to improvise. The performance always ends up sounding great, and we are sad for it to end. After saying goodbye to the new musicians we’ve met, we head home and put the next Monster Jam on our calendars.

I personally enjoy Monster Jam so much because it is an easy and low key opportunity to play with other musicians.  It also helps me in acquiring skills you can only get from playing in groups, including playing from chord charts, playing in rock and pop contexts, and onstage communication. After a taste of playing with others, I was eager to seek new playing opportunities with groups. I now play in a band at South Shore Conservatory called Low Tide. In addition, the last two summers I participated in Summer Music Festival on clarinet and piano in Summer Wind Ensemble and Lab Jazz ensemble, respectively. I now also participate in a jazz ensemble at New England Conservatory. Perhaps best of all, I often get together with friends to just jam.

Middle School Monster Jam is one of the best South Shore Conservatory events for middle school students. You are not taking full advantage of the Conservatory if you don’t go to this event. Monster Jam is a great time, and a great place to get started down the path of playing popular music and playing in groups. I hope to see you there!

SSC’s next Middle School Monster Jam is Friday, January 11, from 7-9 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. The song the group will be playing is “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons.  You don’t need to be an SSC student to participate.  Pre-registration is required.  More at https://sscmusic.org/monster-jam/.

Nathan Tesler is an eighth grader at Hingham Middle School. He is a member of Low Tide, a rock band coached through South Shore Conservatory. You can find them online at @the_low_tide_band_official (Instagram) and Low Tide Band (You Tube).

How I’ll be chasing away my winter blues

By Brooke Valentine

I’ve been involved with South Shore Conservatory (SSC) since my son Vance started in Music Together® a couple of years ago, and I’m looking forward to attending SSC Chase Away the Winter Blues gala on Saturday, January 26.  Winter months in New England can be long and harsh, and I see this as the perfect opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy a night out with friends while listening to great music and supporting a wonderful cause.

I joined South Shore Conservatory’s Board of Trustees this past September, and was asked to help run the Blues gala. With both my son and daughter Carter currently enrolled in SSC’s arts-integrated Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten program, I believe strongly in arts education, finding this thoughtful and intentional method of teaching an effective way for my children to remember what they learn. I was eager to help provide access to music and arts education for more children.

Chase Away the Winter Blues, SSC’s annual fundraiser supports the important work the Conservatory does at their campuses and out in the community.  This event is a wonderful, festive evening of music, dancing and celebration. All proceeds benefit tuition assistance, Community Partnerships and Creative Arts Therapies programs.  We hope, throughout the evening, attendees will develop a better understanding of the fantastic programs SSC offers, and the valuable impact the programs have on our communities.  Last year we raised over $325,000. We’re hoping to beat that this year.

Of course, it would not be a Conservatory event if it were not bursting with fantastic music.  The evening starts with a cocktail reception and our incredible SSC Quartet, which includes Jeff Williams on keys, Peter Mundt on bass, Ted Sajdyk on drums, and Trevor Kellum on sax.  Next, there is a seated dinner program full of exceptional music along with a live auction.

For those can’t make it to the full evening, there is an After Party starting at 9 pm. (This is a great option for parents who may want to put young children to bed before heading out!)  It is guaranteed to be a fun night filled with music, delicious food, desirable silent auction items, and dancing.  We are thrilled to have an After Party Piano Bar with Jeff Williams on piano, Emily Browder-Melville on vocals, along with Peter Mundt on guitar and vocals.  Past attendees will be delighted to discover that East Coast Soul is back for our Dance Party!

Guests have the opportunity to participate in both the live and silent auctions.  I’m excited about all the fabulous auction items.  The live auction includes Boston Red Sox Ticket package, a South African safari, and a private dinner party catered by Paul Wahlberg. There are many more, though. In addition, this year we have a silent auction with exciting, unique items and experiences, such as a Private Wine Tasting, Interior Design Consultation, personal one-on-one activities with SSC Preschool/K teachers (ex: bowling, movies, etc.), one week of SSC Arts Camp, and an at-home Music Together class with friends.  This is going to be such fun!

South Shore Conservatory’s annual Chase Away the Winter Blues gala is Saturday, January 26 at 6 pm at the Boston Marriott Quincy, 1000 Marriot Drive, Quincy.  Gala tickets include cocktail hour, dinner, dessert bar, live music, live and silent auctions and the After Party. The After Party starts at 9 pm.  For those who would like to make it a night away, SSC has reserved a block of rooms at a discounted rate.

More information about Blues at https://sscmusic.org/blues/, or by contacting Donna Ryan at d.ryan@sscmusic.org or 781-421-6162, ext. 207.  Don’t be left out in the cold!!