The sounds of summer

Radio days picBy Beth MacLeod Largent
As I write this, it’s been raining for WEEKS on end, and thoughts of a nice hot summer feel like a far-away dream of paradise that might arrive……someday, maybe, sigh. I try not to let the weather get me down too much, as I know that summer always arrives, in all its hazy glory, and with it, bulbs hidden under the cold wet ground finally flower.

It’s my joy to continue programming performances for South Shore Conservatory’s Summer Spotlight series, which includes our Saturday Evenings Under the Stars concerts for those looking for entertainment for date night, as well as Wacky Wednesday concerts for our younger audience members. I believe that now, more than ever, live performance is an integral part of life to be experienced and savored.

Why do I feel so passionately about this? Because when I go to a restaurant during the dinner hour and look around, I don’t see many families actually talking and interacting together, sharing the experience.  I see many families with children and adults in their own worlds, focused on some kind of electronic devise. That makes me work even harder, knowing what magic there is in sharing a live, in-the-moment experience, such as a family dinner, or a performance under the stars. Anything can happen, and that’s one of the joys of being part of something live.  Everything rolls out organically.

Hours of preparation and practice are only part of preparing for the performance. Since we are outside, the weather might have an impact, and we are prepared. Performances go on rain or shine. Some of my most treasured memories are of tiny puddle-jumping Wacky Wednesdays concertgoers in shiny rain boots, whose joy wasn’t marred by a few raindrops. Entertainers onstage are ready for anything, so don’t be scared of live performance and the weather.  Even a small clap of thunder can add a bit of excitement to an already electrifying performance!  Over the many years I’ve been at South Shore Conservatory, more often than not the sun shines on Carr Amphitheater summer performances.

This summer at Evenings Under the Stars, you’ll see the exuberance of an orchestra that loves playing together once a year (with a conductor who is native to Hingham), a blues master at the top of his game, and you might even bring your dancing shoes so you can boogie along with a Big Band! Dancing is encouraged at all our live performances, and there’s nothing sweeter than seeing our youngest concertgoers movin’ and groovin’ to, perhaps, their very first live performance of Vanessa Trien.

What else will you experience?  At Wacky Wednesdays, bubbles abound at most concerts, of course. We’ve got some return performers (Karen K & the Jitterbugs), and some new performers (Matt Heaton and the Outside Toys).  And on Saturdays, you can purchase your beverage of choice, or bring a fun picnic dinner along, with something special from home.  We want you to be as comfortable as you can under the stars.

Close your eyes and listen – is that a clarinet dancing its way over the strings? Do you feel your shoulders relaxing, your smile returning, your heart lightening? When you are out under the stars, these warm moments become lifelong memories to treasure – especially as the weather turns cold, and we move inside for warmth. Feel the tepid breeze, hear music masters at work, and just BE for an hour or so.  I promise our live performances will be a gift you’ll be glad you gave yourself and your family.

South Shore Conservatory’s Summer Spotlight performances run from July 10 – July 31.  For a full schedule, or to purchase tickets, visit  SSC is located at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham.

Beth MacLeod Largent is South Shore Conservatory’s Director of Performance, and a member of SSC’s voice department.

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