South Shore Conservatory announces SSC Transform

Dr. Eric Laprade, Music Director, SSC’s Summer Music Festival

New initiative seeks to develop empathetic, reflective artist-citizens – South Shore Conservatory (SSC) announces its new initiative SSC Transform, which partners with local high schools, using music education as a vehicle to promote social awareness and social justice.  

This new multi-faceted project is spearheaded by Dr. Eric Laprade, Music Director, SSC’s Summer Music Festival (SMF) and Director of Bands at The College of New Jersey; in collaboration with Lidia Chang, SMF flute faculty and PhD candidate, City University of New York; and Adam Shekleton, SMF conductor and Director of Bands, Randolph High School. 

This initiative was the first one to receive funding from the Kathy O. Czerny Innovation Fund, established to honor the former SSC President’s 14 years of service.  This endowment fund was founded to further South Shore Conservatory’s mission and better serve its community by providing financial support to faculty and staff in the creation and implementation of innovative and forward-thinking programming.  

“Eric’s proposal speaks directly to the intent of the Award – to incent faculty innovation. It is contemporary. It is exciting. It involves the commission of a new musical composition from an underrepresented composer, around which a new teaching curriculum will be developed, followed by on campus performance,” said SSC Interim President Deborah Allinson, who served on the Czerny Innovation Fund Award Team. “The goal is to use music education to create empathetic, reflective, articulate artist citizens. The Award Team found this vision compelling.”

At the core of SSC Transform is the annual commission of a new musical composition that explores a social justice topic. The programs affirms music’s role as a vehicle for social change and seeks to improve our communities through music creation, education, and performance. The program will also include the commission of a teaching curriculum to accompany each composition, equipping music educators with the tools to effectively investigate and explore these oftentimes complex topics.

“Music has the unique ability to enable our students to engage in reflection, discovery, and conversation surrounding complex topics. Through music making, this project seeks to develop the next generation of empathetic, articulate, and reflective artist-citizens.” says Laprade.

South Shore Conservatory celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020.

Access is at the core of every facet of this project.  SSC Transform will partner with five local school music programs in traditionally underserved communities, underwriting the typical consortium fee associated with this type of project. In addition to receiving a copy of the music and teaching curriculum, partner school directors will participate in professional development sessions at SSC, and Laprade will lead clinics with partner schools on the new musical work.  

The commitment to access will be bolstered through “Transform Fellows,”students from each partner school, who receive full scholarships to attend Summer Music Festival and perform in the world premiere of the new composition.  

In acknowledgement of the lack of diversity in the music composition field, SSC Transform will commission underrepresented composers, with the prioritization of artists that are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. 

Laprade said, “We must be proactive and intentional in our work to break down structures that prevent participation or limit diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts,” said Laprade.  “This project strives to improve representation, both through the commissioning process and the clinic/mentorship program associated with the residency. The project is equally intentional in its commitment to engaging with social justice topics and developing the essential skills of empathy, reflection, and critical thinking in our students and community.”

The first SSC Transform work is due to be premiered by Summer Music Festival’s Festival Wind Ensemble at the Jane Carr Amphitheater in Hingham on July 23, 2021.  The selected composer-in-residence will be on campus to work with SMF students for two or three days prior to the performance.   

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About South Shore Conservatory

Celebrating 50 years in 2020, South Shore Conservatory (SSC) is committed to providing access to music and the arts for South Shore residents. Recognized as a national model for arts education by the National Guild for Community Arts Education, SSC is the largest, nonprofit community school for the arts in Massachusetts, serving more than 4,500 students of all ages at two beautiful campuses in Duxbury and Hingham. Students participate in more than 50 diverse programs in music, dance and drama. With more than 100 exceptional musicians on faculty, SSC offers over 200 professionally produced concerts and performances annually. Through innovative partnerships with schools, social services and community agencies throughout the South Shore, SSC brings music and the arts out to the community to enrich the lives of residents. Through its Creative Arts Therapies, SSC offers the benefits of music and the arts to people with developmental and emotional challenges. For more information, visit

In keeping with SSC’s inclusive mission to provide access to quality education in the arts for all, the Conservatory offers programs for all segments of the population to enjoy, regardless of age, ability, geography, and financial means.  Furthermore, South Shore Conservatory admits students and families of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.