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  • Back from a (Mostly) Lovely Cruise!

    jeanne_boat_2010_07After two weeks on our sailboat, my brain seems like a mess of cobwebs! Being away from civilization will do that to you.

    I must confess that I hardly thought about work. Maybe that is why it is so difficult to be back at my desk. It feels so foreign!

    Actually I have been out of the office for a total of three weeks. Our Encore Chorale Camp at St. Mary's college of Maryland was June 15 to 19 and we had a perfect week. We really had a great five days of meeting new friends and making great music. Throw in some dance and movement and terrific evening concerts and a beautiful boat cruise and a truly great grand finale concert and that sums up the five days. We sure packed in a lot in a short amount of time.

    I returned home on Saturday night and Larry and I were out of the door on our beloved sailboat Cantabile by 11am Sunday morning. No wind to take us down to Solomons Island but we didn't care. We have a big engine and we just put on the auto pilot and enjoyed the five six hour cruise. It was delightful. Absolutely delightful. And from that time on, we had fantastic wind for the most of the rest of the two weeks.  We covered 448 miles and we sailed most of those miles. Incredible wind. Ahhhhh

    Next stop was the Wicomico River on the Eastern Shore of MD. Great sail and stunning scenery. We stopped in at Whitehaven and pulled into a marina so we could have dinner at the Red Roost restaurant. Yum! We got the New England clam bake. Then we motored up to Wicomico Creek for a very peaceful evening at anchor. Next morning we took the dinghy up the creek for about four miles. Talk about gorgeous!

    Then we were on our way to Tangier Island. This was the only other time we really had to  motor all the way. No wind. The last time we were in Tangier Sound, about three years ago, we had a very fast sail. Not this time. Got in to Tangier and went into Parks Marina, the only one on the island. We have been there about four times and Mr. Milton Parks is such a hoot. He has lived his entire life on the island as a waterman and now at the age of 79, he just does his marina. I remember the first time we pulled in there many years ago, he recited Shakespeare as we were tying up! He know everything about Tangier and he knows everyone! But there are only about 600 people left on the island. They all speak in a Elizabethan English dialogue. Very interesting. Went out to dinner at the Waterman's Restaurant and then Mr. Parks gave us a tour of the island in his golf cart. No cars on the island....just carts and bikes. And everyone goes visiting in the evening. You won't find this anywhere else. Well maybe on Smith Island, the island due north of Tangier.  Next morning we walked down to the end of the island to the beach, the most beautiful on the bay. Nobody is ever on that beach. And I mean nobody. Just beautiful.

    We returned to the boat and took off for Dymer Creek off of Fleets Bay on the Northern Neck. So peaceful there. We sailed most of the way, but the wind died and it got really hot. So we motored in, dropped the anchor and had a lovely evening. Took a little dinghy ride up the creek. Came back and slept well.

    Next morning we started to go across the bay to Cape Charles but the wind was blowing out of the south east (the direction we were headed) so we went up the Rappahanock River. By this time a heat wave was really settling in and it was 98 degrees. We had a fabulous sail but it felt like it was a blowing furnace in your face. The forecast was for the heat to continue or get worse. We didn't like what we were hearing, so we decided then to head for home. Nothing like being out on a sailboat in 100 degree heat and sun. But the morning brought a very strong north wind, not conducive to going north. So we decided to go for a fabulous sail down to Cape Charles, just about where the Bay meets the ocean. What a sail! And the temperature stayed in the 80's. Thanks heavens we didn't go home. Cape Charles is gorgeous. On the way in to Cape Charles, a coast guard boat was racing past us with its emergency light on and we thought they must be going to a huge emergency. Well, that emergency was us! They pulled up alongside of us and asked if we had ever been boarded by the Coast Guard. We said no. Then they asked us if we had firearms. We said no. I was nervous. Here we are......two 60 year old folks with white hair and the Coast Guard is coming aboard! They asked to see our registration, all our safety equipment, flares, fire extinguishers, etc. We passed with flying colors and we got a "good as gold" certificate. So that was the excitement for the day. Had a fabulous dinner at Aqua and slept well.

    On Saturday morning the temps started cranking back up. We walked into Cape Charles, did a little shopping and walked back to the boat. Larry watched the USA-Ghana soccer game at the bar and I went swimming. Then 40 huge power yachts from Hampton started arriving. Party central. The dockhand suggested if we wanted to sleep we may want to move to a dock farther from party central. We did....happily. That evening we made reservations to take a train ride on the Bay Creek Train. It was a dining car so we would be dining as we rode thru the countryside. Well, the train overheated and only got about 20 feet. So that was the train ride. Temperatures were heating up and Cape Charles was becoming an oven. Back to the boat for a hot sleep.

    Sunday brought hotter temps so we decided to put in the AC and stay in the marina one more day. Wrong decision. It was so hot that the AC could not keep up with the heat. The boat was like an oven. We decided we would head for home the next day.

    We left Cape Charles and got to the Great Wicomico River with three menhaden boats on our stern and our roller fuller jib was not cooperating. And tons of wind. Wrong time for the furling not to work. So Larry had to bring the whole jib sail on to the deck. It was about 101 degrees. Miserable. All I wanted was my house and AC. We agreed we would continue north in the am. But the next morning there was a very heavy north wind so we decided to sail thru the Kedges Straits over to Crisfield. It wasn't exactly north towards home, but it was a great sail. Crisfield is a very sad little town. Mrs. Paul's Seafood and Carvel Cutlery have long since moved out and everything is boarded up or falling apart. And they built these ugly condos thinking people would buy them and bring the town back to life. Hasn't happened.

    Tuesday the heat wave finally broke and we crossed the bay into the Potomac River and went into the quiet Coan River on the southern shore of the Potomac. Not much happening there. Dropped hook and had a great evening. Next morning we went up to Nomini Creek off the Potomac. This is a beautiful area, with high cliffs and an island where you can hunt for sharks teeth. Our cruising guide said there was a great inn to have dinner but it had gone out of business. Bad luck. We had a great dinner on board.

    On Friday we had a roaring sail to St. Mary's River on the Potomac (where our camp was) and dropped anchor in Horse Shoe Bend. We grilled some tasty chicken for lunch and then took naps. What a nice way to spend an afternoon. St. Mary's River Concert Series was having their big July 4 celebration that evening with Brian Ganz playing Gershwin Piano Concerto. Our daughter Heather plays in that symphony. Heather brought a picnic for us and we sat and visited before the concert. She also got us front row seats!  It was a great night. There were more than 4000 people there! There was actually a traffic jam at the dinghy dock!

    The next morning we had a great sail half way up to Solomons. This was our final night of the cruise. We dinghied ashore and dined at the Dry Dock, then returned for a restful night.

    Sadly, we had to motor much of the last day of the trip, but we sure did have some phenomenal sailing along the way. There is nothing like being on our boat. Well..........maybe the Queen Mary 2. But that will be next summer. Hint, hint. Encore is going on the QM2 next summer!

  • Chautauqua Entertainment

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  • We're on Facebook!

    jeanne_boat_2010_07I heard it announced today that there are now 500 million registered users on Facebook. Well, maybe we were that 500 millionth, because Encore now has a Facebook page - one more way to keep in touch. From now on, most significant news updates that appear on our website will also be on our Facebook page. For you Facebook users out there, that means if you "like" our page (if you're a user, you know what that means), you'll get those updates automatically on your personal Facebook page.  So...visit our page (click here) and "like" us.  If you're not already a Facebook user, now may be the time - you can be among the next 500 million users!

    Oh, and we now have a Facebook link on this website so you can share our news with your friends (please do!).

  • A Respite from the Summer Heat

    jeanne_boat_2010_07I do hope you are all enjoying the little respite we are experiencing from that brutal heat wave. I hated it, and my cats hated it so much they didn't even go out on the screened-in porch. We all hated it. And it certainly did not allow us to sail on Cantabile. There is nothing like sailing in 105 degree heat. The Bay was empty. Speaking of the Bay, I watched a sailboat limp in on Sunday evening with a blown out jib. It evidently had gotten caught in the severe storm that rolled through. But shame on him for having his sail up!  When we hear of an approaching storm and you can actually see them coming, the sails are quickly taken down and we really batten down the hatches. Those storms can be brutal. I love being out on the Bay and the weather alert sounds saying:  "Seek immediate shelter." Sure. The most we could do is for one of us to go below - but that never happens. We have been thru some real hummers. Like the time the wind was so severe that it picked up our dinghy out of the water and twirled it around. Wow. That dinghy is not light. That must have been some wind.  And then there is the lightning! That is the stuff that really bothers me. With a 58 foot mast, we are a real target out there. So we don't touch any metal and hope for the best. And I keep saying sailing is so much fun!!!

    We have two more weeks for all of you to register for Encore Chorale Camp at Chautauqua. We have forty singers registered and more still coming in. And many have had lots of choral experience. It will be a fabulous five days. Come on and join us! I promise you a great time.

    Isn't it hard to keep a lovely flower garden in this weather? ARGH! The good news is that we have not had many weeds. I think weeds flourish in wetness which we have not had. I don't tolerate weeds! Not in my garden. My knockout roses have been so beautiful, and our lantana and lilies and blackeyed susans and daisies are so pretty. And all the sea grasses are so healthy. We water! Larry tried his luck at tomato plants this year and they are really paying off. The tomatoes are delicious with mozzarella and herbs. Yum!

    Our daughter Tiffany and her husband Mike are expecting their first child November 2nd. Yes, we are going to be gramma and grandpa. We can't wait! Their friends and her sister Heather threw them a couples baby shower. What fun and what gorgeous presents. Such a happy time for our family. I imagine I am going to be one of those grandparents showing everyone I know my grandbaby pictures!

    I better get back to my PR job.......that is my Encore PR job. I have spent so many hours spreading the word about Encore - all ten chorales! So help me spread the word. Tell a neighbor......bring a neighbor. The more the merrier. And September will be here before we know it. Where oh where did summer go!

  • Encore Offers Free Entertainment Programs at Chautauqua

    Encore Chorale Camp at Chautauqua Institution announces FREE recitals and entertainment at Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall – Tenth Week

    Monday, August 30        7:30pm          West Shore Duo, Heather Haughn, Violin, Jay Dewire, Piano performing “Encores for Encore,”  including Schumann’s Traumerei and Horowitz’s Carmen Variations.

    Tuesday, August 31        4:00 to 6:00pm          Boat Cruise on the Chautauqua Belle ($12.00 per person for public.  Please call Athenaeum Hotel at 716-357-4444 for reservation.)

    Wednesday, September 1,    7:30pm          Jane Potter-Baumer, Soprano, Jeanne Kelly, Piano performing An Evening of Beloved Broadway

    Thursday, September 2          7:30pm          “Unexpected Guests”, a delectably funny and clever improvisation troupe

    Friday, September 3               2:00pm          Encore Chorale Camp presents Grand Finale Choral Concert:  Singers, ages 55+, will perform works by Handel, Haydn, Two Great Spirituals, Gershwin and a specially written arrangement of “Music Man” for Encore Chorale campers.

    About the Encore Camp:      Older adult singers, age 55 and over, will rehearse daily with conductors Jeanne Kelly, founder of Encore Creativity for Older Adults and Dr. Barry Talley, retired Director of  Musical Activities at the United States Naval Academy.  Singers will take classes in movement/dance, vocal technique, sectionals and two choral rehearsals daily. Evenings will be filled with recitals open free to the community.

    Singers will be staying at the Athaneum Hotel, where they can relax on the grand porch overlooking beautiful Chautauqua Lake.  Local residents may commute, if they wish. Registration deadline is August 15, 2010.

  • Encore St. Mary's Camp - Fun for All!

    01a-groupEncore Chorale Camp at St. Mary’s College of Maryland 2010 was a resounding success. 30 campers gathered at the beautiful St. Mary’s College of Maryland June 15 – 19 ready to eat, sleep and drink music. Each day began with a movement/dance class where the campers enjoyed the expert teaching under dancer Tiffany Haughn. She put them thru their paces limbering up their bodies and teaching them exciting dance steps. Everyone enjoyed this entertaining class.

    There were two choral rehearsals daily in which the singers learned vocal technique and rehearsed their choral repertoire under Encore founder Jeanne Kelly. With only nine 1 ½ hour rehearsals to prepare for the grand camp finale concert , the singers worked diligently at learning the notes and perfecting their tone and the style of the music.

    The first evening opened with a catered dinner for the campers, followed by a concert by the fabulous West Shore Piano Trio in St. Mary’s Hall. With travelling to St. Mary’s College, taking a dance class and then rehearsing, the campers slept well indeed.

    On Wednesday, the campers started with dance class, then a challenging rehearsal, lunch, followed by a short break and then on to a vocal technique class. The class was taught as if it were a private voice lesson. Students had the chance to sing alone and learn what to do to produce a better sound. This was a big hit. Then on to another choral rehearsal, followed by dinner.

    Wednesday evening the campers participated in a drumming circle with Alan Yellowitz of “The Beat Goes On.” It was rhythmic, crazy, fun and loud! They had a ball playing many different types of percussion instruments. Then off to the dorms for another good night of rest.

    Thursday was another day of dance and choral rehearsals. Thursday evening everyone enjoyed an All-American picnic at the beautiful St. Mary’s College Sailing Center, followed by a chartered boat ride. The campers enjoyed the stunning scenery of the St. Mary’s River. Captain Bruce Scheibel gave excellent narration of the fascinating history of the area. A fabulous evening for the campers!

    Friday morning the campers thoroughly enjoyed their final dance class, followed by intense choral rehearsals throughout the day in preparation for their Saturday concert. Friday evening the campers enjoyed an excellent catered dinner, followed by an outdoor concert presented by the Chesapeake Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Silberschlag. The campers enjoyed sipping wine and listening to Konzertstucke for Horns by Schumann, Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Jeffrey Chappell, pianist, and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 “Spring.” It was a spectacular evening.

    Saturday was the big day and the campers were psyched. Their final camp concert was announced at the symphony concert the evening before and the singers were recognized in front of over 2000 concert goers. This was their chance to shine and shine they did!

    Their repertoire included the spirited traditional folk song round of Hey Ho, Nobody’s Home, followed by the haunting melody of Black is the Color. Their sound was beautiful and focused. They sang lyrically with a lovely legato tone in Kyrie by Jay Althouse and Jazz Cantate by Andy Beck. Then they let their hair down with a rousing rendition of The Big City Soundincluding Theme from New York, New York, Walking to New Orleans, My Kind of Town (Chicago Is), and Hooray for Hollywood.

    Closing the concert was a very spirited performance of Broadway Blockbustersfrom Broadways’ Longest Running Shows, including One, Beauty and the Beast, Tradition, Sun and the Moon, and Do You Hear the People Sing?

    Encore Chorale Camp was a fabulous week of fun, meeting new friends with similar interests, learning more about their voices, attending excellent and professional concerts, and performing their own spectacular finale.

    CLICK HERE TO GO TO PHOTO SLIDE SHOW

  • The Joys (and Tribulations) of a Home Office

    spencerI have been at my desk since 7am preparing for our Encore Creativity for Older Adults Board of Directors meeting tomorrow.  And I am reminded why it is so very nice to work in a home office.   Spencer, my big baby boy cat is helping me on the computer.  Smile

    Sometimes he even makes entire documents disappear!  But he sure makes it human.   He seems to like it when I put his covered bed on my desk right beside me.   He just loves being right beside me.   That must be why he misbehaved when Larry and I were sailing!

    He just let me know that my absence was totally unacceptable.

  • Another Interesting Morning on the Bay

    jeanne_boat_2010_07Early mornings are my favorite.  Just me, my coffee, my Washington Post and the cats!  We sit up in the living room overlooking the gorgeous Chesapeake Bay and watch it wake up.  I can't tell you how many looks the bay has.  Each morning is deliciously different. And this morning our resident heron was quite entertaining.  I watched him catch a snake, about 1and ½ feet long, and then take about 20 minutes to try and kill it.  He shook that thing until I was sure the snake was out of his misery. But the snake (I did not say "poor" snake because I hate them) did not catch on that he should no longer be among the living.  He kept wiggling. The heron was just so desperate to eat this thing.  So the heron let it go and start pecking it with his beak.  Still, the snake did not relent.  The heron picked it up, held it in his beak and then swallowed the quite active snake. Then........the heron stood in the same position for about a half hour.  Its stomach was probably experiencing some distress!  What a wake-up scene.  And that is how my mornings go.  The best time of day.
  • PHOTOS: St. Mary's College of Maryland Camp June 15-19, 2010

    The 2010 Encore campers at St. Mary's College had a great five days of music and fun!  Click on photo below to launch slide show, then click on right side to advance to next photo.