An Evening of Latin Jazz

Carlos SulburanBy Ed Sorrentino
Have you ever found yourself with headphones on, listening to music, and all of a sudden your feet start involuntarily tapping?  Most times you’re probably not even aware you’re doing it, but folks around you see your feet moving and wonder what catchy tune you’re listening to that inspired your feet to keep the beat.  Often times when we listen to music with a strong beat and multiple percussion instruments, our bodies respond in a percussive way, such as tapping your toes or your fingers.  It’s universal. Clearly, Gloria Estaphan’s not the only one who loves to hear percussion!

As a percussionist, I find this listener engagement very exciting.  It delights me to see my audience engage in such an organic way.  One of the most rhythmic music I enjoy playing is Latin jazz.  This music usually features at least two percussionists who play an assortment of Latin percussion instruments, such as congas, bongos, shakers, or claves.  Playing Latin jazz is challenging, yet rewarding, and requires knowledge of multiple and specific music styles.

With this type of jazz, the musicians play traditional jazz songs, but add Latin rhythms to them.  Familiar artists who are considered masters of Latin jazz include Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Dizzy Gillespie, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz and Elaine Elias to name a few. Some of the rhythms are traditional and some are contemporary, but all add a certain flair to the music.  Most Latin rhythms, such as bossa nova, songo, samba, bolero and merengue, are widely recognized as styles of dance.  These types of songs put a smile on your face and pull you on your feet to dance.

It’s this type of fun, instrument-rich music that South Shore Conservatory’s Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) department presents at An Evening of Latin Jazz on May 11.  This concert is part of the 2017/2018 season of SSC’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Series.  Audiences will hear SSC faculty members Carlos Sulbarán on bass, Jimmy Craven on keyboard, Emily Browder Melville on vocals, Trevor Kellum on sax, and Jesse Stiglich on drums.  We’ve also invited special guest Latin percussionist Anita Quinto of Venezuela to join in the fun. Anita is an amazing percussionist.  In fact, when she was attending Berklee College of Music, she was the first recipient of the Tito Puente Percussion Achievement Award.

This diversely talented ensemble will bring a very strong energy to An Evening of Latin Jazz, and will feature an unforgettable night of body moving, toe tapping, innovatively improvised music.  Audiences will leave purely energized.

In partnership with the Hingham Historical Society, South Shore Conservatory’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Series presents An Evening of Latin Jazz on Friday, May 11, 6:30 pm, at the Hingham Heritage Museum at Old Derby, 34 Main Street, Hingham.  Tickets may be purchased at

For more information about SSC programs and performances, visit or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.

Percussionist Ed Sorrentino is the co-chair of SSC’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Department.


We are so excited about our new COO!

Jim Keenan Headshot
We are delighted to introduce Jim Keenan as our new Chief Operating Officer.  South Shore Conservatory has experienced exceptional growth in recent years, and we were seeking new energy to help shepherd us into the next chapter of SSC’s journey.

Jim is the perfect candidate for this job, bringing with him a broad range of experience in music education and arts administration.  As Vice President of Music School Operations for The Real School of Music, a multi-site contemporary music education company based in Burlington, he experienced success in enrollment, retention, and maintaining quality of the core programs (lessons and ensembles), marketing, operations, and staff/faculty relations.  Exactly what SSC was looking for!

While his Real School accomplishments are extraordinary, what Jim is most proud of is that he was founding director of the Yamaha Corporate Music School in Lexington, MA.  This is school is Yamaha’s first and only company-owned education center in the US, and serves as the showcase center to promote and popularize Yamaha’s education programs throughout the country. His position with Yamaha allowed him to build something from scratch, something he finds exciting. Under his direction, the school grew from a start-up to 850 students, and was enthusiastically received.

Jim has a music education degree and fully understands the challenges his faculty members face.  He will be a great advocate for them and for programs. Fresh out of Ithaca College, he toured for four years as a double bass player with the United States Air Force Band of Liberty.

Music is important to everyone in Jim’s family.  His wife Tristie is director of the elementary band program in Wayland Public Schools.  Their two children are strongly encouraged to be active music makers. One child plays trumpet and the other child plays horn.

Jim starts with SSC on Monday, May 7.  His office is located in Hingham.  Once he’s here, he may be contacted at


Celebrating our seniors in recital: May 4

2018 Rising Stars with Karen JIBy Karen Ji
Over the past nine years or so, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) has become a second home to me. The countless experiences and opportunities I have been offered over the years has really shaped me into who I am today. I never would have imagined that music would be such a huge part of my life, and I owe a lot of that to SSC.

It all started when I met my current teacher, Huimin Wang, at age nine. Transitioning from an in-home studio to a music conservatory, I was extremely reluctant and intimidated by SSC’s new environment, and Huimin’s demanding yet supportive style of teaching. In the end, this was probably the best choice I ever made. Not only did SSC expand my musical skill and involvement, but I also gained a lifelong mentor and friend.

In the early stages of my learning at SSC, I wasn’t as seriously involved as I am today. It wasn’t until I participated in my first Concerto Competition, that I found myself actively wanting to succeed. I did receive third place, but hearing the first place winners perform motivated me further to pursue my goal. Between then and now, I have competed in at least one competition a year at the Conservatory, and have also competed in outside competitions, such as the Steinway Society of Massachusetts Piano Competition and the New Jersey Talented Young Musicians Association Russian Music Competition. I’ve received multiple first prize and overall awards at the Conservatory, plus various awards from other competitions.

Through SSC, I also found my passion for performing. With access to so many amazing halls and facilities, I gained an abundance of performing experience at a young age. Playing in monthly student recitals allowed me to experience playing my pieces for an audience; while participating in workshops and Accelerando master classes provided additional performance training outside of my private lessons. On top of that, I was granted extremely valuable performance opportunities, such as when I was invited to play Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin with the Evenings Under the Stars Festival Orchestra in the Jane Carr Amphitheater.  In addition, I was able to perform three different concertos on three separate occasions with the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra as a result of winning the overall prize of SSC’s Concerto Competition. These (usually) once-in-a-lifetime opportunities truly enhanced my musical experience and creativity. Undergoing this sort of performing under stress helped me immensely in surviving the grueling college audition process.

After eleven years of hard work and musical training, I have decided to continue studying music in college. I hope to double major in music and mathematics so that I can pursue my academic interests while continuously finding more passion for music.

As I ease into my freshman year at Case Western Reserve University as a music and mathematics major, it will be difficult to say goodbye to the people at SSC who I consider family. I will truly miss the friendly environment that surrounds each and every student, and I hope I will be able to study at a music school just as special as SSC. Even though I will be many miles away, I will always have SSC on my mind, knowing that I will always stay in touch with its warm and loving community.

Celebrate Karen and all of South Shore Conservatory’s 12th grade students, at SSC’s Graduating Seniors Recital on Friday, May 4, 7 pm, at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. This heartwarming concert, showcasing singers, pianists, bassoonists, etc., from Duxbury through Hingham and Braintree, is free and open to the public.

SSC pianist Karen Ji is a Hingham resident.

Great opportunities for high school rockers!

MadLoveFestival-2017 CW (24)

Funded by the Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers, student rock band Toast traditionally headlines SSC’s  Mad Love Music Festival in the fall.

By Elaine Sorrentino

When my boys were in their teens, much of their free time was spent playing rock music with garage bands.  One boy played guitar and keyboard, while the other rocked out on drums. I smiled as the house filled with sounds of instruments tuning, amplifiers blaring, and kids expressing themselves musically (and loudly).  What I enjoyed most was that they were interacting with their friends on a creative level, and that they respected each other’s artistic opinions.  The band was a team, and each player was valued for his contribution to the whole.

As my boys moved into adulthood, the excitement of playing their own original music continued, and they started participating in Battle of the Band competitions, cutting CDs, and playing regularly in nightclubs.  I dragged my mother from club to club so she could hear them perform live. At 76, she was always the oldest one there. These weekend musicians barely cleared enough to pay for their own food and drink for the night, but this was not about the money.  It was about doing what they loved.  Each band member had his own profession outside of music. Gigging was simply what they did for fun.

When I watch South Shore Conservatory (SSC) rock band students perform, I think of my own children, and how grateful I am that they had music in their lives.  Through playing rock music, they formed lasting friendships.  I watch SSC’s young musicians bond over music in the same way my boys bonded with their friends.  The level at which these musicians play is advanced because of the coaching they receive from SSC’s performing educators.  These bands have gone out and played at the New World Tavern in Plymouth and the Middle East in Cambridge – quite an accomplishment for young bands, some with members who are as young as 12 and 13 years old.

One of the most exciting young bands at South Shore Conservatory is called Toast.  SSC’s only auditioned rock band, Toast is underwritten by the Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers, funded by proceeds from the Mad Love Music Festival.  High school students accepted into this rock band commit to more than one year of weekly ensemble coaching, and learn about everything from recording sessions, songwriting and composition practice, to creation and distribution of merchandise, to booking venues and gigs. And, of course, they are always one of the featured bands at Mad Love. The members of Toast, both past and present, are driven and passionate about learning about all elements of being a professional musician.

High school musicians interested in auditioning for the Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers and joining Toast should complete the form at, and return it to SSC with a guardian’s signature.  Students should also submit a two-minute performance video playing their instrument(s) and/or singing to  All application materials are due by May 11, 2018. 

For students in middle and high school who are looking for a shorter, more concentrated rock band experience, SSC runs a Jazz/Rock/Pop Summer Camp in its Carr Amphitheater, from August 6-10.  This week-long rock band camp is designed to strengthen musicianship skills and teach students how to collaborate with their peers in learning music that ranges from the iconic to the obscure. This is done through engaging songwriting, improvisation and music technology workshops, ensembles masterclasses and performances. 

To learn more about South Shore Conservatory rock programs, visit or call 781-749-7565, x10.

Elaine Sorrentino is South Shore Conservatory’s Communications Director.



Friends for Life

Hip Hop danceBy Su D’Ambrosio

We all have friends with whom we share a common bond that somehow lasts for our entire lives. They might be friends we made in high school or college, friends we made in a performing group or a sports team, or friends who helped us cope with a difficult time in our lives. Somehow, even though we don’t see these people often, when we do get together or talk on the phone, it’s as if we are picking up exactly where we left off so long ago. There is a familiarity and connection that binds us in a very strong and ntimate way. One experience that often creates these kinds of bonds is summer camp.

Maybe it’s the relaxed nature of summer, everyone letting their guard down and enjoying the sunshine. Or, maybe it’s that summer camp brings young people together around a shared common interest. In the arts, there is an inherent emotional element that connects participants as they work together to create something meaningful and beautiful. The teamwork and collaboration necessary to perform in a large ensemble, a play, a dance concert, or a chorus, is so very intimate and transformative that participants often develop friendships and relationships that last a lifetime.

The arts provide a unique way to communicate and connect. There is the non-verbal communication involved between participants, which results in the creation of a beautiful piece of music, drama or dance.  And then there is the element of communication between the group and the audience during a performance. Sharing an incredible product entirely made of the collective effort of each individual member is a powerful experience. We often find that students are reluctant to leave after the culminating performance of our summer camps, because they want to hold on to that exhilarating feeling of connection to each other and their audience.

At a time when our society struggles with issues of violence and disconnect, here at South Shore Conservatory we are extremely lucky to be surrounded by the beautiful creative energy of our students year round, and especially during our fun and focused summer programs. We are blessed by the great joy and privilege of catching young people at their best, in the greatest light of positive productivity with the goal of sharing their talents with each other and the community.

Whether it’s our American Music Camp for Strings students jamming fiddle tunes on stage, our Summer Music Festival students stretching the limits of their abilities to realize a difficult wind ensemble piece, our Summer Vocal Institute bringing students ages seven to eighteen together to collaborate on a production number, our Summer Drama students learning a new play, our Rock Camp students writing original music, our Flute Symphony students bringing adults and young people together, our Summer Ballet students creating choreography, or our Piano Camp students learning new styles of music, all our summer programs result in young people making new friends for life.

Learn more about SSC’s summer programs at, call 781-749-7565, x10, or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.

Su D’Ambrosio is Director of Programs and Curriculum for South Shore Conservatory.  She lives in Plymouth with her daughters Maria and Rosa, and her dog Bernie who, although they did not meet at summer camp, will always be Su’s best friend for life.

Jane Carr: Hingham’s Citizen of the Year

Jane Carr - Hingham Citizen of the Year 2018
Here at South Shore Conservatory, we’ve known for years that SSC founder and trustee Jane Carr deserves to be Hingham Citizen of the Year, and we’re delighted she was presented this honor at the South Shore Country Club yesterday.


Jane, we cannot thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do make sure the arts are here for all who wish to access them.  You have a huge heart, and we adore you!

Beautiful in pink, here is Hingham Citizen of the Year Jane Cheever Carr, along with former winners Geri Duff, Alexander Macmillan, Tom Carey, Jane Carr, cousins William S. Reardon and Katharine Reardon, Tom O’Donnell, Edna English and Eileen McCracken.

Congratulations Jane!

Meet Chris Stoddard

Chris StoddardBy Chris Stoddard
As a lifelong Hingham resident and member of the Hingham Public Schools’ music program for seven years, I knew about South Shore Conservatory (SSC) but didn’t get the chance to experience their wonderful programs until I was in middle school. I played the trombone in my school band, but I wanted to branch out and try something different, so I started playing bass guitar in a rock band. I quickly realized I could benefit from a lesson or two. It was then that I decided to try out SSC, and before long found myself truly enjoying my playing and getting better at my instrument.

After many weeks of growing increasingly comfortable with my technique, my band participated in a yearly performance contest at the Conservatory, where we received the highest possible awards for our rendition of the classic Chuck Berry tune Johnny B. Goode. As someone with performance anxiety, this was a huge moment for my self-esteem, and invigorated my playing to the point where I was comfortable tackling our biggest performance yet: playing on a float in the Hingham Fourth of July parade. Without SSC, I doubt I would have had the confidence to feel as though this was something I would be capable of undertaking without suffering from the potential embarrassment of playing the wrong notes.

When I joined my college’s radio station, I continued my musical journey albeit on a slightly different path. Speaking on air, at Ithaca College, to a crowd of tens of thousands of listeners was a daunting task that, due to my experiences in musical performances, made me feel much more prepared for the challenge. I involved myself with just about every show we broadcast, developing an affinity for a variety of genres and eventually becoming the music director, where I was able to choose what music we would add into our weekly rotation. I was also on the executive board of our Bureau of Concerts during my senior year, overseeing ticketing for on-campus concerts. Though I wasn’t doing much musical performance, as I watched many extremely talented student bands, I recognized the value in it. After graduating with a business/marketing degree, I returned home.  When I saw that SSC was in search of a marketing associate, it felt like the perfect opportunity to put my marketing and music skills to good use.  I’m happy to say I am SSC’s new marketing associate, helping with social media and general marketing.

As an SSC staff member, I hope to attract students of all ages who want to improve their artistic abilities and feel more comfortable in their performances. When I was taking lessons at SSC, I wish we had events like JRP Day: Guitar Summit! on April 28 at our Duxbury campus. Our Jazz, Rock, and Pop (JRP) program, gives students the skills to play in rock bands. A free event, JRP Day showcases two expert guitarists Jon Finn of Jon Finn Group, and Jon Catler of 13 O’Clock Blues Band. There will also be a workshop by blues pianist and SSC faculty member Anthony Geraci, as well as a rhythm event led by SSC’s Ed Sorrentino! Most importantly, the finale features invitational performances by JRP students and bands, showcasing the talented individuals who play an integral role in our organization.

When I started taking lessons at SSC, I wouldn’t have believed that in less than ten years, I would be working as a marketing associate for the largest community arts organization in New England.  I still need to pinch myself in the morning to remind myself I’m not dreaming.

To learn more about South Shore Conservatory programs and events, visit or call 781-749-7565.

SSC named Best Music Class

Best Music Class

South Shore Conservatory was recently notified it has been named Best Music Class in the 2018 Macaroni Kid Gold Daisy Awards. We are beaming with pride!

With over 7,950 weekly newsletter subscribers, Macaroni Kid South Shore Boston, is a website that is one of the fastest growing free weekly event listing and parenting resources in the area. It is often the place that parents turn to when they are looking for family-friendly businesses like ours. Many of our Wacky Wednesdays concert-going families discovered us through Macaroni Kid. They are proud to be considered a trusted and valuable resource for local parents.

For more information on SSC music classes, visit

Performathon: a chance to give back

Rebecca Eneyni

By Rebecca Eneyni
As I walk into the familiar green framed doors of the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Derby Street Shoppes, a stream of warm air, carrying the wooden smell of crisp paper, greets me.

And yet this isn’t any ordinary day in Barnes & Noble, I conclude, as the lyrical call of a flute turns my attention to the blue and white South Shore Conservatory (SSC) banner hanging daintily in the storefront. Barnes & Noble has been transformed with SSC’s presence into a bazaar: the in-store Starbucks offers all the treats and coffee an overworked student or parent could desire, with the center focus on the showcased SSC musicians, filling the bookstore with music.

South Shore Conservatory’s Performathon has been an annual tradition since the mid-1990s. Students of all ages perform in a series of hour-long mini-recitals over the course of four days, all in the name of helping other students. Performathon participants receive a pledge sheet to collect sponsorship money for SSC’s tuition assistance program.

Since I started flute lessons at SSC in the summer of third grade, I have performed in Performathon each year. Not only does this four-day performance marathon provide important exposure for young musicians by performing in a low-stress, yet public environment, but it empowers students to take the lead on raising money to benefit their peers.

Speaking at South Shore Conservatory’s Annual Meeting of the Overseers a few months ago, I informed them that our generation is powerful. We take the lead on charity work, speak out against injustice, and are incredibly mindful, intelligent, and compassionate people. Musicians, in particular, have learned to express emotion through their music, and in doing so, have become especially socially-aware, empathetic people. It is these people that SSC puts to work at Performathon in helping others to grow just as they have as musicians.

Thus, over the years, I have found the most compelling element of SSC’s Performathon is that it provides an arena for students to help students. Every SSC member has seen over the course of their time at the Conservatory how profoundly music has improved their life; it is their passion for music that is funneled into charitable work at Performathon. No musician would balk at the opportunity to give another child the opportunity to become a musician too. Operating with that simple fact in mind, SSC’s Performathon has garnered immeasurable success over the years.

As I am now SSC’s junior intern and part of their Student Leadership Team, I will be taking on a new role at the event by volunteering. I’m looking forward to becoming a greater part in the administrative element of the event, to make sure that it runs smoothly and performers have all the equipment they need to both put on a great performance and raise money for SSC tuition assistance. I believe the Student Leadership Team’s participation in this event perfectly encapsulates its spirit: students helping other students. I urge you all to attend and participate in Performathon to secure a new generation of thoughtful musicians whose potential is not hampered by financial constraints.

SSC’s Performathon 2018 runs Thursday, April 5 – Sunday, April 8 at Barnes & Noble, 96 Derby Street in Hingham.  Friends can lend their support by sponsoring a Performathon participant, pledging online at, by making purchases at Barnes & Noble and mentioning South Shore Conservatory at checkout from April 3 – April 8, or shopping online at  from April 3 – April 13 and entering Bookfair ID# 12323838 at checkout. Barnes & Noble donates a portion of the total sales to SSC.

Flutist Rebecca Eneyni is a junior at Wellesley High School. She has been with SSC since third grade, when she began flute lessons with Donald Zook. 


Special yoga for special kids

Sonia and James YFSC 2017
By Gita Brown
Raising a child is one of the most challenging jobs in the world, but when your child has special needs the job gets more complicated. James is a four-year-old with curly blond hair and a devastatingly adorable smile. He idolizes his older cousin, delights in swimming, and has a surprising affinity for old school Frank Sinatra. James also has cerebral palsy; and while his reading and math comprehension tests at age level, he is dependent on the adults in his life for all daily living activities. He is still learning how to walk and talk, eats through a combination of feeding tube and mouth, and has a constant rotation of therapy, doctor’s visits and specialized schooling.

His mom, Annie, describes herself as, “more than mom; I’m his medical advocate, therapy and doctor scheduler, counselor, medical assistant for his feeding tube and medications, special needs advocate.” But Annie, herself a teacher, was determined to “find ways to help him grow. I knew that he’d never be able to play team soccer, but I was determined to find him an extracurricular activity. That’s when our Fragile Footprints nurse told us about Yoga for the Special Child.” Fragile Footprints Pediatric Palliative Care, part of Cranberry Hospice, provides service to medically fragile children and their families. Their generous financial support gives James weekly yoga classes.

I first met Annie and James on a raw October afternoon. As rain pelted the windows, Annie settled a few feet away so James could still see her as we began our first yoga class. Besides falling in love with his infectious giggle, I quickly saw that James loves learning. We start each yoga class with a chant, and Annie said, “I was blown away at how quickly he started to chant ‘Om’ with you. For a child that doesn’t speak yet, this is huge.” I moved onto teaching James the building blocks of yoga positions.  Because of his cerebral palsy, it takes more time and steps to build into yoga positions, but with patience James is learning to improve his mind and body connection, build strength and endurance. Annie says, “Yoga has helped strengthen him to hold his body upright; which means that auditory and visually he has much more confidence and can participate in life. I’ve noticed this past year we went to events and instead of crying due to overwhelm and fatigue, he smiled and held his head up. Yoga gives him comfort and confidence in his body, so that he can step outwards from that comfort and into the world.”

Last August, James put his skills on display when Sonia Sumar, founder of Yoga for the Special Child®, came to visit South Shore Conservatory. James attended the Yoga for the Special Child Basic Training Program as a demonstration student. With mom and me looking on, Sonia and James demonstrated a full yoga class to a packed house of program attendees. They fell in love with James’ smile, and were thrilled to observe the practice they had studied come to life.

The training is open to everyone, from pure beginners to yoga teachers, nurses, occupational therapists, parents, caregivers, or anyone interested in teaching yoga to kids with special needs. This August 19-24, Sonia Sumar and I are leading a Yoga for the Special Child Basic 1 Program at South Shore Conservatory’s Duxbury campus. Of course, James and his mom will be there to share their practice and demonstrate the power of yoga to change lives, one breath at a time. We’d love to have you join us.

For more information contact Gita Brown at or call 781-749-7565, x49.