There are always community gems we rarely hear about, but Encore Chorale, which was founded in 2001, has become a treasure chest of talent. They began as a study to see what the impact of professionally conducted cultural programs would have on the physical, mental, and social functioning would have on older adults.
It started with 2 groups in Virginia and Washington DC, and now there are over two dozen groups of singing seniors in the Baltimore/Washington Suburbs.
Encore is a non-profit tax exempt organization that is open to members 55 and over, no matter what their abilities. This article focuses on one of the new branches in Columbia, Maryland. They rehearse on Mondays at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center. Stephen Harouff, who also conducts the Towson group, is the Conductor and Anne Ball is the Chorale Master.
The Encore Chorales of Anne Arundel Community College, Columbia, Towson and Southern Maryland will Present With a Song in my Heart on Sunday, May, 15 at 3:00 PM at AACC Pascal Center for the Performing Arts in Arnold, Maryland. The Encore Chorales of Columbia and Schweinhaut Senior Center will be reprising this performance on Wednesday, May 18th at 7:30 at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center in Columbia, Maryland. This concert was also performed in Towson on May 7th. It features the romantic music of Rodgers and Hart, Hoagy Carmichael, and a medley from Guys and Dolls.
I had a chance to chat with one of their members Etarae Weinstein of Columbia, with an assist from Jeanne Kelly, Founder and Artistic Director, at Encore Creativity for Older Adults.
Who are the members of the group?
Seniors 55 and older. I’m in the Columbia group, but there are Chorales all over the Baltimore-Washington area and throughout the
Encore is dedicated to providing an excellent and accessible artistic environment for older
How does one join?
Registration for the chorales may be done online in advance of the first rehearsal or by check the first day. Some of the locations do require advance registration and that a and all registration information is available on the Encore website.
How long have they been in existence?
Encore Chorale was incorporated as a non-profit organization in April 2007. The one in Columbia began in August 2015. Here is a full history.
When do they perform?
We give two or three of the same performances in December and another two or three with our new repertoire in May.
How is the music chosen?
The music is chosen by the national headquarters and is the same for all the chorales countrywide. When we perform, several chorales perform together.
Why did you personally join the group?
I already sing in my synagogue’s choir, and a friend told me about this group. I thought it would be fun to join, and it is.
Why do you find it satisfying to sing with the Encore Chorale?
I like being part of such a beautiful sounding group of singers. I haven’t been in such a large group of singers since college.
Who is your audience?
Family and friends, groups, walk-ins, other seniors. The concerts are free and open to the public.
How do people buy tickets for the concerts?
The concerts are free and seating is on a first come basis. No tickets are needed, just show up at the concert hall.
Where does Encore Chorale receive its funding?
In addition to the tuition, they rely on donations from singers and other supporters. Encore is appreciative of a grand from the Maryland State Arts Council to help fund the program, and does solicit business sponsorships and advertising.
Encore has also started a new program called Encore Rocks, which runs a similar 15-week rehearsal schedule, but the music is focused on rock and roll music. The first Encore Rocks concert, featuring the DC and Glen Echo groups was held on May 5th and will be offered at several locations in the DC area.
For more information on the Encore Chorales, their history, the locations of the many Chorales and the dates, times, and venues of their performances, visit their website or call (301) 261-5747.
In the Moment: Meet the Encore Chorale by David Siegel on DCMetroTheaterArts.
Watch the Encore Chorale perform at The Kennedy Center.