A Conversation with Encore Singer Sandra Quinn

Interview conducted by ENCORE conductor David Simmons

Recently, while telephoning each of my DC ROCKS singers to check in with them during this challenging time, I discovered that one of our members, Dr. Sandra Quinn, is in the eye of our current COVID-19 storm due to her decades of work in the fields of public health and health equity, where a portion of her work has focused on public health emergency preparedness and response. She was the first to examine public attitudes toward emergency use authorizations for drugs and vaccines and test an empirical model of disparities in exposure, susceptibility, and access to care during a pandemic.  I asked Dr. Quinn if she would chat with me about her work in the field of public health as well as her experiences as a devoted singer in ENCORE.  She agreed and I am thrilled to share my conversation with the Encore family:

Sandra Quinn Photo 01 1David At what age did you start singing in choirs/choruses and what is your choral background?

Sandra – My first experience with formal singing was in my Andover High School Chorus in Linthicum, MD.  That was also my last formal choral experience until I started singing with ENCORE many years later.

David How long have you been singing with Encore?

Sandra – I started singing with ENCORE in September of 2014

David What path led you to Encore?

Sandra – I had heard a story on NPR about choral groups for older singers and said to my husband that, if the opportunity arose, I wanted to join one of these groups.  Since I am still working full-time, I could not join a chorus with rehearsals that occurred during the day, but then I discovered that ENCORE was offering an evening rehearsal in DC.  I have not missed a semester since joining in 2014.

David What Encore ensembles/camps/tours have you participated in over the years?

Sandra I sang in a Chorale from the fall of 2014 through 2015.  When the ROCKS division of ENCORE was formed in the fall of 2015, I joined the inaugural ROCKS group in DC and I have sung with ROCKS ever since its inception.  I sang in ENCORE’s summer camps at Chautauqua in 2016 and 2017 and participated in both the 2018 and 2019 Rock & Roll Summer Camps and I am signed up for this coming summer’s Rock & Roll Camp.

David What keeps bringing you back to Encore’s programs each season? 

Sandra – Several things keep bringing me back to ENCORE:  I love the singing; I’ve made a whole new set of friends; I love the learning; I love the different conductors’ styles; I love the sense of accomplishment and excitement that you feel at the end of a semester right before a concert.  In fact, many times, as we are coming to the end of a concert program, I will often find myself crying on stage from a pure sense of joy at what we have all just experienced.

David What is your favorite aspect of Encore’s programming?

Sandra – Once again, there are several things I need to mention:  One, if I was not working full-time anymore, I would be doing both Chorale and ROCKS and ALL the camps and retreats.  Second, with ROCKS, I love the fact that even though I knew the melody to many of the songs for years, I now have to learn a new part in a new arrangement of the song.  Finally, I find it interesting that the ROCKS pieces that I love the best are not the arrangements of songs that I have loved for years.  Instead, it is often the arrangements of the songs that I didn’t know at all before singing them with ROCKS that I come to love the most.

Read more: A Conversation with Encore Singer Sandra Quinn

Encore is Now a Combined Federal Campaign Approved Charity

ShowSomeLove BlueEncore Creativity has recently been designated as an official charity of the Chesapeake Bay Area Combined Federal Campaign. For those of you who are federal employees, you may make your pledge via a payroll deduction and it is easy to renew your gift each year. For retirees and survivors, you can now make a one-time contribution or a recurring gift that is automatically deducted from your retirement annuity. 

The 2019 Combined Federal Campaign runs from September 9, 2019 through January 10, 2020 via the CFC giving portal.

 Encore’s CFC Charity ID 49601.

 View Encore’s video as part of the CFC Virtual Charity Fair

Perhaps you are not a federal employee, retiree or survivor, but we imagine that you know some folks who are, and might be willing to support an organization that YOU care about. We encourage you to share this information with them, letting them know of the positive impact Encore makes in the world.


Encore singers recently participated in a virtual performance of Bizet's "Habanera" with Denyce Graves in collaboration with the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in a tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. WATCH HERE