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Hingham's South Shore Conservatory recognized for its teaching model

Posted by dinouye  November 15, 2011 10:42 AM

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Kathy Czerny speaks to guild members during Saturday's event at the South Shore Conservatory

The South Shore Conservatory has been recognized by the National Guild for Community Arts as one of the leading cultural and artistic centers in the nation.

Members of the visited the Hingham conservatory last Saturday, as part of this year’s Annual Conference for Community Arts Education. The guild also visited the Huntington Theatre, The Institute of Contemporary Art, and Boston Ballet on this trip.

It’s a milestone event for the staff of the conservatory staff, which initially was an offshoot from the New England Conservatory, then branched off on its own in the 1960s after a group of parents refused to let the languishing studio flounder.

At Saturday’s session, guild members explored the conservatory’s innovative model, know as that the “continuum” model of artistic education

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A Conservatory student plays Haydn in a string trio to Guild guests.

The approach seeks to provide a continuing course of education for students, one that can be entered into at any age. As a result, infant students all the way to the elderly are taking classes and learning the arts, coming together as part of the conservatory’s family regardless of age or skill level.

“We’re connecting the dots,” said Loma Jane Norris, director of private instruction. “This keeps you invested in the building, and is a new way of thinking in conservatory programming.”

With a 24 percent increase in enrollment over the last three years, it’s clear that their approach is working.

The visit from Guild members only affirmed the staff’s work over the years.

“It’s great to be recognized,” said conservatory President Kathy Czerny. “To have people get a chance to see what we do.”

As the largest conservatory school in New England and the 14th largest in the country, conservatory administrators say that, despite the honor, they still have much to achieve.

According to Jean Morse Jones, the vice chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, the conservatory is looking towards increasing outreach for less fortunate members of the community, who either don’t have transportation to the conservatory’s Hingham facilities, or can’t afford the classes.

The Conservatory is also hoping to undertake a capital campaign that would sustain outreach efforts for the foreseeable future.

Anne Katherine Smith, the director for the Duxbury campus, also said there is much to be done in the conservatory’s sister town, mostly focused on making the Duxbury campus more of a centerpiece in the community for specific aspects of music instruction.
“We’re doing research and being thoughtful,” she said.

To learn more about the conservatory, click here.

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