News At CCM

The Okee Dokee Brothers Family Concert


Concord Conservatory of Music welcomed back GRAMMY® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers on Saturday, April 1st

With more than 900 people in attendance, the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School auditorium came alive! Happy and dancing around, kids sang along with the fun-loving Okee Dokee Brothers—BFFs since childhood Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing.

With infectious and engaging singalongs, delightful melodies, foot-stomping and clever refrains, their songs appeal to both kids and adults. They performed fan-favorite tunes as well as new songs from their recently released album, Brambletown.

Okee Dokee Brothers Joe and Justin

After the concert, the line for their Meet & Greet snaked around the aisles, but the warm-hearted duo made everyone feel special who wanted their autographs—never rushing to the next family to greet.


“Were you guys singing in the canoe when you wrote Can You Canoe?” “What’s your favorite song to perform?” Kids and their parents waited patiently in line to ask the Brothers their questions.

Meet & Greet

Our volunteers rocked!

From ticket takers to concert ushers, everyone made the concert experience fun and wonderful! A heartfelt thank you to our volunteer team: Peter Blum, Sandy Clark, Laurence Constable, Andrea Darling, Leslie Flinn, Pooja Garg, Fang Gu, Elijah Hupe, Kim Kanki, Marissa Kanki, Kun Liu, Isabella Marx, Miriam Sachs, Gabriel Shen, Sandy Shen, and Catherine Weng.

Thank you to our sponsors!

We’re extremely grateful to our sponsors for helping us bring The Okee Dokee Brothers to our community: Key Sponsor The Dewey Rosenfield Foundation, Music Supporter sponsors Barefoot Books and Enterprise Bank, Patron Sponsor Nashoba Brooks School, and the Concord Cultural Council, and Mass Cultural Council.

The Brothers entertain, educate, and enhance kids’ lives

The Okee Dokee Brothers’ family music inspires kids and their parents to get out outside and enjoy nature. Their music encourages and motivates everyone to gain a greater respect for our environment, communities, and themselves.

Due to the amazing concert turnout and fantastic feedback, we’ve already started planning for next year’s Okee Dokee Brothers family concert. Stay tuned for the date!

April Listening Project Playlist

Listen to music composed specifically for the piano—a wide-ranging topic that includes sounds that you might not have heard a piano produce before. Discover the many kinds of music written for the piano and challenge your assumptions about the instrument.

Listening Project Playlist

Remember to use your Listening Journal for additional thought-provoking questions to think about while listening to the selections. It’s a great way to start insightful conversations with your family, friends, or music instructor!

What do Fidelity, Raytheon, and State Street have in common?

They have matching gift programs.

Won’t you please consider giving the gift of music today?

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CCM Offers Free Ukulele Lessons to the Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley

Ukulele students at the Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley

Music is a form of connection. When young students learn to play an instrument, they tap into that connection and form new relationships. They connect with their instructors. They connect with other students. They connect across cultures — and across generations — with fellow musicians.

Most importantly, they connect with a part of themselves that they might not even have known was there. “You can see that universal excitement in the kids’ faces when they realize music is something that you can actually perform, not just listen to,” says CCM ukulele instructor Cathy Marks. “Unfortunately, some children never have the opportunity to discover that innate connection and nurture it through music education.”

CCM’s Community Partnership Program with the Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley (BGCAV) in Maynard provides that opportunity. “It makes free music education accessible to all children, regardless of income or other challenges,” says Cathy, CCM’s Community Partnership faculty leader. “We welcome students from all different backgrounds.” Ukulele student

Providing the Right Tools

Another way that Cathy makes music education accessible is her choice of instrument: the ukulele. “It has such a beautiful tone and inviting sound,” she says. “Often in a school setting, students start on an instrument like the recorder based on cost rather than quality.”

The ukulele also better suits young students’ abilities. “With just the four strings and a smaller body, kids are comfortable with it,” Cathy says. “They can use just one finger to make the C chord. Before they know it, they’re playing songs and making music. So the ukulele’s size, its versatility and the fact that you can sing along with it make it an ideal instrument for a beginning student.” CCM’s Community Partnership Program provides the ukuleles free of charge to BGCAV.

Music to Their Ears (and for Their Ears)

With so many other activities competing for kids’ attention, it’s important to help them discover their inner love of music as quickly and easily as possible. Cathy helps her BGCAV students make the connection by playing music that they recognize. “We use some folk or children’s music as a foundation,” she says, “but most of it is pop tunes and other music kids can relate to.” Uke student at the Club

There are many parallels between teaching young students music and teaching them languages. In each case, the earlier the introduction, the better. “Music aptitude — a child’s ability to learn music — stabilizes around age nine,” Cathy says. “Before that, the more musical instruction they get, and the better the quality of the music instruction that they get, the greater their chances of becoming accomplished musicians and maintaining a lifelong love of music-making.”

Also, the basic hierarchy of learning music and language is the same. “You immerse yourself in hearing it first,” Cathy says. “Then you learn the individual pieces. With language, you learn the words before the sentences and the sentences before paragraphs. Reading comes last — you don’t know how to read the language until you can speak it.

“We do the same with music learning. Kids start by learning the musical patterns — rhythm and melody — before they put it all together.”

Hidden Benefits

Besides fostering a love of music, CCM’s Community Partnership Program with BGCAV helps Cathy Marks with her students students build confidence and self-esteem. That’s evident in the number of kids who want to solo during group performances. “The solos are volunteer-based,” Cathy says. “And when I ask if anyone wants a solo, just about every student puts their hand up. That shows it’s an environment where they feel comfortable.”

Others have noticed this too. “We have seen the ukulele lessons draw out feelings of pride, self-confidence and pure enjoyment,” said Annalisa Campaneli, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley. “Our partnership with CCM has been wonderful.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Assabet Valley (located in Maynard) offers after-school, summer, and recreational programs to youth in the Maynard community. CCM’s Community Partnership Program, part of our Community Connections outreach, augments this effort by providing weekly ukulele classes on Thursday afternoons. These sessions, available free of charge for BGCAV kids ages 6 – 11, focus on developing the core foundational skills of music education. CCM’s goal is to develop more such programs through Community Partnerships, which is supported by grants, community donations and contributions from our partners. To learn more, please contact Kate Yoder at


CCM Concert Series & More

Southern Rail

Southern Rail, a bluegrass concert

Saturday, April 29 at 7:00 pm

Southern Rail’s performances are high-energy exuberant fun, with riveting harmonies, irrepressible humor, and sparkling banjo, mandolin, and guitar solo work.

Southern Rail celebrates more than four decades of performing together. CCM faculty member Rich Stillman (banjo and harmony vocals, Jim Muller (guitar and lead vocals), Sharon Horovitch (acoustic bass and harmony vocals), and John Tibert (mandolin and harmony vocals) give us rich vocals on beautiful and creative bluegrass arrangements.

Purchase Tickets in advance or payable at the door for this event. ($25 General Admission and free Mass Cultural Council for students 18 and under)

The Concord Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the state agency Mass Cultural Council, generously granted funding toward the 2022-2023 CCM Concert & Lecture Series.

Sudbury Meetinghouse Concerts

Accomplished songwriter, composer, pianist, and guitarist Matt Nakoa will perform for two concerts at the historic Sudbury Meetinghouse. His piano music has received favorable reviews in publications including The New York Times, and his film scoring has been featured by Disney. Matt now tours regularly with folk music icon Tom Rush. Matt is graciously donating his talents so all proceeds will go to support the historic Meetinghouse.

Though not easily pinned down, “In sum,” as a recent review put it, “Matt Nakoa is musically adept, one of those well-kept secrets you just can’t help but celebrate: intimate and genuine soulful and bittersweet, a rich poetic songbook sung in praise to a complicated, emotionally present world.”

Matt Nakoa Songwriter Concert
Saturday, April 15, 2023, 7:30-9:30 pm

Matt Nakoa Songwriter Classical Concert
Sunday, April 16, 2023, 3-4:30

Support Music Education