That wasn’t written for me, but I’m going to do it anyway!

Donald Zook

By Donald Zook
Over the past 30 or so years, I have played hundreds of concerts with music written specifically for my primary instrument, the flute.  Recently, though, I was thinking it would be a neat idea to have a whole concert of music that was never intended to be played by woodwind instruments, but performed on woodwinds.  It opens up a whole realm of possibilities!  Thus, the concert Gone with the Winds: That wasn’t written for me! was conceptualized.

I told my fellow South Shore Conservatory (SSC) woodwind musicians they could pick pieces they have always loved to listen to but never had the opportunity to play.  The challenge, of course, is that our instruments have more limited range and capability than other instrument families. String instruments, for example, have a more extensive range than woodwinds; plus they are capable of playing more than one note at once.

When we transcribe a piece, we are particularly sensitive to what the composer had in mind.  Generally speaking, any piece of music can be transcribed and played on another instrument. Yet the result is not always the same. Some transcriptions I have played I will probably never play again, while others worked out so well it sounds better than it did on the original instrument for which it was written.

All the pieces we’ve chosen have that hum-ability factor about them and are recognizable.  You won’t be able to mistake the Carmen Suite selections that trumpet player Andrew Moreschi will be performing, nor Louis Armstrong’s Struttin’ with Some Barbecue performed by saxophonist John Vanderpool.  As for me, I chose L’pres-midi d’un faune by Debussy, a piece originally written for a full orchestra.  I thought it would be particularly challenging and fun to re-create Debussy’s piece for just two instruments (flute and piano) instead of 60.  I am particularly excited to hear clarinetist Gita Brown play a work written by J.S. Bach.  The clarinet was just invented in 1690, right around the birth of Bach.  There are absolutely no pieces written for the clarinet in the baroque era, so it will be delighted to hear what Bach missed out on.

This is not the first time this cast of musicians has performed together in concert. In particular, I have played with SSC pianist Sarah Troxler many times before.  I’m sure she’ll agree we make a wonderful team.  She is a very creative and sensitive performer. It is the first time I will have the honor of playing with clarinetist Peter Bianca. I am excited to discover what ideas he will bring to the performance of Franz Doppler’s Andante and Rondo.

I invite you to join us on Sunday, October 15, 4 pm at 64 St. George Street in Duxbury, or October 22, 4 pm at One Conservatory Drive, Hingham, for Gone with the Winds: That was not written for me!.  Relax, close your eyes and let the winds faculty spark your imagination with musical possibilities.

This is the first of five Conservatory Concert Series (CCS) productions in CCS’s 2017-18 season.  Admission is free.  For more information about this and other SSC performances, visit

Donald Zook is Chair of SSC’s Woodwind and Brass Department, and Director of Chamber Music at South Shore Conservatory.


A Toast to Mad Love

MadLoveMusicFestival-2016-6 - Copy

By Suzie O’Neill
When I was seven years old, I used to go with my mom and my sister every Monday night to the Ellison Center in Duxbury where they took guitar lessons from John McCarthy.  Most of the time, I sat in the corner, listening as they learned the chords to “Time After Time” and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but every once and awhile I would wait outside the room and talk to drum teacher Ed Sorrentino.  I was a really shy kid, so when my mom found out that I liked talking to Ed, she signed me up for lessons with him.  I’ve been taking them ever since.

I played percussion in the school band in elementary and middle school, but it wasn’t until a friend asked me to be in an SSC rock band in eighth grade that I really became passionate about playing music.  I thought it was the coolest feeling when we played our songs on stage for the first time. We had mastered our specific musical parts, but when we put all our instruments together, we made unbelievable music.  I was hooked on this music thing!

As I began high school at Notre Dame Academy (NDA) in Hingham, music became an even bigger part of who I was.  I continued playing drums in an SSC rock band, and eventually got up the courage to sing a little bit too.  I taught myself how to play the ukulele, started taking guitar lessons at SSC, and took a class called Songwriting and Composition with Erik Caldarone, all of which broadened my musical horizons.

After a few years of playing in bands in the SSC Rock Band program, Erik encouraged me to apply for the Dave Jodka Scholarship for Future Rockers, funded by Mad Love Music Festival, and one of the most incredible parts of my musical journey began.  I am grateful and honored to be the drummer in the Mad Love band that came to be known as Toast.  The best way to describe Toast and the Mad Love community is as one big family: Kathleen, Clare, Andrew, Conor, and Matthew Jodka – who established Mad Love and the scholarship in memory of their husband/dad Dave – are truly inspiring, and seeing their smiling faces in the audience motivates Toast to continue working hard and spreading the Mad Love in the best way possible – by making music!  In addition, my fellow bandmates have become such good friends that I know I can always count on them.  It is crazy to think we were complete strangers a year and a half ago, and now we are a Toast family that loves making music together!

One of my favorite parts of Toast and Mad Love is the Mad Love Music Festival.  Last year, playing at the festival with Toast was an incredible experience because everyone was so happy to be together, sporting their Mad Love gear, talking with friends, and listening to music.  The Mad Love Music Festival reminds me of the really important things in life, such as laughter, good friends, and of course, Mad Love.

Heading into my senior year of high school, amid loads of homework and many college discussions, I know I’ll be alright because of the love and support of Toast and Mad Love. Although I am not planning to study music in college, it will always be a part of me.  I definitely want to play in a band with friends in college, and I will carry the many musical and life lessons that I have learned during my time at SSC with me wherever I go.  I am excited to be playing again this year with Toast at the festival, and of course, even when I head off to college next year, will always come back home for the Mad Love Music Festival!

South Shore Conservatory’s Mad Love Music Festival is Sunday, October 8, from 11 am to 5 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.  More information at or call 781-452-7455, ext. 206.


Festival Blues Brunch: September 24

Anthony Geraci 5

Anthony Geraci leads the SSC Jazz Trio on Sunday, September 24

It’s nearly here! Our Festival Blues Brunch, with the SSC Jazz Trio, is the best way to kick off our annual JRP Festival this Sunday, September 24 at 11 am!  Great music and yummy brunch foods from Ellen Mackenzie Catering provides a delicious duo!  Grab your tickets now to either brunch (purchase by Saturday, September 23), the 1-6 pm JRP Festival, or a combined ticket at

Celebrating 50 years of Sgt. Pepper on September 24

Cedar Hill Club further cropped5By Deborah Edmundson

I always enjoy September and the start of a “new year” at school and around town.  We get back into our “regular” routines, and reconnect with the friends who have traveled and vacationed away.  It can be bittersweet, but this September will be particularly sweet because South Shore Conservatory is presenting its fourth annual Jazz/Rock/Pop (JRP) Festival on Sunday, September 24.  Starting with a tasty brunch in the Carr Amphitheater, the festival will continue with small ensemble performances by SSC jazz/rock/pop faculty, and end with a performance of the Beatles’ entire Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, in honor of the 50th anniversary of its release.  It’s going to be an afternoon of great music!

My husband Phil and I have been involved with SSC for over 20 years, and have a particular attachment to the Jazz/Rock/Pop department. Our son Will became involved when he was a percussion student there. Watching the variety of teaching and performing styles of the JRP department, I was not surprised to discover it’s the fastest growing department at SSC.  Jazz, rock and pop music is probably not what you think of when you think of SSC, is it?  But it should be!  Expand your definition!  There’s nothing quite like seeing a kid play the electric guitar in public for the first time.  The sense of achievement is palpable, sometimes accompanied by the necessary “attitude,” and seeing the encouragement he/she receives from her teacher is a wonderful thing.

When we’ve attended JRP performances, the educator/performers have certainly impressed us with their musical skill.  From having our children take lessons at SSC, we already knew that the teachers work wonders, truly. But it was delightful to discover they are each accomplished and active performers in their own right.  That secret was too well kept – SSC has amazing musicians on the faculty, and we want to hear them!

At the JRP Festival, they will play a huge variety of music, from traditional jazz, to blues, rock, funk and pop.  Some covers, some original tunes, some you’ll recognize, some that will be new to you.  Some will be as comfortable as your favorite t-shirt, and others may challenge you a little.  One of the things I really like is that there’s always something I didn’t expect, whether it’s an instrument I never knew about, or a new interpretation of a song I thought I knew, or a performer’s personal story of her musical journey.  There will be something you’ll love, and something that will surprise you!

The JRP Festival is so much fun, and it’s an easy way to hear some really outstanding music.  We’re happy to go to Boston to hear great music, but even happier to support great music right here in Hingham.    It’s been 50 years since Sgt. Pepper was released.  Come and celebrate it!  Don’t let another September go by without checking out South Shore Conservatory’s JRP Festival.  I hope to see you there!

SSC’s JRP Festival is Sunday, September 24 from 11 am to 6 pm at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham.  For more information or tickets, visit

Hingham resident Deborah Edmundson is a South Shore Conservatory overseer and a jazz/rock/pop enthusiast.

How music influenced her path in life

Chamber ensemble with Emma DwyerBy Elaine Sorrentino
“Making music and art with other humans creates a phenomenal emotional bond that connects us in a completely unique way, and to be able to experience this every day is a true blessing,” is my favorite line from an essay, written by student clarinetist Emma Dwyer about how music affected her life. I hear different variations of this statement from students and faculty members who feel fortunate to share their talent/passion daily, and witness its effect on others.  It’s remarkable.

This summer, Emma, a recent Scituate High School graduate, received the Malcolm W. Rowell Scholarship, which is awarded each year to an outstanding Summer Music Festival (SMF) musician who has been an SMF participant for at least two years, and intends to pursue a music degree. This scholarship honors Rowell’s deep commitment to music education, and his 23 years as SMF Music Director.

SMF Music Director Eric Laprade explains why she was chosen as this year’s recipient,  “Emma has a bright future as an artist and teacher. She leads through her musicianship and embodies what it means to be dedicated and committed to something you are passionate about. During her many years at Summer Music Festival, we have witnessed her develop into a leader amongst her peers. We are excited by her potential as an educator and eager to see her give back and enrich the lives of others through music making.”

Ithaca College-bound Emma has been involved with SMF for five years.  She talks about how SMF improved her playing, “When I first participated in SMF, I was entering my freshman year of high school; and my musicianship and musical abilities clearly reflected my young age. Up until that point I had never experienced advanced and mature music, but I certainly had quite the introduction when Ticheli’s Vesuvius was handed out to us that year. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement, yet this was a significant transition for me. I was suddenly exposed to an environment where the expectations higher and where I quickly learned that it was crucial for me to take responsibility and play with not only accuracy but also musical intent.”

According to Emma, the music educators in her life, both in Scituate and at Summer Music Festival, have forever impacted her life, showing her a deeper and more emotional understanding of music.  Clearly they have inspired and motivated her to pursue a career in music education, so that she too might have a similar impact on others.

“I’ve always aspired to be like the amazing music educators that have supported me in my musical career. I plan on performing as well, as I enjoy it immensely and I would like to always keep that aspect of music in my life, says Emma.

In addition to being a Scituate High School (SHS) Symphonic Band section leader for three years, and a member of the SHS Jazz Band and SHS Honors Symphonic Band for four years, Emma was also a member of the National Honor Society.  While in high school she took ballet, participated in the volleyball club, and took part in a drama festival.  We wish her luck as she continues her musical journey this fall.

To learn more about SSC programs, including Summer Music Festival, visit, call 781-749-7565, ext. 10, or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.

Elaine Sorrentino is South Shore Conservatory’s Communications Director.

SSC Open House: Discover, Develop, Dream

By Lorna Jane Norris
An eye-opening thing happened to me a few weeks ago. On July 5, I went to buy a table for my back deck. After the grey, cold and rainy June, the temperature was in the 70’s and it was finally time for some outside living. So I headed to Target only to find… the patio furniture had already been replaced by
back-to-school stuff! Ouch. Having been in denial for the past four weeks, I have now officially come to terms with the fact that the summer is winding down and the new academic year is just around the corner. Inhale… exhale.

As we all begin preparing for the inevitable, I hope you will mark your calendars and join us on Sunday, September 10 from 2-4 pm for SSC’s Fall Open House. We’ve got an exciting array of trial programs to show you, and the open house format allows you to explore our educational continuum in a relaxed, fun and informative way. Our staff and faculty will be available to help you determine suitable programs for your school-age children and of course there will be plenty of interactive demo classes to experience.

Here’s what’s on the menu:

For children under six, there will be demo classes for Music Together®, Music Sprouts, Discovering Music, Discovering Drama, Pre-Primary Ballet and Primary Ballet. Visitors are invited to learn more about SSC’s award-winning, arts-integrated Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten programs. We are launching a new FUNdamentals series for ages six and up in rhythm, singing, piano and fiddle, combining skill development with music-making and making new friends. Budding young actors ages six through twelve take center stage for Let’s Put on a Show, and young dancers can participate in a ballet demo.

Suzuki lessons begin as young as age three and a half, and our Suzuki-certified faculty will be eager to explain the Suzuki philosophy and help you assess your family’s readiness for instruction in violin, viola, cello, flute, guitar, piano, and bass. We’ve got the cutest mini violins and guitars for to hear and try out.

For students who want to rock and roll, what better way to spend the afternoon than hanging out with the jazz/rock/pop department? Student rock bands show off what they’ve got, and school-aged visitors are encouraged to join in a band for the afternoon. Bring your voice or instrument and all your friends to check out our rapidly growing Rock Band program.

SSC’s creative arts therapies (CAT) department welcomes students ages 8-11 with sensory or physical needs to try a Music and Movement Group, focusing on self-expression and social interaction through exploration of rhythm instruments. This class is facilitated by a board-certified music therapist who will also be available to provide information about the full range of CAT services for people who learn differently.

We will offer financial incentives for families who register on the day for private music lessons and group classes so save the date and come join us. Between now and then, enjoy every minute of the rest of the summer and if you’ve got a patio table spare, you know where to find me!

South Shore Conservatory is located at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. Admission to all activities is free of charge. For more information, contact Lorna Jane Norris, Vice President of Education at, 781-749-7565, ext. 23, visit, or follow South Shore Conservatory on Facebook or Twitter.

Lorna Jane Norris is South Shore Conservatory’s VP of Education.

9 Musical Quotes by Famous Composers


Have you ever wondered what composers thought about their work? In 18 words or less, these quotes unravel the stories behind the music of some of the greatest artistic masterminds known in music history.

1. “My music is best understood by children and animals.” – Stravinsky

2. “I worked hard. Anyone who works as hard as I did can achieve the same results.” – Bach

3. “Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!” – Chopin

4. “Life is a lot like jazz…it’s best when you improvise.” – Gershwin

5. “Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes.” – Claude Debussy

6. “I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like a composer.” – Bernstein

7. “You write to become immortal, or because the piano happens to be open, or you’ve looked into a pair of beautiful eyes.” – Schumann

8. “When we separate music from life, we get art.” – Cage

9. “Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth.” – Beethoven

Music Therapy: It works both ways


By Jenny Boyd

As a piano student at South Shore Conservatory in the fall of 2012, I was approached by Emily Browder Melville, Chair of the Voice Department, about a new ensemble. SSC Community Voices, Too! was a chorus recently established at the Hingham campus. She asked me if I might be interested in accompanying the chorus, and I eagerly answered “yes!”

When my mother explained to me, a sheltered 12-year-old at the time, that the chorus would consist of teens and adults with developmental delays, I immediately associated the members with the special needs students at my middle school. Most of them were friendly, but some of them acted out when frustrated and that worried me. As the first day of choir practice approached, I worried that I would feel like an outsider.

When the day arrived, Emily introduced herself and me to the group, which consisted of about five singers. All of the chorus members cheerfully introduced themselves. Slowly, my fears dissipated.

After warming up, I played ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and other popular songs as the chorus members sang along. There were tons of smiles, puns, and jokes exchanged among the group as the hour of rehearsal continued. I was amazed at the enthusiasm and energy expressed by each member, and had never seen music have such an immediate impact on people’s spirits. Not only was each of these singers an important part of a musical whole, but the sense of inclusion and mutual appreciation were truly tangible. Although I did not sing with the group, I felt as if I were already a member of the ensemble. The chorus members enthusiastically said, “Bye Jenny!” as rehearsal ended, followed by, “I can’t wait to sing again next week!”

Music brings people together, cultivating compassion and making us forget our ostensible differences.

Our small choir of five has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012, and as I accompany the group each year I learn more and more about the power of music; something I used to take for granted. I’m grateful to each chorus member for revitalizing my interest in exploring music’s transformative power. The chorus reminds me each week that music is best when enjoyed for the art form it is, and even better when you enjoy it with other people.

I no longer live with my previous preconceptions about people with disabilities. This chorus teaches me to embrace those who are different, since we’re only as different as we believe we are. Music brings people together, cultivating compassion and making us forget our ostensible differences. SSC Community Voices, Too! reminds me to welcome the feelings of unity, within myself and within groups, which the arts create.

I know I made the right choice when I said “yes” to Emily’s invitation to accompany the chorus. Music is even more meaningful to me now. I truly believe I’ve become a more compassionate and understanding person since I started with SSC Community Voices, Too!. While I’m not a music therapist, I think arts therapy has the potential to create a more inclusive and accepting world. I now understand that music therapy works not only for those who receive but also for those who practice it. It works both ways.

SSC Community Voices Too! is one of many creative arts therapies programs, for those who learn differently, at South Shore Conservatory. The group also welcomes singers without developmental delay to participate in this joyful chorus as a mentor. Learn more at or contact Eve Montague, Director of Creative Arts Therapies at

Just Captured: Fun at Piano Camp!


Mario Ajero teaches piano camp students a lesson in music technology.

South Shore Conservatory is excited to announce the first annual SSC Piano Camp! SSC Piano Camp is open to piano students of all levels ages 5 to 18.

With a mix of world-class piano educators from SSC and around the country, daily activities include masterclasses, ensembles, music theory, composition, improvisation, songwriting, music technology and more. In addition, students have daily performance opportunities at the end of the day.