On Monday, February 1, I walked through the front doors of South Shore Conservatory’s (SSC) Hingham campus as its new President. More than a month has passed, but every day I still feel that same sense of excitement and anticipation. There’s a skip in my step, perhaps even a bit of levity, grateful to be doing work I love. My days are full, and time really does fly by when having fun. But sometimes, on my way in or out, I stop and admire the building, filled with a sense of awe and gratitude to those who have entrusted me to care for this beloved institution.
I come to SSC with a deeply personal appreciation for the role that music and the arts play in our lives. This stems from the important role music has played in my own life, from a very early age. A classically-trained singer, I like to say I am not a music educator, but a product of music education. I want others to be enriched with the same experiences that music and the arts have so generously granted me. Coming to SSC at this point in time affords me the opportunity to do so.
Aristotle once said, “Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this, it is clear that the young must be directed to music and must be educated in it.” For me, SSC embodies this through its steadfast commitment to providing broad access to quality music and arts education.
In 1970, SSC emerged as a fledgling community music school with fewer than 100 students, driven by a group of community-minded parents. It’s quite an accomplishment when you consider that more than a half century later, it is the largest institution of its kind in New England. I look forward to continuing to build on that legacy.
Today, SSC stands at the forefront of arts education on the South Shore. A firm believer in creating access, I was drawn to ways in which SSC ensures that its programs are available to individuals of all ages and abilities. Starting with Music Together®, the wide spectrum of educational programming offers a creative path for a lifetime of learning, from early childhood through adulthood. Our arts-based therapy programs break down barriers by promoting healing and inclusivity. Our reach in the community is furthered by concerts and recitals that showcase students, faculty, and guest artists.
My arrival at SSC comes amidst the prolonged backdrop of an unprecedented pandemic. Yet even in a time of crisis, we continue forging ahead, charting a course towards innovation and advancement. Our world as we know it has changed, but our mission has not. The pandemic has not changed what we do, but rather how we do it. With that in mind, I remain hopefully optimistic we will emerge from this with the confidence that music and the arts are more essential now than ever before.
I am excited to serve as President at this important juncture, recognizing a job such as mine is a journey, not a destination. I am honored to be embarking on this journey with the SSC community. Together we will find that our future is bright, and that we must hang our star high, so that we emerge not only as a shining example of a community music school, but a music school that thrives in service to its community.
By Robert Cinnante, President of South Shore Conservatory. He previously served as Executive Director of Waterbury Symphony Orchestra. A tenor, he received his BM and MM from New England Conservatory.