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  • A Lucky Break!

    stop_a_restWe lucked out big time.   The horrible storm that roared through on Friday night was a real hummer, but we only lost power for 12 hours.  We feel very fortunate indeed.  Where  we live, we're usually the last to get power restored. After Hurricane Irene, last year, we bought a generator, so we were prepared. Lots of trees down over here in Anne Arundel County, and there are still many without power.  And then there is the oppressive heat.   It is even too hot to sail.   Great wind but just too darn hot.

    The Encore office is BUSY!   Grant reports, preparing for Chautauqua, preparing for the fall, talking to folks interested in doing stories on Encore.   We are really on the cusp of some big things.  It is all very exciting, but every day I sit down at my desk and wonder what huge project I should tackle first.  But I did finalize my Holiday Concert music.   All I can say is FUN FUN FUN!  And the arranger of a piece we are doing is flying in from Chicago for our Kennedy Center December 23 concert!   WOW!  Now that is exciting.

    I love this very funny “rest” comic.   You know I am always harping on how important rests are.   Sage Mumma of AACC Encore Chorale sent it to me and I wanted to share it with you all.   Remember the rests!    They are the beautiful silent notes.  

    Have a very happy July 4th!

  • Lazy, Hazy? No! Crazy Days of Summer!

    jk_blog_photoEncore does not recognize the “lazy, hazy days of summer!” Crazy, however, is quite a different matter!  I have finally figured out and accepted the fact that it is a 365 day a year project. Not a job…….a continuing project.  And boy has it been exciting and busy.

    Voice of America has just come out with a wonderful clip on Encore, with filming at the Smithsonian Encore Chorale performing in their May 2012 concert at the American Indian Museum and also at our Encore Institute at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. It is a poignant piece which really tells our story, showing artistic excellence, mental, physical and social benefits.  Lots of buzz about this piece.  I received an email from Wayne Brown, Director of music and opera for the National Endowment for the Arts congratulating us.

    We are attracting a lot of attention. Kudos to all you wonderful singers!

    We will be adding our twelfth Encore Chorale this fall at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg.  Bob Johnson, Musical Director of the National Institutes for Health Community Chorus, will be the conductor.  He has a stellar background in the choral world and we are most fortunate to have him on board with Encore.

    I traveled to Leisure World in Leesburg yesterday to conduct an Encore Chorale Workshop with about 30 singers and it looks like we may be starting an Encore Chorale at Leisure World.  The singers were engaged, excited and excellent.  A large Encore Chorale would serve their campus well.

    I was asked by Philip Brunelle, artistic director of VocalEssence in Minneapolis, one of the country’s very best choral ensembles, to write an article about the Chorus America Conference for the International Choral Journal. Philip is an internationally reknowned choral director in great demand all over the world. I was honored.  He met with me in Minneapolis and took a great interest in what Encore is doing. 

    And then there is all the preparation for opening all twelve – maybe thirteen, Encore Chorales. Flyers, press releases, music, rehearsal space, working with our partners………..I need more help!

    But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Larry and I are leaving for beautiful France soon!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh I can just taste the cheese, bread, and of course wine.

    But first I have to get that article finished!

  • Voice of America Reports on Encore

    voaVoice of America has released a video report on Encore Creativity for Older Adults.  The report, which currently appears online, will be broadcast worldwide.

    VIEW THE REPORT HERE

    Full Written Report:

    ST MARY'S CITY, Maryland — A decade ago, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which supports artists, began studying creativity and aging with three choral groups.

    The agency's research ended years ago but the choral groups kept on singing and, led by a professional director, have flourished.

    There are now 11 choral groups in the Washington area which belong to Encore Creativity for Older Adults, and one affiliate group in the Midwestern state of Ohio.

    “We are trying to make this a national movement,” says Jeanne Kelly who founded and directs the program.

    Singers don’t have to audition to join, and no experience is required.  

    Some have been singing all their lives. Others stopped singing to raise families and focus on careers. And some have never sung, because they were told they couldn’t.

    “Many of them write to me and say, ‘All I want to do is learn how to sing so I won’t embarrass myself,’” Kelly says.

    The 11 chorales all study the same repertoire, which makes it easy during concert season to combine them into a larger chorus, depending on the size of the concert hall.

    Once the concert season is over, Kelly focuses on two summer programs, one at Chautauqua in New York, and another at St. Mary’s College in Maryland. Singers have only four days to learn five compositions before they perform for an audience.

  • Encore Receives MetLife Foundation Grant

    metlifefoundationbluelogo

    Encore Creativity for Older Adults is proud to have been selected to be the Technical Assistance grantee for the MetLife Foundation Technical Assistance Grants in the category of Lifelong Learning.  The Grant will enable Encore to  bring Lifetime Arts, a MetLife Foundation Leadership Award Winner, to the DC area to provide a half-day of technical assistance to Encore's board, staff and volunteers and a half-day forum in the local community to bring together arts, aging and social services in the community.  The National Center for Creative Aging coordinated the grant process and will facilitate planning between Lifetime Arts and Encore.

  • VIDEO: Voice of America Report on Encore

    View Voice of America report on Encore Creativity for Older Adults, released in July, 2012

    Full Report:

    ST MARY'S CITY, Maryland — A decade ago, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which supports artists, began studying creativity and aging with three choral groups.

    The agency's research ended years ago but the choral groups kept on singing and, led by a professional director, have flourished.

    There are now 11 choral groups in the Washington area which belong to Encore Creativity for Older Adults, and one affiliate group in the Midwestern state of Ohio.

    “We are trying to make this a national movement,” says Jeanne Kelly who founded and directs the program.

    Singers don’t have to audition to join, and no experience is required.  

    Some have been singing all their lives. Others stopped singing to raise families and focus on careers. And some have never sung, because they were told they couldn’t.

    “Many of them write to me and say, ‘All I want to do is learn how to sing so I won’t embarrass myself,’” Kelly says.

    The 11 chorales all study the same repertoire, which makes it easy during concert season to combine them into a larger chorus, depending on the size of the concert hall.

    Once the concert season is over, Kelly focuses on two summer programs, one at Chautauqua in New York, and another at St. Mary’s College in Maryland. Singers have only four days to learn five compositions before they perform for an audience.

    Jeanne Heather, 82, has attended the summer institute in St. Mary’s since it began five years ago.

    ”They teach us here, not only about the music, but how to sing, and how to sing better," Heather says.  "And they don’t really get mad if you miss a note.”

    Margo Newhouse, 74, who joined Encore a year ago after recovering from a fall, says the summer program has been therapeutic. “I was very tired each day at the end of the day, and it was a healthy tiredness, which I am sure has helped me with my activity level.”

    The 2001 research that launched Encore proved it would be beneficial, Kelly says. The study compared 150 participants to a control group of inactive seniors.

    The singers who worked with her, “had much higher morale, suffered much less depression. They took fewer medications. They had fewer falls. They saw the doctor less.”

    Today, there are more than 550 singers in Encore. The average age is 73, but some are in their 90s.

    Proof, Kelly says, that you're never too old to sing.