South Shore Conservatory to open third campus in Hanover
By John Laidler
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.
CONSERVATORY NOTES: Marybeth Flynn: SSC Volunteer of the Year
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.
Middleton family funds Memory Cafe at Conservatory
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.
CONSERVATORY NOTES: Familiar faces playing the Nutcracker
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.
CONSERVATORY NOTES: Inspiration beyond the music
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.
CONSERVATORY NOTES: Music Therapy: It works both ways
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
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
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
"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
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...