The second annual Encore Chorale Camp at Chautauqua Institution was a truly wonderful experience for all who attended. Thirty eight campers assembled August 31 at Chautauqua for five days of rehearsing great music under conductors Jeanne Kelly, Founder of Encore Creativity for Older Adults and Dr. John Barry Talley, retired Director of Musical Activities at the United States Naval Academy. <<VIEW THREE-PART PHOTO GALLERY HERE>>
The singers came from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Delaware, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, and Ontario, Canada. The beautiful Athenaeum Hotel became our home for the next five days, providing excellent accommodations and truly memorable food. Our commuters from the local Chautauqua area joined us for daily lunches.
After check-in, the campers had their first choral rehearsal and it was clear there were 38 great singers ready to have a grand week. After rehearsal, they returned to the hotel for an opening wine and cheese party, followed by an excellent dinner.
Each day started with breakfast and then a very fast moving movement/stretch/dance class with energetic instructor Peg Wallos Barrett. The campers certainly worked off their breakfast. Then on to a two hour choral rehearsal or sectional. After lunch, the campers could choose to take a voice technique class or just relax down by the lake. Then on to another choral rehearsal. Evenings brought excellent concerts presented by the West Shore Piano Trio. The first evening they performed the Piano Trio by Claude Debussy and Piano Trio (1921) by Rebecca Clarke. The campers and a large number of Chautauqua residents enjoyed the marvelous concert.
Wednesday evening violinist Heather Haughn and pianist Jay DeWire performed blockbusters including Liebestraume No. 3,Puccini opera arias, 3 Preludes by Gershwin, Meditation from Thais,Isolde’s Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde, and the Concert Fantasy on Carmen. The crowd loved this concert and Encore was so pleased to present these brilliant young artists.
Thursday evening Encore presented “Unexpected Guests,” a comedy improve group from Jamestown, New York and they had the audience rolling in the aisles. Mike Sullivan, Chautauqua’s Director of Public Relations, was a member of the group and there was certainly a local audience who came out to see him.They did not disappoint!
The last day of camp came too early for all. The week had been perfect, with meeting new friends and rehearsing exciting choral music and learning more about the voice.The 2:00 pm concert was a huge success.Conductor Jeanne Kelly opened the concert with the Encore Chorale singing a precise and energetic Gloria from Vivaldi’s Gloria,followed by a lively and rhythmic Alleluia (2004) written by Tom Benjaminfor the United States Naval Academy.The chorale beautifully performed Sing Me To Heaven, by Daniel Gawthrop, a Washington, DC composer. And the gorgeous, haunting melodies of Black is the Color and The Water is Wide were outstanding. Then the chorale raised the roof with a rousing performance of Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit. The chorale was in excellent voice and spirit.
Dr. John Barry Talley then took to the conducting podium with his own arrangement of West Side Story, arranged specifically for the Encore Chorale.The singers had a blast portraying the voices of the Jets, Sharks and girlfriends.It came off splendidly and the operatic Tonightwas excellent. The concert concluded with a very clever medley of old TV music, arranged by Talley.The medley started with the chorale giving it their all with their Archie and Edith Bunker voices singing the hit tune Those Were the Daysfrom All in the Family. Hysterical!
Other tunes included music from The Howdy Doody Show,The Mickey Mouse Club, Bonanza, Best of the West, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Dragnet, 77 Sunset Strip, The Pink Panther, and finally The Muppet Show,with the singers stretching their arms high and making their hand talk like a muppet.The crowd went crazy and so did the singers.What a way to end a fabulous Encore Chorale Camp at Chautauqua.