HINGHAM and DUXBURY – South Shore Conservatory (SSC) is one year into its new Adult Learning initiative. Before we could implement our initiative, we needed to ask some important questions and listen carefully to the answers. We asked what kind of arts experiences are adults on the South Shore looking for? What kind of creative experiences do they crave? How can we remove barriers to participation for the largest segment of our population?
The answers emphasized what research about adult learners (and especially senior learners) shows. Adults are hungry for social connection. We want opportunities to learn and grow. We want to be challenged. And as we age, we seek places and events that meet our needs.
Understanding this, SSC decided to create a new format for a concert series: something informal and conversational, with a diverse program of excellent live music, offering opportunities for learning and socializing. The Coffee Break Concert Series was born. Now, late morning on the last Tuesday of each month, groups gather at the Ellison Center for the Arts, pour a cup of coffee, make a plate of fruit and maybe a muffin, and find themselves a place at a table to sit and chat while they wait for the concert to start.
The performances themselves are made to order. Running just under an hour, from 11 am to 12 noon, they feature SSC’s vastly talented team of teaching artists doing what they do best, from blues to Beethoven and from swing to Chopin. The musicians are eager to discuss the music they play and share what inspires them about each piece. Concertgoers are active participants, listening and learning together.
Best of all, these concerts are free thanks to a sponsorship by The Village at Duxbury. No tickets are required. The response has been immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Every month, we reserve tables for Senior Centers. Along with busses from Pembroke and Duxbury, one dedicated group from the Marshfield COA comes to every concert. We look forward to seeing them each time. There are always seats for walk-ins.
This October marks our second year of Coffee Break concerts. Starting on October 31 with Wind and Wood: American Songs, featuring songs from Appalachia, the series continues on November 28 with Blue Tuesday, showcasing blues and jazz, Holiday Favorites on December 12, The Elan Mehler Trio on February 27, Old Timey Swing Songs on March 27, and Around the World in Song on April 24.
Last year’s Coffee Break concerts were often standing-room-only, so audience members are encouraged to arrive at 10:30 am for 11 am concerts. Performances are one hour in length without intermission. After the performance, audience members are invited to stay, meet the performers and enjoy complimentary coffee, tea and breakfast treats. If they prefer, concertgoers may bring their own bag lunch.
South Shore Conservatory is committed to being an organization that welcomes the widest range of audience members possible – removing barriers to participation and welcoming everyone in, regardless of ability. Its Duxbury campus is wheelchair accessible. For more detailed information about accessibility, please visit SSC’s Know Before You Go page.