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  • Join the Indiana, PA Encore Chorale!

  • Getting Caught Up (Or Is That Possible?)

    JK_Boat_042509It has been a very long time that I have written. I think back on the last month, and seriously, I did not know time could pass by so quickly. It seems like we just did our brilliant Kennedy Center concert. And then all that snow! And the disappointment of cancelling our big Arlington concert. Then our home renovation was complete and I spent three days cleaning! YUK. And then it suddenly was Christmas and I had to get some gifts. I am truly a last minute type of shopper. And then I don't know what I did with my time between Christmas and New Years. Oh yes, I was doing some prep work for the spring semester and also preparing for the Singing at Sea Journey. Talk about fun! We left Baltimore on Jan. 2 in bitter cold. The wind was howling. When we pulled up to the ship, I mentioned that I thought this huge ship was listing! It was actually the huge northwest wind blowing it away from the pier, tugging on the lines and making the ship look like it was listing. Even all the Canadians that were boarding were complaining about the cold. Hmmmm.

    Once on board, it was still cold! I don't think cruise ships are made for 20 degree temps with lots of wind. Our daughters were the last ones to board. Of course! Gave me a little bit of panic. We set sail at 5:30pm and passed under the Key Bridge and then it was time for dinner. The dinners were delightful and our wait staff was so attentive. Of course. I was sitting with two very lovely daughters! The wait staff definitely wanted to please.

    The next morning we had our first rehearsal on board and the singers were really good and they loved my choice of music. Over the nine days we would have 8 hours of rehearsal to prepare for our final concert. Five pieces to learn in 8 hours. Crunch time.

    I won't go in to detail about the trip in my blog, as lots of info will be in the article on our home page(view photo albums of the cruise here). But a highlight would be snorkeling in Coco Cay and seeing a manatee family. Wow! I didn't want to go in the water because it was so cold. I know. You are thinking the water should be warm in the Bahamas, but it wasn't. But the girls said I had to see the manatee. So I did. How cool was that! The baby wanted to play. I loved it.

    The other highlight was the final concert. It isn't everyday that a chorus of older adults gets the chance to perform in the main theater of a huge ocean liner in front of 500 people. It was a marvelous and memorable experience. We had a ball up there and the singers sounded excellent. And having my daughters up there, with Heather performing violin obligatos on two piece and Tiffany turning pages, it was really a great concert for me.

    When we got back to Baltimore, I got off the ship at 8am and I was at my desk at 9:30am, feeling a little foggy. Nothing like being on a cruise ship for nine days to make you feel totally disconnected. It is like being in a cocoon. Seven of the nine chorales were starting this week and I had to be ready.
    Over 3000 pieces of music to package up! And lots of emails and phone calls. What a way to return to civilization. But it has been a remarkable week for Encore. The Smithsonian Encore Chorale has 94 singers! And all the chorales are growing. The singers love the spring music and that makes me happy. The rehearsals this week have been great fun.

    And now I have to make the rehearsal CDs for the singers. Oh yes, then there is camp repertoire to finalize. And entering in all those emails for the new singers. I think it's time for a snow day!

  • A New Season Is Underway

    JK_Boat_042509Eight Encore Chorales up and one to go on Thursday! Schweinhaut Encore Chorale had their first rehearsal of the season on Monday and what a great group of singers. Excellent reading skills and voices. I was very pleased. It was so good to see lots of returning singers and greet the eager "newbies!" They will be preparing for their big concert on May 20 with the Myerberg and AACC Encore Chorales in Annapolis. And speaking of the AACC Encore Chorale, they begin their spring season tomorrow.

    All the singers are enjoying their new spring repertoire. Who wouldn't love singing Lerner and Loewe. It is such great music and the guys get to sing all the big hit tunes. They are loving it. And this season we have lots of new guys. HOORAY!

    On Monday, Encore Dance/Movement program got started at Ballet NOVA with Tiffany Haughn teaching. Congrats to all those who are getting in shape. I sure wish I could join in on the fun.

    Gee, we have that nasty four letter word beginning with s (snow) in the forecast this week. Hope it doesn't get in the way of rehearsals. And on Saturday we will be presenting our City of Alexandria grant to their arts panel for consideration. We have had so many calls from Alexandrians saying they feel left out. So............

    We are in high gear in camp preparations. Camp promises to be bigger and better than the past two years. So get your camp registrations in.

    Only 13 weeks of rehearsals till our big concerts!

  • Encore Begins the Year Singing at Sea

    aimg_2882Encore’s Singing at Sea Journey 2010 was a huge success. Travelling on the Celebrity “Mercury”, 43 singers departed from the port of Baltimore on a very cold and windy January 2, hopefully bound for warmer weather. Warmer weather was not to be found on this cruise, but a grand time was had by all and the singing was fabulous. Singers represented the Encore Chorales of Langston Brown, Lorton, Potomac Academy at George Mason University, Goodwin Houses of Alexandria and Bailey s Crossroads and the Smithsonian. Singers ranged in age from 56 to 90.

    Jim Seeley, of Fun & Fitness and Travel, put together this wonderful cruise. His attention to the Encore singers was wonderful and he also sang with the chorale. He truly made everyone comfortable and content.

    The first two days, Saturday and Sunday, were at sea which allowed for two rehearsals until the first destination of Charleston, SC. on Monday. And it was a very cold Charleston. But the singers enjoyed the beautiful city and its lovely architecture and fascinating history.

    After Charleston, the group had another full day at sea en route to Key West. After the day at sea rehearsal, singers could indulge in a totally lazy day, or they could take a dance lesson, do water aerobics, read, study a language, watch a movie, or simply sit and talk. All the singers really enjoyed one another. Many would meet before dinner at one of the lounges for drinks and dancing and there was some fabulous dancing, notably husband and wife team Susan Loritz Winter and Mike Winter. The food was excellent and plentiful. Dinner was always a highlight, especially the two formal nights. After dinner, there was a wonderful show of dancing and singing in the theater. The entertainment was excellent.

    The ship arrived in Key West early on Wednesday and it was not balmy as Key West should be. The ship was in port all day, so everyone went ashore and enjoyed the Key West ambience and all the shopping. Some rented bikes and soprano Jeanne Heather swam with the dolphins. She said it was the experience of a lifetime…..a very cold one, but a fabulous one!

    Back on ship, the singers gathered for a rehearsal, knowing they would not be rehearsing in Nassau, the port for the next day. The ship arrived in Nassau on Thursday and it was still cold! Sixties. Not Bahama weather. But the singers explored Nassau and Paradise Island, by boat and scooter and walking. Back on board for a wonderful evening with dinner and show, everyone was hoping for warmer weather in Cococay, the next day's stop.

    Cococay was fabulous. The ship anchored off of the island and a large commercial tender ferried the passengers to shore. The island is a private island owned by the cruise line and it is stunning……… palm trees, beautiful beaches, great shells, wonderful swimming and lots of lounge chairs to people-watch. The crew magically supplied a marvelous Caribbean lunch on the island for all to enjoy. Some of the singers snorkeled and enjoyed seeing a manatee family off the shore. Alto Sara Lovinger parasailed! Another lifetime experience. Everyone returned to the ship for a late afternoon rehearsal. The ship pulled up anchor at 4:30 and  began steaming back to Baltimore.

    Saturday and Sunday were another two full days at sea. The next two days of rehearsals were important because the group was informed they would be performing in the main theater of the ship on Sunday at 4pm. The Encore Chorale concert was listed in the daily ship newsletter. The singers had a lot of final preparation for this big concert. The pressure was on!

    Sunday at 4pm arrived and the singers were elegant in their formal concert attire. The ship had never presented a chorus made up of passengers in their main theater. The singers were thrilled to be performing in front of over 500 passengers. The singers gave a fantastic concert. Repertoire included Together Wherever We Go from the musical Gypsy by Styne/Sondheim, Embraceable You by Gershwin, Another Op’nin, Another Show from Kiss Me Kate by Cole Porter, America the Beautiful, arranged by Buryl Red, and I Cannot Count the Stars by Eugene Butler. Heather Haughn played beautiful violin obligato for America and I Cannot Count the Stars. The singers performed beautifully and the audience loved the performance. During dinner that evening, audience members kept coming up to the singers to congratulate them. It was a magical ending to a most memorable Singing at Sea Journey.


  • January 2010 Singing at Sea Photo Albums

    Over 40 Encore Chorale members enjoyed a cruise to the Bahamas in January 2010.  Photo albums are below:


    Cruise Photo Album - Click on Photo to Launch the Gallery and then click on right side of picture to advance to the next


    Cruise Concert Photo Album