Encore: Our Story


The dream began to take shape  in September 2001, when the late internationally renowned gerontologist Dr. Gene Cohen, Director of the Center on Aging, Health and Humanities at George Washington University, asked Jeanne Kelly to be part of a study on The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on the Physical Health, Mental Health and Social Functioning  of Older Adults.  The study would necessitate forming two chorales for older adults over 65 years of age to join forces with the Senior Singers' Chorale Jeanne already had up and running at Goodwin House, Alexandria under her older adult program at Levine School of Music Arlington Campus where she was the director. She quickly added Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads in Falls Church, VA.

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GWU-NEA Study Inspired Encore

In 2001, the National Endowment for The Arts , along with the National Institutes of Health and four other federal and nonfederal programs, sponsored landmark research known as The Creativity and Aging Study. The goal of this multisite national study taking place in three major cities across the United States (Washington, New York, and San Francisco) was to examine the impact of participatory art programs conducted by professional artists on the physical health, mental health, and social functioning of older persons. The primary investigator was the late Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at the George Washington University. This was the first study of its kind, using an experimental design with a control group over an extended period of time, examining the influence of active engagement in the arts on the overall health of older adults.

The study began in Washington, DC under the artistic direction of Conductor Jeanne Kelly, formerly of the Levine School of Music . The Washington, DC site focused on singing groups that joined together in a large chorale, while the other sites were engaged in a diversity of other art forms. The first results reported from the study were those from evaluating the chorale compared to a control matched in terms of activity level and health status at the start of the study.

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Jeanne Kelly, Executive Director

jeanne_pub_webJEANNE KELLY'S career of over forty years has produced a unique blend of experience as a vocal performer, teacher, conductor and music administrator that has prepared her well to serve as the founding President and Executive Director of Encore Creativity for Older Adults.

As a performer, Ms. Kelly made her professional operatic debut with the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center.  She has also performed major roles with the Baltimore Opera, Opera Delaware, Central City Opera, Tulsa Opera, Annapolis Opera, and the New York City Opera Education Department.  She appeared in the world premiere of Rappaccini's Daughter with the Pennsylvania Opera Theater.

In addition to having maintained a private voice studio in Maryland and Virginia, Ms. Kelly served on the faculties of the Levine School of Music, Washington, DC; Hood College, Frederick, Maryland; and the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Ms. Kelly served as conductor of the Women's Glee Club at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and the Georgetown University Concert Choir.

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Edward Johnson, Board President

After almost two decades of experience in international trade, small business management and finance, as well as organizational development, Ed Johnson retired and set sights on his next, his “encore,” career. In his most recent work within the Booz Allen Hamilton team focusing on security, international trade, and economic development, Mr. Johnson exceled at gathering government agency requirements and transforming them into business actions as managed through various software tools. He provided research and analytic support as well as editing, writing, and market knowledge to the development of computer systems, policy and procedure documentation, system training materials, demand models and financial and economic impact analysis. His team-building and empowerment management methods helped him to rapidly develop skills in more junior members of the team.

Retirement has allowed Mr. Johnson to refocus his energies. Having performed in many dramas and musicals in High School, Mr. Johnson now enjoys rekindling and honing new choral knowledge and skills. And as a board member with Encore Creativity, he is combining the best of his core training with his ongoing musical interests and his background in the both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

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Terri Sorota, Board Vice President

Terri Sorota has 30 years experience in a variety of human resources, legal, lobbying, and management positions for insurance companies and trade associations. She has extensive experience in all aspects of public policy development and advocacy for life and health insurance trade associations and served as General Counsel to the Health Insurance Association of America. She is a member of the Connecticut, District of Columbia and U.S. Supreme Court Bars. Terri has served a number of school and community arts groups in a variety of creative and fundraising capacities.

Larry Kelly, Board Secretary

larry portrait 2Larry Kelly has over forty years of management experience with large and small businesses in the private sector, federal government and the U.S. Navy, where he was the program director for a $200M/year revenue generating business.

Larry is a Consultant for Whitney, Bradley and Brown, Inc. Larry provides information technology capital planning and portfolio management consulting support to a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, as a Senior Program Manager and Principal Consultant for SAIC and Total Systems Technologies, Corp., Larry led consulting teams at the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of the Treasury, and also consulted with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Coast Guard, FEMA, Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Kenneth Price, Treasurer

Ken Price was born and raised in Montgomery County, Md. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Rockford College in Illinois. After graduation he worked for two years for the state of Illinois as an employment counselor for financially disadvantaged city residents.

Ken then returned to Maryland where he launched a distinguished civil service career. He worked for the Washington, DC, government for six years, assisting unemployed or underemployed District residents in finding employment and training opportunities. His last year with the DC government was a one-year appointment with the federal Department of Labor's Office of Youth Programs, where he helped organize and implement youth employment and training programs nationwide.

The last 28 years of Ken's federal career were spent as an analyst and manager with the Department of the Navy. He began his Navy civilian service as a program analyst for the Navy's attack submarine fleet, the SSN 688 (Los Angeles) and SSN 21 (Seawolf) classes.

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About Encore

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Encore is dedicated to providing an excellent and accessible artistic environment for older adults, 55 and over, regardless of experience or ability, who seek arts education and performance opportunities under a professional artist. Encore is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax exempt organization.

All Encore programs are conducted by professional artists who will know how to get the most from their members. So come join the excitement, either as a beginner or at an advanced level. This is an excellent way to learn how to develop or improve your musical abilities, meet new friends, and look forward to an exciting performance schedule.

You’re never too old to try something new—and have the time of your life!