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.
Arlington County Lee Center became the third component of the chorale program and the first rehearsal was scheduled to take place on Sept. 11, 2001. It was canceled because of the horrible terrorist attacks that day. The next week brought in over 60 older adult singers! The rehearsals at all three locations were full of energy, excitement and a great choral sound. Combined, over 120 older adults actively participated in a choral program directed by a professional conductor.
In 2007, Jeanne Kelly decided to leave Levine and form a nonprofit organization, Encore Creativity for Older Adults. She knew this was the age group that excited her most and where she could do her most meaningful work. 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.
September 2007 began a very busy season for Encore, as five Encore Chorales were rehearsing weekly, preparing for holiday concerts. The Smithsonian Institution was the newest Encore site. The Encore Chorale at the Myerberg Senior Center in Baltimore, MD was beginning its second season with over 40 energetic and enthusiastic singers.
In the winter of 2008, an Encore Chorale helped launch the new Workhouse Arts Center at Lorton, Virginia. In the fall came an Encore Chorale at the Potomac Academy of George Mason University, in residence at the Woodlands Retirement Community in Fairfax, Virginia. Encore also introduced a new program: Dance and Movement, under the direction of Ms. Tiffany Haughn at the Workhouse Arts Center and at the Arlington Center for Dance.
In December of 2008, all seven Encore Chorales combined to put on a spectacular performance on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center . It was a most memorable evening! The Millennium Stage became a tradition.
Encore has continued to grow and now, in 2017 Encore has 21 chorales in the MD/VA/DC area, and affiliate chorales in Hudson, OH; Reading, PA; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; and Chicago, IL. The combined membership of these chorales now exceeds 1,200 singers. With the introduction of our new Rock n Roll chorus, ENCORE ROCKS, in the fall of 2015 the pace of growth continues to accelerate.
If you're over the age of 55 and want a truly great experience, join us!