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:
David – 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.