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  • Chorales to Perform at Kennedy Center

    kc2009_1The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage has once again booked the combined Encore Chorales for a holiday concert on December 23, 2010 (view last year's performance here).  This is a prime date and will guarantee the Chorale a great audience: It's the night of the Annual Kennedy Center Messiah Sing-a-Long.  This will be the highlight of Encore's holiday concert series that will include several high-profile venues.  SAVE THE DATE(S)!

    Saturday, Dec. 11,  3pm  Kenmore Middle School in Arlington (Virginia and Smithsonian Chorales) featuring the Columbia Flute Choir.  (Download Flier Here)

    Saturday, Dec. 11, 7:00pm Washington Conservatory of Music Glen Echo Chorale

    Wednesday, Dec. 15, noon  Happenings Stage at Shakespeare Theatre (Smithsonian Chorale)

    Wednesday, Dec. 15, 7:30pm Goodwin House Alexandria (Goodwin Houses and Langston Brown Chorales) - Note: Residents Only

    Sunday, Dec. 19,  3 pm  The new Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Montgomery College in Takoma Park (Maryland and Smithsonian Chorales with Members of Washington Conservatory and Montgomery Symphony Orchestras)  SPONSORED BY FAMILY & NURSING CARE®  (Download Flier Here) (Get Directions Here)

    Tuesday, Dec. 21, 4pm, The Woodlands Retirement Community (Potomac Academy of GMU Encore Chorale) 

    Tuesday, Dec. 21, 7:30pm, Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads (Goodwin Houses and Langston Brown Chorales) - Note: Residents Only

    Thursday, Dec. 23, 6pm  on theMillennium Stage of the Kennedy Center (Members of all area Encore Chorales)
  • Summer Sing Ins

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  • Monday Morning Reflections on a Great Weekend!

    jeanne_boat_2010_07Larry and I crashed a party this weekend.  It was on the water over on the Eastern Shore, on a barge with about 40 kids, about 20 years old!   Now how about that!

    We had sailed over through the Knapps Narrows - Tilghman Island - on Friday evening and decided to anchor in Dun's Cove, a lovely and very peaceful place on Harris Creek which is off the mighty Choptank River.   Well, it is usually peaceful.  When coming into the cove we noticed what looked like a barge with lots of folks - loud folks - partying hearty.  There were workboats, as in crabbing boats, tied up on either side of the barge.  They had put picnic tables on the barge and they were cooking crabs, drinking beer, playing beer ping pong and just having a ball.   We anchored quite a distance away, with the wind carrying their noise downcreek.  After we got situated, we decided to get in the dinghy and take a little motor over to get a better look. Larry said I couldn't take my glass of wine because we would look like old snoots.  I took my wine.  He had a beer.  Just out for a cocktail cruise on the dinghy, but really being nosy about this fun party.   Well, they invited us to their party!  Those kids were so nice.  Just having a good time celebrating a birthday.  They were swimming and dancing and playing games.  They thought these two white haired folks were pretty cool.   Even took our picture with some of them.  And actually I was pretty good at beer ping pong.  That was the best party we ever crashed.

    The next morning we enjoyed coffee in the then very peaceful cove, watching a hot shot pilot do all kinds of neat things in his little yellow plane.  It was a gorgeous morning for air acrobats.  We decided to pick up anchor and go over to San Domingo Creek, off Broad Creek.  San Domingo is the "back door" to St. Michael's.  It is a more peaceful anchorage than going in on the Miles River and the holding ground is much better. There were only three boats anchored.   We got in the dinghy and went into town and discovered that the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum was having a Chesapeake Folk Festival.   We were very lucky to see the Caleb W. Jones - a Skipjack  - launched.  She has just been lovingly restored at the museum .  We saw her pulled out of the water three years ago, so it was a thrill to see her go back in fully restored.

    She looked so beautiful.  I couldn't help but think what the Chesapeake must have looked many years ago with all those lovely, graceful skipjacks plying the waters.  Now we see some mighty ugly new power and sail boats. 

    The festival had lots of demonstrations on antique letterpresses, blacksmithing, nameboard carving, dipnet making, crab pot making and pound net fishing. There was story telling by historians but I was really interested in the Smith Island Cake demonstration.

    Our neighbors had ordered two Smith Island cakes for a chamber music party we were giving this past winter and I was really interested in seeing how they make them.  The cakes are fantastic!  They were desingated the Official Dessert of Maryland in 2008 and they have become quite a sensation.  They were giving a demonstration on how to make the cakes and the women from Smith Island had the Smith Island accent and all the fascinating Smith Island stories.   For those that do not know about Smith Island, it is the only Maryland inhabited island accessible only by boat in the Chesapeake.  Visit if you have not.  It is truly amazing how those hearty folk make it.

    After the festival we dinghied back to Cantabile and cleaned up and went back into town for a fabulous dinner at a new place called Rupert's.  What a great day!   That evening we sat on our "front porch"  (the bow of our boat) in our chairs and watched the day quietly slip away.  Nothing like being on the water.

    Sunday was just your basic "windless" August day, so we motored back.  The storm that the weather channel was talking about slipped up the bay to our west.  What a lovely weekend.   Let's see.....it's Monday and we get to do it again leaving on Friday.  The plan is to explore in August  the rivers off the Choptank .  Next week is Oxford.  The Robert Morris Restaurant is again back in business and I hear them calling us to visit.

    But for now, I hear Encore calling. The Chautauqua camp is now less than a month away and registrations are still coming in. This camp is now officially the largest we've had and the numbers are still growing.  Looks like I didn't order enough music or tee-shirts - gotta get on the phone and order some more!

  • I May Need Help - But No Thanks, Spencer!

    spencerIt seems that my big boy cat Spencer is so excited about Encore and our camp and our upcoming fall season that he will not leave my desk!  He feels as if he has to help me dial the phone, compose emails, etc.  And he has one strong head butt!  I have made so many mistakes because of his "help."  Right now, he is sitting right beside the phone.  Sometimes he even knocks the receiver off the hook.  He is one crazy cat!

    I am amazed how many emails and calls I am receiving for our fall 2010 season . It seems as if the word about Encore Chorale is spreading.  This fall season is going to be one big happy party!  I can't wait to see all the returning singers and warmly welcome the new ones.  Ladies and gentlemen........start singing in the shower!

  • Try Us Out - This Week and Next!

    jeanne_boat_2010_07Spencer, my big baby boy cat, is on my lap all excited about camp.   He just helped me mail some music out.   We have fifty happy campers for Chautauqua.  It should be a fabulous five days and it's not too late to register.  Just do it now, because I will need a few days to order more music.  I would love to have you join us.

    I am busy preparing the camp music.   Yes, I must practice!  And besides conducting, I am accompanying Jane Potter Baumer, our soprano recitalist.   I really have to practice!   She is doing some wonderful Broadway tunes and they are such a treat to play.

    Tomorrow we will be doing our first Open Encore Rehearsal for anyone who wants to come to find out what Encore is about.   The Encore Chorale of Potomac Academy at GMU is hosting our two Tuesday rehearsals, Aug. 10 and 17 from 11am to 12:30pm.   After singing, we will be treated to some very delectable refreshments provided by the Woodlands Retirement Community where we rehearse.  Their address is 4320 Forest Hill Drive, Fairfax.  Let me know if you are coming because we want to have enough food!

    And for the next two Thursdays, we are holding open Encore rehearsals at our newest chorale location, Washington Conservatory of Music at Glen Echo.  We will meet Aug. 12 and 19 from 2 to 3:30pm.   So please join us.   Just let me know so I have enough music.  All these rehearsals are free and open to all.

    Spencer is ready to do more work.  He is really trying to help me type this blog.  ARGH! Now he is sitting on my keyboard giving himself a little bath.  Such a cutie!   His sister, Spicy, is sound asleep.  She can't be bothered.

  • Chorales to Perform at Kennedy Center

    kc2009_1The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage has once again booked the combined Encore Chorales for a holiday concert on December 23, 2010 (view last year's performance here).  This is a prime date and will guarantee the Chorale a great audience: It's the night of the Annual Kennedy Center Messiah Sing-a-Long.  This will be the highlight of Encore's holiday concert series that will include several high-profile venues.  SAVE THE DATE(S)!

    Saturday, Dec. 11,  3pm  Kenmore Middle School in Arlington (Virginia and Smithsonian Chorales) featuring the Columbia Flute Choir.  (Download Flier Here)

    Saturday, Dec. 11, 7:00pm Washington Conservatory of Music Glen Echo Chorale

    Wednesday, Dec. 15, noon  Happenings Stage at Shakespeare Theatre (Smithsonian Chorale)

    Wednesday, Dec. 15, 7:30pm Goodwin House Alexandria (Goodwin Houses and Langston Brown Chorales) - Note: Residents Only

    Sunday, Dec. 19,  3 pm  The new Cultural Arts Center on the campus of Montgomery College in Takoma Park (Maryland and Smithsonian Chorales with Members of Washington Conservatory and Montgomery Symphony Orchestras)  SPONSORED BY FAMILY & NURSING CARE®  (Download Flier Here) (Get Directions Here)

    Tuesday, Dec. 21, 4pm, The Woodlands Retirement Community (Potomac Academy of GMU Encore Chorale) 

    Tuesday, Dec. 21, 7:30pm, Goodwin House Bailey's Crossroads (Goodwin Houses and Langston Brown Chorales) - Note: Residents Only

    Thursday, Dec. 23, 6pm  on theMillennium Stage of the Kennedy Center (Members of all area Encore Chorales)
  • Back to Making Music!

    jeanne_boat_2010_07Today I had a great day.  I did what I love.   I got to hold court and conduct singers - returning Encore singers and Encore "wannabe's!"   What pure joy to meet these interesting and exciting people and make great music.   I get so crazy during the summer when most of what I do is sitting behind a computer, planning for the year, taking care of camp registrations, finding venues, finding support, etc.  It's all business and all badly needed.   But it is so much more fun and stimulating to sit behind a piano and feel totally happy and fulfilled.   Encore invited the public to an open rehearsal at our Potomac Academy of GMU Encore Chorale which rehearses at the beautiful Woodlands Retirement Community in Fairfax.   We had about 30 singers with many new ones coming to see what Encore is all about.  We sang for about an hour and then had a wonderful lite lunch provided by The Woodlands.

    A really nice way to spend a morning, when the rest of the world was enduring outside temps of 98 degrees and "Code Orange" air.  And...I get to do it again on Thursday at Glen Echo - then again at both locations next week!

  • Free "Sing-In" Rehearsals

    Suffering from the summer doldrums? Come sing with Encore!  Encore will present four FREE "sing-in" rehearsals in the month of August.  The rehearsals will be conducted by Encore Director Jeanne Kelly at two convenient Northern Virginia locations. Join her and a lively and fun group of older adults at any or all of these sessions.

    Tuesdays August 10 & 17 11:00am-12:30pm
    Woodlands Retirement Community
    4320 Forest Drive
    Fairfax, VA
    Refreshments will be served
    Thursdays August 12 & 19  2:00-3:30pm
    Glen Echo Park
    South Arcade Building (next to Adventure Theater)
    7300 MacArthur Blvd.
    Bethesdea, MD

    Please call Encore at 301-261-5747 to reserve your space!
  • Mid-August and In High Gear!

    butterfliesEncore's fall semester is just a few weeks away and I made Foxes Music very happy yesterday. I picked up 2,800 pieces of music for our Holiday Concert! That is a lot of music. We are their biggest choral customer. I go out of there with lots of boxes. Then the work really begins. Well, the work really began when months ago, I looked through many scores of music and had to make a decision. And lots of things go through my mind when I am choosing. Will the singers like it? Is it too high for our sopranos? Will it keep our interest? Will it be fun to rehearse? Will our audiences like it? So it is a difficult task just to choose it.

    Then I have to decide how much to order. That means I have to forecast growth. I invariably end up ordering more. Foxes loves me. 

    After it arrives, I have to number the scores for each chorale. Oh me. This is where I really wish I lived closer to some of my singers. They could help!
    Then I have to make the rehearsal CDs. Now that is a chore! This year I got some help. Alexandra Phillips, a professional soprano, did the soprano CD. And Linda Maguire, the wonderful mezzo who does our Assisted Living Encore Singers program, did the mezzo.

    That leaves me to do the tenor and baritone and that is all in my chest voice. Way down there. And the baritones will find that I don't own some of those really low notes. All in a day's work!

    Encore tried something new this summer. We held two Open "Sing-In" Encore Rehearsals at Potomac Academy of GMU at The Woodlands and at our newest Encore Chorale of the Washington Conservatory of Music at Glen Echo. They were very successful and fun. So I guess they are a keeper. We may do it for all chorales next summer.

    My big boy Spencer has just graced my desk. Sound asleep. He loves rainy days. He seems to be lazier than usual. And that's pretty darn lazy.

    NEWSFLASH! I heard from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and they have offered us December 23 as the date for our Kennedy Center Holiday Concert. It is a tremendous evening to be at the Kennedy Center, as that is the night they do the huge Messiah Sing Along, with thousands of folks showing up to sing the Messiah. So, many many folks will learn about Encore. Couldn't be a better date for us!

    We are a week and a half from going to Encore Chorale Camp at Chautauqua. 50 happy campers! Final preparations are underway - name tags, emails, emails, emails, working with the hotel, and my own musical preparation. Our soprano recitalist, Jane Potter Baumer (also director of our Indiana, PA Encore Chorale), asked me to accompany her for the recital. She is doing an exciting program of gorgeous Broadway tunes. So I thought it would be a piece of cake. Wrong! I have been practicing like mad.

    We can still register campers as long as I have music. And I don't have much. We have room for five more campers.

    And finally from the guy who takes all the Encore pictures and does the web site and so much more, a truly fabulous picture taken on the butterfly bush in our yard accompanies this post. Enjoy!

  • Day One at Chautauqua!

    chautauqua2It is the last day of August, 2010 and I am happily at Encore Chorale Camp in Chautauqua.

    I went downstairs to the old, elegant and comforting lobby of the Athenaeum Hotel for early morning coffee and when I went out onto the grand porch, all my senses came alive. I heard a bagpiper playing "Battle Hymn" and it was as if the geese and swans were swimming in rhythm to his haunting melody. The sun, a brilliant and perfect ball of orange, was ascending from the east over the hills of the lake, the fountains were gurgling sweetly and the aroma of the magnificent flowers was so sweet. It was as if everything was unfolding at once and it was all so beautiful.........almost surreal. I wanted it to go on forever.

    We finished our first day of camp, exhausted by happy. Encore got all the campers checked in, tee shirts, name tags given out and then we assembled for our first rehearsal. As Barry Talley, our guest conductor said, this is going to be a "Kamikaze read through" of all the repertoire. And it was! Fun but exhausting.

    After the two hour rehearsal, we all went back to the hotel to freshen up for our opening reception and dinner. Our campers bring such a joyful mix of personalities and dinner was such a great event. We consumed copious amounts of excellent food and drink.

    After dinner, we all went back to Lenna Hall for a simply delightful recital with Heather Haughn, violin and Jay DeWire, piano. Their recital was entitled "Encores for Encore." They played one fantastic piece after another. A truly fabulous evening for a very grateful and large audience.

    Camp is good!