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History

Now the largest community school for the arts in Massachusetts, and among the top 20 in the country, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) incorporated in 1970 in Hingham after previously serving as a New England Conservatory satellite preparatory program. Nestled in lovely Conservatory Park, the Hingham campus contains more than three floors of beautiful studio and performance space as well as the Jane C. Carr Amphitheater with its state-of-the-art design. The amphitheater offers professional rehearsal and performance space for SSC's many and varied summer programs, including its renowned Summer Music Festival, as well as its popular outdoor summer concert series Evenings Under the Stars and Wacky Wednesdays family concerts.

In 1980, a second campus was established in Duxbury, Massachusetts, and in 1996, SSC purchased, renovated and moved into its present home: the Ellison Center for the Arts.  A former church, the Duxbury campus provides wonderful teaching and ensemble spaces, and a beautiful performance hall housed in the former sanctuary. Between the two campuses, SSC is able to serve students from 32 towns across the South Shore.

SSC was established with the belief that the arts are vital to and an innate part of everyone’s life, regardless of age, ability or circumstance.  SSC’s mission statement: to provide access to exceptional arts education and performance for the South Shore community, fostering creativity, artistic growth, and well-being for individuals of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, reflects the full scope of opportunities and aspirations for which it strives.

SSC is widely recognized as the best source for quality education in music in the region, and has been nationally celebrated for its innovative programming, exceptional faculty and student retention. SSC has over 100 exceptional artist/educators on faculty who are invited to join the faculty based on education, experience, a passion for teaching and a close alignment with SSC’s core values and belief in the mission.  These artist/educators bring their talent and commitment to bear at both campuses and to the entire South Shore through SSC’s community partnerships.

Providing access is the critical component of the mission statement, whether it is welcoming the community to SSC’s two campuses or reaching out beyond its four walls.  Today more than 3,500 students participate in a continuum of over 50 programs including individual lessons in most instruments and voice, an arts-principled preschool and full-day pre-k and kindergarten, performance workshops, monthly recital and concert opportunities, and a variety of performing opportunities including chamber music, jazz, rock, wind, choral and percussion ensembles and Bay Youth Symphony (BaYS), the only symphonic youth orchestra on the South Shore. Over the past few years SSC’s Jazz/Rock/Pop department has been its fastest growing department, with jam-packed programs such as Rock Band, Open Mic and Monster Jam.

Performance is an important part of a complete arts education and is critical to SSC’s success in fulfilling its mission.  Hundreds of performances on the campuses and in the community are presented by SSC including monthly student recitals, concerts by Bay Youth Symphony (BaYS), SSC Community Voices, Pure Treble children’s chorus, Competition Winners and the annual Performathon.  Professional concerts feature our talented faculty and illustrious guests include the Conservatory Concert Series, Evenings Under the Stars, Duxbury Music Festival, and Hingham Jazz Festival.

SSC’s Community Partnership program began in 1999 recognizing that a large segment of the population does not have the opportunity to experience the benefits of participating in music and the performing arts because of financial, geographic, developmental or physical barriers. The Conservatory affirms its access mission through collaborations with schools, community centers, social service agencies, Councils on Aging and other organizations throughout the South Shore. SSC’s flagship partnership program, ImagineARTS, provides arts-integrated literacy learning to over 600 kindergarten students in underserved communities every year.  SSC’s Adult Learning initiative engages adults in hands-on music making and wellness programming.

SSC's Creative Arts Therapies program makes the arts accessible to all populations, supporting the mental, emotional, and physical health of some of our community's more fragile members. At its campuses, and in partnership with agencies and schools across the South Shore, SSC offers music, yoga and art therapy opportunities tailored to specific needs, providing avenues for self-expression, inspiration and hope, with a focus on wellness and healing that build important life skills and community. SSC’s Community Voices is a unique choral program for singers with developmental delays that provides performance opportunities and builds community and skills.  In 2016 the choir was invited to perform for the opening ceremony for Massachusetts’ Special Olympics.

Attentive to its commitment to access for all populations, SSC was chosen to be a founding member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s UP Inclusive Design Initiative.  This UP designation indicates that SSC strives to make its programs and facilities accessible to all learners, regardless of physical or mental ability. SSC is the only arts organization on the South Shore and the only community school for the arts in the state with this distinction.

Through collaborations with South Shore Art Center and the Duxbury Art Association, exhibitions by regional artists are featured in SSC galleries throughout the year.

South Shore Conservatory is a full member of the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts.