Encore Creativity for Older Adults’ guiding mission is to provide an excellent and accessible artistic environment for older adults. We seek to give all adults 55 and older, regardless of experience or ability, the opportunity to perform under a professional artist.
Encore is the nation’s largest choral arts organization for adults 55 and over. With over 30 ensembles (and growing!) nationwide, and over 1300 singers ages 55 to 99, Encore is a leading organization in the field of creative aging. Encore’s programs include traditional choral music performances, Encore ROCKS groups singing rock ‘n’ roll hits from the 50s and beyond, therapeutic Arts for Life programs for individuals with early- to mid-stage cognitive change and their care partners, and online Encore University classes to supplement our singers’ musical journeys.
Encore was established in 2007 by Jeanne Kelly. Jeanne took a leadership role in the landmark Creativity and Aging Study, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Institutes for Health. The study found that older adults receive tremendous physical, mental, and emotional benefits by participating in professionally-led choral arts programs. Over the next fifteen years, Jeanne led Encore to its current position of national prominence.
Accessibility is the key to Encore’s success. There are no auditions to become a member of an Encore program; interested singers need only to have a love for music and a desire to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. No singer needs to have any experience with music or singing, and the ability to read music is not necessary. Singers may be seated or standing for all ninety-minute rehearsals and performances. Most importantly of all, Encore is fun! Encore singers love the music, love to sing, and thrive on the camaraderie that comes with the Encore experience.
Encore continues to set priorities that provide singers with:
• artistic excellence, learning vocal and proper breathing techniques;
• mental, emotional and physical improvements;
• an ongoing positive social outlet and participation in a caring community of fellow singers.
Encore strives to serve new and returning singers by setting goals for the future that include:
• maintaining our commitment to providing accessible and excellent artistic environments for all older adults, and upholding our values of consistency, transparency, and integrity;
• expanding Encore programs into new locations, and growing participation in our current communities;
• incorporating diverse voices into every program; and
• serving as the thought leader and voice for creative aging and older adult arts programs throughout the country.
Encore is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization.
Jeanne Kelly, along with Dr. Gene Cohen, launched a chorale program for an NEA-funded study that would later become Encore Creativity. The study found that older adults benefited tremendously from creative activities, and improved physical, mental, and emotional health just from singing in a chorale for 90 minutes once per week.
Jeanne Kelly officially forms Encore Creativity for Older Adults, starting the first fall season with five chorales hosted in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area.
Encore launched its Choral Institutes programs, providing summer chorale camps between the spring and fall semesters. Two more chorale ensembles launched in the fall, and all seven ensembles performed a joint concert at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage series, kickstarting an annual holiday tradition.
Encore goes global! The first “Singing at Sea” travel cruise launched in 2009 aboard the Queen Mary, bringing Encore’s singers across the sea to perform in illustrious venues in England, France, Spain, Portugal, Canada, and more.
Encore ROCKS officially launched as the second ensemble program in Encore’s repertoire, singing rock ‘n’ roll classics and modern-day hits.
Washington DAR Constitution Hall hosted Encore for its 10th anniversary celebration, with over 750 singers attending and singing.
The annual holiday concert at the Kennedy Center moved to its famous Concert Hall, and with over 500 singers performing to an audience of over 2000, the Kennedy Center established Encore as an annual guest.
Arts for Life programs began with Sentimental Journey Singers, a therapeutic program to connect those with early- to mid-stage cognitive change with their care partners through song.
When in-person programming was postponed due to the pandemic, Encore swiftly acted to adopt online choral programs and launch its online Encore University educational program.
Encore’s 15th anniversary marked a major event at the Strathmore Music Center, with singers of all three ensembles singing in harmony to celebrate the retirement of Jeanne Kelly and a new chapter in Encore history.