Judging by the daily news, most of us will be glad to put the year 2008 behind us and hope for a better 2009. However, for Encore, and me personally, 2008 has been a fabulous year. This year we launched two new Northern Virginia Chorales at the new Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton and the Potomac Academy of George Mason University, in residence at the Woodlands Retirement Community, and a new program - Dance/Movement - at the Workhouse and the Arlington Center for Dance.
Our summer camps at St. Mary's College of Maryland and the Chautauqua Institution exceeded my highest expectations. Wow! What a blast! The staffs at both locations were wonderful to work with - and what terrific groups of campers we had. I'm hoping to see a lot of you back for "the sequel" this coming summer!
And a round of thanks...Thanks to management and staff at all our locations for your outstanding support of Encore programs. You help make it all possible. Others who have helped make it all work this year, and for whom I am grateful: Colleen Nassetta, who helped with grant writing this summer. Jenny at Landover Press who is such a pleasure to work with and who finds our mistakes before they're printed and turns our orders around so quickly. My daughters, Tiffany and Heather, who have been helpful in a variety of ways, behind the scenes and "out front." And, of course, my husband, Larry, "accountant," "webmaster," "photographer," "PR man," and "jack of all trades."
And thanks to those of you who have made financial contributions to Encore. As a non-profit organization, Encore needs this kind of support to grow and improve our programs and it is appreciated.
And on to 2009...
I'm excited to have new repertoire to begin working on with the Chorales starting next week. It should lead to fun concerts this spring.
I welcome Jane Franklin, the newest member of our faculty, who will take over the Dance/Movement class at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Jane has an impressive resume and I'm sure the Workhouse group will enjoy her.
Of course, I expect our summer camps to be bigger and better this year. Last year's campers provided a lot of suggestions on how we can improve and we're going to take a lot of those suggestions to heart in our planning for this year. One of particular note is that we will be sending out advance practice CDs to the campers so they can get a jump on learning the music. Several people suggested that last summer and we've even incorporated that into the Chorale program to help our singers practice between rehearsals.
Reservations for the Singing at Sea Cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southhampton, England continue to come in. Now with Cunard Lines reducing prices (also, retroactively for those who already reserved) this has turned into a comparative bargain opportunity to sail aboard the world's greatest luxury liner. Is this going to be great, or what?
By September, we expect to have more locations to add to our "domain." It looks like we'll definitely be starting a Chorale at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland. In response to a lot of inquiries, we looking for space in Montgomery County and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We may also be expanding outward, with discussions ongoing to launch Encore in Connecticut and other "far away places." The word about how great our programs are seems to be spreading!
So, while 2008 was better than 2007, I have no doubt 2009 will continue the positive trend. And the beginning of 2009 is mere hours away now...