SSC NEWS

CONSERVATORY NOTES: A fun camp preview for string students!

Wicked Local

Amanda RobertsBy Amanda Smith Roberts South Shore Conservatory

Our March 3 preview event allows violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, mandolin and ukulele students, ages 3-18, to bring their instrument and explore new areas of string playing...

With the cold weather we’ve been experiencing, I long for the warm months of summer, when there’s an abundance of outdoor camps and performances taking place in the Jane Carr Amphitheater at South Shore Conservatory (SSC). During these cold winter months, however, summer planning is in full swing, which for me means I am now planning for American Music Camp (AMC) for Strings 2018!

It is hard to explain the unique AMC experience in words, so we are offering a FREE preview of the camp for string students to experience the fun firsthand! AMC for Strings began at SSC in the summer of 2015 with the goal of providing students with fun classes and creative opportunities to boost their playing skills, introduce them to new musical styles, improvisational skills, various techniques for their instruments, all of which help them enjoy creating and sharing music with each other. Since its inception, AMC has inspired the majority of its faculty members and student campers to return each summer!

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: Support for those dealing with memory issues

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By Kari O’Briant South Shore Conservatory

When I first heard about Memory Cafés two years ago, I was delighted at the concept. I’ve seen how Alzheimer’s has affected members of my own family, as well as the families of my friends; I imagine there are few people in this country who have not been directly impacted by it. How wonderful that we are creating opportunities to support the people dealing with this disease! I wish this had been available years ago.

In 2017, through South Shore Conservatory I began providing music therapy at Memory Cafés at various local Councils on Aging. These gatherings, designed for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as their care partners, offer a supportive, relaxed environment that eases feelings of stress and loneliness that can occur with these diagnoses and caregiving. I’ve been to cozy events that involved only a couple of participants and allowed time and space for deep discussion, and I’ve been to others with over 20 participants that were energetic and full of lighthearted laughter.

Cafés are typically provided in community spaces, free of charge, and staffed by individuals with experience in Alzheimer’s and dementia. They usually center on a theme, such as a co-occurring holiday, often include engagement in an activity such as art or music, and can include educational opportunities. Music provides space for expression and connection.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: All You Need Is Love: Music of the Beatles

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Paul HoffmanBy Paul Hoffman South Shore Conservatory

I Want To Hold Your Hand, Eight Days A Week, Let It Be, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Just hearing these song titles by The Beatles conjures up magical images and memories for all of us, whatever our age may be.

The profound impact their music has had on pop culture is irrefutable, as is the way it has touched our very souls. Because of this, I am excited to be one of eight South Shore Conservatory (SSC) musicians performing in All You Need is Love: Music of The Beatles this February.

I was born in 1964. That was a pretty big year for the Fab Four. They arrived in America on February 7 of that year to embark on their first US tour, which included two historic appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Their first movie, A Hard Days Night was also filmed and released that year.

The soundtrack of my childhood was dominated by their music. Even my parents had an album of the Hollyridge Strings performing orchestral arrangements of The Beatles’ songs. But I liked to listen to the real thing! And there was a boy in my neighborhood (a friend of my older brothers, really), named Todd, who was, not only my resource for cool music, but also my first de facto piano teacher.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: Play is at the heart of learning

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By Rachel Gellis South Shore Conservatory

If you are a parent, I welcome you to take a journey back in time to think about your fondest preschool and kindergarten memories. Did it involve standardized tests? Staring at an iPad? Sitting still in your chair for a length of time?

More than likely, these are not the memories that come mind, but unfortunately, this is what school often looks like today. The warm memories you have likely involve making new friends, creating messy art projects, playing cops and robbers on the playground, cooking in the play kitchen and playing restaurant, singing songs with your classmates, learning to tie your shoes, and the best of days when your teacher would take the parachute out of the closet.

Remember what you loved about preschool as a child, while playful and fun, you were learning skills to be successful in the real world. Playing cops and robbers or restaurant, you were learning to make friends, take turns, follow rules, using imagination, and learning how to get along with others.

Creating messy art projects, you were flexing your creativity muscle and learning that the process is just as important as the product. You were learning self-help skills and were so proud of yourself when you learned to tie your shoes. You were becoming independent. Although the parachute might have just been for fun, we believe having fun is an integral part of learning.

At South Shore Conservatory, or SSC, we are taking things back to basics. With a comprehensive foundation of social and emotional skills, combined with an arts-integrated curriculum, we are creating a life-long love of learning in our students.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: From dream to reality: bringing the arts to all communities

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By Anne Smith South Shore Conservatory

At SSC we believe that the arts change lives. Our annual Chase Away the Winter Blues gala helps us fund partnership efforts such as this one with Algonquin Heights. The year’s gala is Saturday, January 27 at the Boston Marriot Quincy, 1000 Marriot Drive in Quincy.

One year ago, I was home during a snowstorm when an email arrived from Malissa Kenney. Melissa is social worker and advocate, well known on the South Shore for her work with the ARC, serving individuals with disabilities. As an after-school volunteer at the Algonquin Heights affordable housing community in Plymouth, Malissa was well acquainted with the challenges facing that neighborhood. She wrote me in the hopes that together we could provide arts programming to the families living there.

As Director of Community Engagement at SSC, I work with community groups and social service organizations to provide access to the arts off-site, away from our campuses in Hingham and Duxbury. SSC’s mission is to make the arts available to everyone, regardless of age, ability, location, or financial status. A partnership with Algonquin Heights fit seamlessly in to both our vision and our experience.

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South Shore Conservatory to open third campus in Hanover

Boston Globe

By John Laidler
Boston Globe

Image: Artistic rendering of the planned front of the new SSC Campus at 135 Webster Street. Courtesy Roth & Seelen, Inc.

South Shore Conservatory recently announced that it has bought property in Hanover that it plans to develop into the organization’s third campus.

The building at 135 Webster St. will provide the conservatory with 7,000 square feet of mixed-use space to expand its programs beyond those it offers at the group’s existing campuses in Duxbury and Hingham and through partnerships with other schools and agencies across the region.

South Shore Conservatory is the largest nonprofit community school for the arts in Massachusetts, according to the group, offering more than 50 diverse programs in music, dance, and drama. With more than 100 musicians on faculty, the conservatory offers 30 professionally produced concerts annually.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: Marybeth Flynn: SSC Volunteer of the Year

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By Beth MacLeod Largent
South Shore Conservatory

You just never know what adventures are in store for you when you decide to embark on something new. Sometimes you’ll receive exactly what you signed on for, and sometimes doors you didn’t even know existed will open for you. This is what happened to SSC’s 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Marybeth Flynn of Hingham, who was honored at our Annual Meeting last month.

In 2011 Marybeth, an accomplished singer signed up with South Shore Conservatory (SSC) to take an American Songbook class, a new offering at SSC. Since then she has sung with the summer choir for SSC’s Evenings Under the Stars (EUS) productions, studied guitar, participated in Adult Jazz Workshop and adult student recitals, and, just recently became part of an SSC adult rock band! This is probably much more than she expected when she signed up for American Songbook.

From her participation in the summer choir, Marybeth met SSC Volunteer Coordinator Julie Collinge, also a valued member of the EUS choir and SSC’s adult performer community, and became part of the fabric of the volunteer army that makes everything hum along smoothly SSC. And am I grateful!

In addition to being level-headed and cheerful, two important qualities, Marybeth is a real stalwart volunteer, always going above and beyond what is asked of her. After Julie’s encouragement to join the volunteer team, she started volunteering at our Evenings Under the Stars summer concerts (the ones in which she was not performing, of course), and before long she started volunteering for our Conservatory Concert Series (CCS), which run from October through March. If she sees a need she fills it.

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Middleton family funds Memory Cafe at Conservatory

Wicked Local

By Sue Scheible
The Patriot Ledger

South Shore Conservatory in Hingham is starting a Memory Café, for people with memory loss and their care partners to participate in stimulating activities and enjoy social connections and information. The Middleton family is sponsoring it.

HINGHAM -- South Shore Conservatory is starting a yearlong program, the Memory Café, for people with memory loss and their care partners to participate in activities that develop cognitive awareness, explore educational topics, and offer the creative arts.

The new monthly program starts Thursday Jan. 18 and is funded by the Middleton family. It is part of the Conservatory’s Creative Arts Therapies Department. It will be held on the third Thursday of every month at One Conservatory Drive.

A memory café is a social event where, in addition to activities, participants are invited to share refreshment and conversation with others.

The goal of the program is for guests to enjoy a shared experience, participate in activities that help maximize strengths, and socialize with others in a safe and supportive environment

For example, if a participant finds it easier to communicate through song or dance, as opposed to talking, they would be encouraged to participate in movement or music activities. Participants choose their own level of interaction and participation.

As described in a press release, the activities may include arts-based interests such as music, dance or visual arts; cognitive activities such as playing Trivial Pursuit, Name that Tune, word find or board games; motor activities such as broom ball or corn hole.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: Familiar faces playing the Nutcracker

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By Elaine Sorrentino South Shore Conservatory

Everyone loves The Nutcracker, with its magical world of dancing snowflakes, sugar plum fairies, unsurpassed costuming, and gorgeous music that circles through your memory for the entire holiday season. This year, however, there’s another wonderful surprise for those who attend Boston Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at the Opera House this holiday season. You’ll see a couple of familiar faces in the orchestra pit!

South Shore Conservatory (SSC) instructor Robert Marlatt is principal horn for Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, has played with the company since November 1996, and has performed more than 800 Nutcrackers over the course of his Boston Ballet time. He will play 39 performances this season. Also, SSC instructor Elizabeth England has been playing oboe for The Nutcracker since 2016. She was awarded tenure in May of 2017, and will play 44 performances this season.

Both musicians shared that the process of auditioning for Boston Ballet was a bit intimidating, starting with auditioning anonymously from behind a screen for members of the orchestra and the music director! They needed to play a prepared solo piece, customarily repertoire from the orchestral world, such as a Sibelius symphony, Beethoven works, or Stravinsky violin concerto, in addition to works created specifically for the ballet genre, such as Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, or Romeo and Juliet.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: Inspiration beyond the music

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By Dianne Morse South Shore Conservatory

Some of the singers are unable to read, some are blind, some don’t sing at all, some don’t sing anything close to what everyone else is singing, some have perfect pitch, some know all the lyrics after only listening to a song once, but all blend somehow in this wonderfully inclusive group.

Three years ago I retired from the Marshfield public school system as a math coach at the middle school level. Throughout my teaching career, I was always partial to working with struggling learners and special needs students.

Last December I saw a Facebook post about South Shore Conservatory’s SSC Community Voices program for developmentally-delayed adults. It intrigued me and I hoped I’d qualify. Little did I know at the time, but singing ability was not a prerequisite for this group! I contacted Creative Arts Therapy Director Eve Montague right away and offered to be a singing partner.

The first rehearsal I attended was held in January, 2017. I loved the enthusiastic welcome that was given to each singer as they arrived. Directors Eve and Amanda handed out the ‘music’ which consisted only of large print lyrics. As they handed it out they asked each participant, “Are you reading tonight?”

This touched me as so respectful of each person’s ability and dignity as an adult with special needs. Some of the singers are unable to read, some are blind, some don’t sing at all, some don’t sing anything close to what everyone else is singing, some have perfect pitch, some know all the lyrics after only listening to a song once, but all blend somehow in this wonderfully inclusive group.

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CONSERVATORY NOTES: Music Therapy: It works both ways

Wicked Local

By Jenny Boyd South Shore Conservatory

While I'm not a music therapist, I think arts therapy has the potential to create a more inclusive and accepting world.

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. Read more...

Duxbury concert series keeps classical music casual

Patriot Ledger

DUXBURY -- When musicians Donald Zook and Robert Bekkers took the stage Tuesday morning, they left behind their coats and tails. "This is all very casual," Bekkers said backstage. The Coffee Break Concert Series brings live music ranging from jazz to classical to swing in front of a local audience on weekday mornings. Held at the South Shore Conservatory's Duxbury campus at 64 Saint George St., the series is sponsored by the Village of Duxbury. Tuesday's performance, the first of the year, saw faculty members Zook, on flute, and Bekkers, on guitar, highlighting music from the Appalachia. Beth Macleod-Largent, the director of the conservatory, said the series is now in its second year. "It's very intimate," said Macleod-Largent. "So many people are getting entertainment through screens today. It's so important to us that people don't feel a disconnect so we've removed those barriers." Performances are free and usually an hour long. Macleod-Largent stressed that audience members should feel free to 'come as they are.' Read more...

CONSERVATORY NOTES: Molding confident young dancers

Wicked Local

Watching them from the wings, seeing all the perfected corrections from over the years, recalling all the support and unconditional love given to and received from these dancers, was overwhelming.

Last year was a banner year for South Shore Conservatory's (SSC) Dance Department. We made some huge strides forward with our year-end student performance; from what had once been an intimate, casual, in-studio performance for close family members, became an offsite auditorium staged performance. It was delightful!

The lights were bright and warm, the audience was appreciative and attentive, and the dancers shined like wonderful little gems, each one a little bit different. Our students celebrated the accomplishments of their year, whether it was remembering to cross the stage on a diagonal doing chasseé or nailing a difficult series of pirouettes on pointe. It was the epitome of start to finish and every level in between. Read more...

CONSERVATORY NOTES: Scituate musician awarded Malcolm W. Rowell Scholarship

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"When I first started playing clarinet in fourth grade, I quickly realized that practicing my instrument yielded an improvement in my playing. I was able to experience a sense of achievement, which motivated me to want to improve myself. Essentially, music taught me what it's like to work hard and experience the benefits of it." Emma Dwyer

"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. Emma, who has been an integral part of SMF for five years, leaves for Ithaca College in the fall to pursue a degree in music education. Read more...

CONSERVATORY NOTES: Music Therapy: It works both ways

Wicked Local

While I'm not a music therapist, I think arts therapy has the potential to create a more inclusive and accepting world. 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. Read more...