Encore’s Fourth Annual Summer Institute at Chautauqua Institution was a huge success. With the additions of a Theatre Institute and Dance Institute, there were 98 creative older adults singing, acting and dancing. Attendance was more than double the previous record.
The Encore Choral Institute was conducted by Encore Founder Jeanne Kelly and retired Director of Musical Activities at the United States Naval Academy, Dr. John Barry Talley. Dr. Stuart Kandell, Founder of Stagebridge Theatre in Oakland, CA and David Barnet, professor of theatre at University of Alberta, Canada, headed up the theatre program and Shula Strassfeld of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange led the dance institute.
The students started their day with a choice of movement classes, one high impact and strength building and one for total relaxation and stretching. The students enjoyed an energetic rehearsal after movement. Every afternoon, students were invited to venture out of their chosen track and take a vocal technique, sight reading, theatre or dance class. Another two hour rehearsal in their major track followed. Evenings were spent attending fabulous professional concerts with artists Hyeweon Lee, piano, Brooke Evers, soprano and Susan Ricci, piano and the Young People’s Chorus of Erie. These concerts were open to the public and were very well attended.
The students stayed at the historic Athenaeum Hotel and enjoyed marvelous dining and lively conversation out on the porch after the evening concerts. The hotel enjoys a gorgeous setting on the lake and the hotel porch is so inviting. This year we had many commuters attending the institute from the local western New York area.
On the final day of the institute, all students performed. First up was the Theatre performance in Bratton Theatre with the students teaming up to do four minute dialogues. Fabulous performances were given from the plays Our Town, Richard the Third , The Visit , Death Knocks, Challenge to Bureaucracy, Romance at the Supermarket, and The Love Doctor.
Then the entire audience moved to Lenna Hall to watch the dancers perform with beautiful fluidity and creative movement. The Encore Choral program with 75 singers closed the program performing a spirited Credo from Hayden’s Lord Nelson Mass, followed by lovely madrigals, and beautiful readings of As Time Goes By and It Must Have Been Moonglow. John Barry Talley arranged a very creative Gilbert and Sullivan medley just for the Encore singers. The concert closed with rousing and energetic performances of Rockin’ Jerusalem and Hallelujah, Get Happy!
And indeed everyone was very happy with the five days packed with learning, challenging themselves, trying something new, being courageous, and meeting new friends from around the country. It was a grand closure for the 2011 Encore summer season.