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  • Up and At It Bright and Early Today

    JK_Boat_042509Couldn't sleep this morning, so I got up at 4:30am and went out in the living room at the perfect time. A huge cruise ship was steaming up the Chespapeake Bay, back to Baltimore. All her lights were lit up and she looked warm and beautiful. But it was in the high 20's outside. I am sure no one was out on the deck! And it brought back memories of our Singing at Sea Journey last year from Baltimore to the Bahamas. We left Baltimore on a very cold and blustery Jan. 3, pulled into Charleston where the beautiful fountains were frozen, got to Key West and rode a bike in 50 degree weather and finally found some warmth in the Bahamas.......not real warm.....about 70 degrees. This year we got smart and the Singing at Sea Journey is leaving from sunny and warm Fort Lauderdale. But.............. the Weather Channel announced this morning that Miama was only suppose to be 60 degrees today. Oh me. Warm us please!

    It is almost concert time. Hooray! We are ready. The first concert is Saturday, Dec. 11 and it's a big one. We will have about 170 singers and the Columbia Flute Choir performing. Hope we have a wonderful audience.

    And then the concerts keep happening......all eight of them. It is a long haul but they are so much fun and bring joy to a lot of folks. I love them!

    I got to hold my grandson Lucas for three hours yesterday. I am totally in love with this little wonder. He never cried, just slept and made funny little noises in his sleep. I even got to change three diapers. Now that is big news! Yes, it is better being a grandparent, I am learning. Right after I left, he wailed for three hours! Smile

  • Encore Sponsor Family and Nursing Care

  • Getting into the Holiday Spirit

    JK_Boat_042509I got some fabulous Gramma time on Saturday. Larry had an all day class to attend so I went over to see my little love Lucas. Simply incredible. He slept on my shoulder for two hours. I pet his head and patted his little back and we were both in bliss. Mom and Dad were busy decoration the house and Lucas and I were in another world.

    We were not going to put up a Christmas tree this year.......for the third straight year in a row. Then I got to thinking. Why hadn't we put up a tree for so long. Oh yes.......all those Encore concerts during the holiday season! We are never home to enjoy the tree. And especially this year with the last big concert being Dec. 23 at the Kennedy Center. We tried hard to get Heather and Tiffany and Mike and Lucas for a Christmas visit to our house (Christmas Day will be at Tiff and Mike's house), but it just wasn't happening. Heather plays many concerts during the season and I have eight Encore concerts.
    But I started feeling like a Grinch. And I missed unpacking all our beautiful ornaments and decorations. So yesterday while Larry was studying all day for a big certification exam, I went and picked out a tree. A beautiful tree that stands about 7 feet tall with a perfect shape. It was a little bigger than the table top tree I had said I was going to buy. But I loved this tree. The very kind man even delivered it to my home. They do those kinds of things down here in our neck of the woods. He wouldn't take any money. Just pure kindness.

    Our Christmas tree has a lot of meaning. There are stories with every ornament. So many voice students thru the years brought me lovely ornaments. And I have some from my childhood. But the tear jerker every time I put our tree up is the angel on the top. Many many years ago, like 45 years!, my parents told me to go pick out an angel. So I came back with a beautiful angel that happened to be a very expensive angel. I guess at that young age, looking at the price tag wasn't important. Dad and Mom had sticker shock but they allowed the angel to stay. She is beautiful and reminds me of my parents.

    So I was sitting admiring the tree with the sparkling white lights and suddenly, it fell against the window! The cats tore out of the room and I yelled for Larry. We got it upright and miraculously nothing was broken.

    The concert program for the Virginia Encore Chorale concert Dec. 11 is at the printer, thanks to Mary Cottrell, our new assistant. When you are dealing with ads, a program layout is like a puzzle. And Mary did it. She has made a marked difference just in the past two weeks. Hooray for Mary!

    Encore is going ahead with our plans to expand our summer Chautauqua camp. This year we will be adding a Theatre Camp, partnering with Stagebridge Theatre out of Oakland, CA. Stagebridge is the oldest theatre company for older adults in the country. And Liz Lerman Dance Exchange will be doing our Encore Dance Camp. And of course our Encore Chorale Camp at Chautauqua will return for the fourth year. Chautauqua will be where older adults can come to learn, play and perform! Very exciting indeed. Mark your calendars - August 29 to Sept. 2.

  • Our Concerts Begin with a Bang!

    kenmore_hc_20101211I am one very luck gal. I could not have been more pleased with our Encore Chorale Holiday Concert at Kenmore (photo on left) on Saturday, Dec. 11. The singers were really fabulous and the Columbia Flute Choir was great.  Our huge and enthusiastic audience made everyone so excited. It was truly a grand afternoon. Now I can say Encore caused a traffic jam in Northern Virginia. It took me ten minutes to get out of the parking lot!

    And our grandson Lucas made his debut Encore appearance at our concert. He was introduced, in his Christmas outfit, to all 180 singers. He really calms me down. I was a little crazy trying to arrange all of the singers and when Lucas showed up with his mommy Tiffany, the whole world calmed! He loved the music and all of the attention. He never made a peep the whole afternoon. He wasn't so quiet when he returned home. Guess he really loves music!

    Then I drove up to Glen Echo where the Washington Conservatory of Music at Glen Echo Encore Chorale performed for a full house. First the singers strolled down to the Puppet Theatre to lead a children's carol sing. The children had fun ringing the jingle bells. Then we went to the conservatory and performed our Holiday Concert to a very appreciative audience. What a day! I could hardly drive home. Sunday I was comatose!

    The Smithsonian Encore Chorale is performing tomorrow at The Happenings Stage at the Shakespeare Theatre at noon. Should be a cozy affair. It is not a large space and with our huge Smithsonian Encore Chorale, we will be larger than our adoring audience.  Our guest artist for I Cannot Count the Stars is none other than my daughter Heather Haughn.

    Also on the books this week is a Goodwin House Alexandria concert. These concerts are always so much fun. We are packed in like sardines! The residents love the music and we love performing for them.

    And the big concert of the week is on Sunday at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center. This is a state of the art brand new concert hall and we are lucky to be performingthere. It is beautiful! Can't wait to hear our sound in there.  Joining us for this concert will be the Montgomery Symphony and the Washington Conservatory Orchestra. I know there will be mass confusion getting everyone situated, but it will be well worth the confusion. Now if we can just all hope for NO SNOW! The Wash Post weather said Rain/snow and 35 degrees. Say it isn't so......... No Snow NO SNOW NOOOOOOOOOOOO SNOW!

    Yep, I am a lucky gal. The singers are fabulous, there has been no snow although the temps are soooo cold, and my Christmas tree is still standing. Yep, very lucky!

  • Winter Arrives with a Vengeance!

    JK_Boat_042509Winter has come to the Chesapeake Bay. I walked out into the living room this morning and plugged in the Christmas tree and the mantle lights. The sky was just beginning to blossom with a glowing red, the heron was standing so still in the water, the edges of the water were frozen and the tide was very low. The wind was howling and the seagulls were enjoying gliding effortlessly with the wind. In the distance an enormous container ship was making her way down the bay to ports around the world. The scene was gorgeous and still. Cantabile looked so cold and lonely in her slip. She was supposed to be hauled out of the water this past Monday but every time we went to take the sails down, the wind was crazy. Way too much wind to pull the sails down and fold for their winter's nap. So she is still in the water.......waiting for her owners to get her out of the frigid water.
    Yes, winter is here.

    Now would everybody please pray for NO SNOW! We have many concerts to do. Snow must wait! Nobody sing "Let it Snow." Please!

  • Just Another Typical Encore Day

    The sunrise this morning was breathtaking. Tilghman Island, across the Bay, was bathed in a beautiful orange glow and the sky was constantly changing. The water in our cove was covered in a thin sheet of ice. I looked out at Cantabile and she looked like she was shivering and very lonely. She will be hauled Jan. 3. Hope we don't have a major snow storm before then. Living on the Bay is always fascinating.

    01-smith_hc-01Smithsonian Encore Chorale gave an incredible concert yesterday morning at the "Happenings Stage" at the Shakespeare Theatre. There was so much energy and great singing coming from the 85 singers. The capacity audience loved the concert.

    After the concert I drove up to Rockville to do a taping for the Montgomery County Senior Adult Cable TV program. I must say I had never been in downtown Rockville before. Quite a downtown. Taping went well. They are going to come to our Sunday concert and do some taping during the rehearsal. They want to be able to really get close to us and they can't do that in performance. So singers beware. You will have cameras in your face. Smile! And of course, WATCH ME!

    Then last night the Goodwin Houses and Langston Brown Encore Chorales gave a splendid concert at Goodwin House Alexandria. It was by far the best concert they had ever performed at the GHA. The overflowing audience was so appreciative and very proud of their singing friendsl

  • 2011 Encore Institutes at Chautauqua

    aimg_3190Encore Creativity for Older Adults is pleased to join in collaboration with two of the nation’s premiere creative arts programs to present an innovative “Tenth Week” program for adults over the age of 55 at the famed Chautauqua Institution.

    Encore will partner with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange based near Washington, DC, and the Stagebridge Theatre of Oakland, CA to offer three concurrent performance institutes, Choral, Dance/Movement, and Theatre, the week of August 29 to September 2, 2011.  Chautauqua Institution will be the premiere summer location in the U.S. where older singers, dancers and actors of all levels of experience can learn, play and perform.  The institutes will attract adult students from all over the country to learn a new art, or continue to perfect lifelong skills.

  • Encore Returns to St. Mary's for Fourth Choral Institute

    01a-groupEncore is pleased to present our fourth annual Encore Choral Institute at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, June 21 – 25, 2011. Singers from the mid-Atlantic region, 55 year of age or older, enjoy five days of rehearsing and performing exciting choral music on the beautiful St. Mary’s College campus.

    Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to work with dynamic conductor Jeanne Kelly, founder and director of Encore Creativity for Older Adults.

    Previous Encore Choral Institutes have attracted choral singers from age 55 to 94. Kelly will offer fun and challenging repertoire, including well known classical selections, beloved American Songbook tunes, spirituals, and operetta.

    Each day will begin with breakfast followed by a movement class. Then singers will come together for a full choral rehearsal. After lunch, there will be free time to be spent relaxing on the lovely St. Mary’s campus where there the college offers kayaking, tennis, swimming or just simply watching the gorgeous St. Mary’s River.

    Participants can also enjoy historic St. Mary’s City, a museum of history and archeology on the site of Maryland’s colonial capital. Or choose from vocal technique classes or sectionals. Singers end the afternoon with another full choral rehearsal.

  • Looks Like Winter Is Here to Stay

    We had another gorgeous sunrise across the bay this morning.   The sky was streaked in pinks, yellows and oranges.  The entire cove and creek are iced in and Cantabiledoesn't look happy.   I can't wait to get her out of the water.........not that it is a whole lot warmer.

    For the first time in months, the fishing charter boats did not venture out.  The ice simply would not permit.  So winter is here to stay and sometimes torment.....................................

    Especially yesterday!    I went up to Baltimore for a morning rehearsal at Myerberg and a noon performance.   I saw a few snowflakes as I was driving out of Tracys Landing, but I thought nothing of it. 

    We had a wonderful performance at Myerberg, but we all knew the snow was coming down steadily by then.    Our beautiful piece Winter Beautiful   had new meaning.  When we finished,  everything was covered and driving was treacherous.  

    It was a real white knuckle drive home.  It took me three and one half hours!  Thank heavens one of my singers gave me a bag of cookies! 

  • Directions to Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center

    From Washington Beltway (I-495) East or West to Exit 31, Georgia Avenue South (Route 97). Continue south on Georgia Avenue.  The Facility is located on the corner of Georgia Avenue and East-West Highway.  Turn left onto Jessup Blair Drive. Follow this to the entrance of the Campus West Garage. Exit the parking structure on the King Street side. The Center is to the left.

    View Map Here

  • The Maryland Chorales Wow 'Em!

    01-mont_hc_2010_01The Holiday Concerts just keep getting better and better. The Maryland Encore Chorale concert was truly amazing yesterday. A packed house for sure. And the audience loved us. We could not have fit any more people in that concert hall. The concert had spectacular singing and the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and Washington Conservatory of Music Orchestra combined to make a wonderful sound. It was so much fun to be up on that stage. I never knew I had so much energy. And it takes a lot of energy to keep all those folks energized, happy and making great music. And it just keeps getting better. Truly amazing.

    I was so excited that sleep did not come easily last night. Really, it never came! Larry and I came home and had a glass of wine. We ate pizza. That was easy. We needed easy....... A no brainer. And no clean up. I just wanted to veg.

    The cove is now completely iced in with thicker ice every day. On Saturday Larry and I spent three bone chilling hours getting the sails down. We would take a sail down and drive it up to a neighbor's very large driveway where we would fold it and put it in the sail bag. A really big job. Those sails are huge......really huge. And then there was all the beer and soda that had to be removed from the boat storage and taken off the boat, or it would freeze and then pop. Didn't want that mess. I am afraid that when our January 3 haul out date for Cantabile comes, we will be really iced in. Poor Cantabile.

    Yes, Encore has taken over our lives. No time to do things like winterizing the boat in a timely manner, so we paid the price. But when we come home from a magnificent concert like we had yesterday, it all makes sense. We are so proud of Encore and what it has become. And it will continue to grow and grow.

    Thank heavens for the January cruise coming up! We will get some rest. And we will get to see Lucas all day Christmas Day. We are so excited about that little guy.

  • Happy New Year!

    happy_new_year_2011Here it is....only a few hours until 2011! And what a year 2010 was for Encore! We grew a lot! 100 singers new singers - we're closing in on 500!. And the rehearsals brought a lot of laughter and learning. I loved every minute of it. And the camps were so much fun, meeting new singers from around the country.
    Our concerts have been spectacular, drawing huge audiences that caused traffic jams in Northern Virginia and Silver Spring, MD. It is such a grand feeling to give back to the community through these wonderful and free concerts. Many fond memories.

    And 2010 has been an incredible year for Larry and me, as we became grandparents to Lucas. I still am in awe of the feelings I have for that little guy. Now I understand all the grandparent stories I hear. We all have bragging rights!

    Larry and I depart tomorrow for Fort Lauderdale for two nights before we board the ship for a Western Caribbean Singing at Sea Journey. We figure we needed to decompress before we got on the ship. We worked over the holidays on getting all the Holiday Concert pictures and articles up on the web site, accounting generated from all the truly wonderful contributions that have been streaming in, designing the 2011  brochures and fliers with our new assistant Mary Cottrell, and lots of other details that make Encore tick. So we are ready for a break. We aren't even taking our computer. Mary will get all the phone messages and emails. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

    I sure wish all my Encore singers were going on the cruise. I cannot tell you how fabulous you sounded in the concerts. Think about the QM2. Now that will be a voyage!

    Happy and Healthy New Year to you all and thanks so much for enriching our lives!

  • PHOTOS: Holiday Concerts 2010

    The MD/DC/VA area Encore Chorales performed a total of nine area concerts during the 2010 season. To view photo albums from some of these concerts, click on a picture to open the album. Then click on the right side of each picture to advance to the next.

    December 11th, Kenmore Middle School, Arlington, VA


    December 11th, Glen Echo Park, MD


    December 15th, Happenings Stage, Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, DC


    December 19th, Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD (Part I)


    December 19th, Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD (Part II)


    December 23rd, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington, DC (Part I)


    December 23rd, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington, DC (Part II)