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Why we love singing American Songbook classics


By Dianne Legro


Dianne Legro

Patricia said it so perfectly during our interview on her radio show, My Generation,as we talked about my American Songbook class at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) in Hingham: “It’s all about having fun, keeping yourself engaged with something you love or always wanted to try-and continuing to grow at any age!” There are countless benefits of participating in music, especially the joy it brings.
Whenever I talk with people who are learning something new or practicing something they love, I am always lifted and inspired by the sparkle and light that shines from their eyes. It is especially inspiring to get to know and work with students in my American Songbook class at the South Shore Conservatory (SSC) as they are exploring, growing, trying a new song, or perfecting one they know.  I just love sharing the joy and fun that they experience in this process.  Last year we had so many laughs and shared successes each week. I am thrilled to be starting the next class on September 19, 2018, at 6pm. The eight weeks of class will meet on Wednesdays from 6-7:30 and I invite anyone who has a love of singing to join us!
Here’s what you can expect in class:
I offer a true masterclass setting where each singer is coached one to one by our accompanist the wonderful Mark Goodman and myself in front of the other students. In this way, student singers learn from each other and enjoy mutual praise, encouragement and support. If you have songs already in mind please bring them in, we find you the right key and help you perform them. I will also suggest and provide songs from music I know that will be a good fit for you. The American Songbook repertoire has something for everyone. These beloved songs have the effect of engaging deep feelings, memories and sentiments on both the audience and the performer.  Up tempo or slow ballad, they run the gamut of love (lost, found or searching for) and other topics with humor, wit playfulness and elegance.
American Songbook students have shared many anecdotes about the benefits of participation gin this class.  One student wanted to share how much the breathing exercises for singing he learned had helped him improve a lifelong health issue in his lungs. He is absolutely thrilled with the measurable improvement. Another student, new to singing, joined the class because “it was on his bucket list, and well, why wait, there’s no time like now!” He talked about how much fun he is having. He is feeling like a confident singer and thoroughly enjoyed singing in two recitals! A former Navy Officer, he generously compared the class with the best training he had ever experienced in his career of high level trainings and he expressed his appreciation for the excellence in teaching he receives in class.   Another student shared that when she sings she forgets “the slings and arrows of outrageous aging.  And the joy! Oh the joy!!”
Mark Goodman comments, “Dianne is a wonderfully nurturing and patient teacher. She makes no judgment about a student’s natural ability or former training, and throws herself into working with whatever level a student presents. As the semester went on I saw progress from all the singers in the class in terms of vocal ability and confidence. She is equally comfortable working with students of all ages.”I am proud to be among the excellent faculty at SSC and look forward to an exciting year!
If you are interested in keeping yourself engaged, because you love singing or it’s something you always wanted to try, please consider joining us this fall. Visit www.sscmusic.org/amarican-songbook for complete information on registration, schedule and pricing.
About the Author
Dianne Legro is an award winning soprano who sings classical, Broadway and American Songbook classics. She has performed hundreds of concerts throughout the US and Europe. Dianne is an advocate for the arts and enjoys bringing educational programs on creativity and global citizenship to students nationwide. Dianne is a gifted voice and performance teacher, director and writer of one woman shows. She was Chairman of the voice department at The Thurnaur School of Music in NY for 10 years and joined SSC in 2017.
SSC has been providing access to exceptional arts education and performance for the South Shore community, fostering creativity, artistic growth, and well-being for individuals of all ages, backgrounds and abilities since 1970.
Reprinted from the September 2018 edition of the South Shore Senior News.