SSC Community Voices: Everyone welcome and accepted

Hayley Cardilloby Hayley Cardillo
When I walked into my first SSC Community Voices rehearsal at South Shore Conservatory, I didn’t know what to expect. I have experience working with kids with disabilities, but I knew my experience with adult and adolescent singers with developmental delays would be unique. I remember first night introductions. When it was my turn, I received cheers from all the members. They didn’t know me, but they instantly accepted me into their community, and that stuck with me.

This sense of welcome continued throughout the whole year, making each rehearsal easier and easier. It became an inclusive, friendly environment in which I could learn and have fun. Our first performance was the Christmas Recital. In the weeks leading up to that performance, I learned lessons about accompanying that I wouldn’t have learned working with a different choir. I made mistakes, but with guidance from SSC Community Voice conductors Eve Montague and Jocelyn Khoo, the group turned my mistakes into a lesson for all.

The chorus’s energy onstage was palpable. To know that I contributed to such a wonderful performance is one of the greatest feelings. Having known kids with similar disabilities, and understanding their likes and interests, it is amazing to see that there are opportunities well into adulthood for them to continue doing what they enjoy. At the spring concert, Eve put together a video to celebrate the ten year anniversary of SSC Community Voices, and interviewed a few of the longtime members. They accept everyone, and seeing how important the chorus is to them, encourages me to put my best foot forward everyday in everything I do. All around, Community Voices has been an amazingly positive experience for me. It pushes me to my limits in a good way, and I can’t wait to continue this September.

On a similar note, I am also continuing to play bass with the SSC band Yardsale. I joined four fantastic musicians last January who instantly accepted me as well. After only the first rehearsal, I felt like I had known them forever. We all get along very well, which sometimes impacts the productivity of our rehearsals, but I wouldn’t change that for the world. It’s incredible that five kids from different towns and of different ages can unite and create music for others, and even more so that I’m able to be a part of it. It’s become a judgment free environment for all of us to explore our own creativity. I look forward to our upcoming semester, and I would encourage anyone to join a rock band if they are interested.

Despite the differences between SSC Community Voices and my SSC rock band, both have given me distinct places in which I know I am welcome. Both offer variety to my life for which I am especially grateful. The friendships I have formed through my band and Community Voices have made me who I am today and will stick with me for the rest of my life.

SSC Community Voices at our Duxbury campus, and SSC Community Voices, Too! at Laura’s Center for the Arts, 97 Mill Street in Hanover, are inclusive choruses for singers age 16 and up. Both choruses meet Wednesday nights. Their  fall session starts September 25. Singers of all abilities are welcome. For more information on SSC Community Voices, visit Learn more about Rock Band at

Hayley Cardillo is a piano student at South Shore Conservatory. 


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