Encore Creativity for Older Adults is the nation’s largest choral organization for adults over the age of 55. They are just now coming to the greater Seattle area.
Encore Creativity is a chorale celebration, bringing seniors together to sing and express themselves. Joshua Vickery, CEO of Encore Creativity, and local conductor Dr. Natalie Lerch join Suzanne to talk about the program. Based in Maryland, Encore has 15 Chorales and 6 Encore ROCKS rock & roll choruses in the metropolitan Baltimore-Washington area, as well as a chorale in New York City. Encore’s newest program is the Sentimental Journey Singers (SJS) for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s or other memory impairment. Encore has two SJS locations in Virginia. Through their Affiliate Program, they also have chorales in California, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Encore singers number nearly 2,000 across the country. Encore is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax exempt organization.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Welcome to the answers for elders radio show. meet the trusted experts who will give you straight answers and will help guide you on the path of later life care. Now here’s your host, founder, caregiver and CEO, Susanne Newman, and welcome everyone to answers for elders radio network. And I am so excited for this show today because we’re kind of doing something a little bit unique. It’s not about the hard stuff, it’s not about the depressing stuff, it’s not about the legal stuff and all the things that we talk about. We’re going to talk about a program that is nothing more than joy and joy and celebration of life, and I am here with some amazing individuals and Um encred creativity. You may probably have not heard about it yet, for the main reason that encord creativity is just now coming to the grittier Seattle area and what it does, what this organization does, is it is a choral celebration of bringing seniors together to sing and express themselves, and I am so thrilled to have with us on our program the CEO of encart creativity, Mr Joshua Vicory, and also our local conductor, who is a major superstar in coral circles and that is Natalie Lurch and thank you both for being on the program with us today. Yeah, thank you, Susanna. It’s wonderful to be here. Thanks for having us. Well, I’m thrilled to have you guys on because I have a coral background. Matter of fact, I was a voice major in college. I don’t know, I never told you guys that. And why do you think? I talked for a living? Now you know a little bit more, right. But I also, Um, I not only was I a music but major, and I had, you all, seventeen years of private piano lessons. So I was had a very musical background. But Um, I also sang in quire of the sound, which is pretty well known choral organization, Um, and was actually on their board of trustees at one time until I got called to go take care of my mother and that kind of curtailed all of my extracurricular activities and then I got married and I got my business and you know, I just didn’t have time anymore. But I know the joy of what it’s like to be a part of the synergy of a choir and certainly to have that harmony around you on a regular basis is something that is truly amazing and feeds, if I would feed my soul, and I do, there’s a part of me that misses it. So, Um, what you guys are doing I’m very, very interested in and Joshua, I would love to start with you. I Know Natalie, you were here and you’re gonna be with this kind of for the last off of the hour, but I would love to Um, kind of dive into oncore creativity and what you guys do. Joshua, I’ll welcome yeah, thank you so much for having me. Susanna, I appreciate and thank you for all that you do in providing answers for elders and I know uh in our organization here at on core creativity, understanding the journey and the life of our singers and what they’re going through. I’m sure you’re giving incredible advice, so I appreciate that. Yeah, so I’ve only been here since October. I’m brand new to uh the area. We’re based in Maryland in the D C D M v Area, and I founded an organization called Central Florida caw yards and we embraced programs for older adults in there, but I in that area. But I learned from on core creativity for older adults. Gene Kelly, our founder, is a superstar in the world of creative aging, and so when I first learned about this organization and I learned about its history, I was blown away. But not only was this kind just a table talk, kitchen conversation. We need to start this thing, but it has its roots and really just the national landscape of arts and that started in two thousand and one. So, Suzanne, it began with a study that was commissioned by the national endown for the arts. So Dr Gene Cohen, world renowned GERONTOLOGISTS. Absolutely. Yeah, so he was. He was really one of the founders of what we are today because he was commissioned by the n e A. And really it was a pilot program how does arts and music and creativity affect an aging adult? And so they went through pilot programs and Gene Kelly, our founder, was tapped to be the conductor of a program in Alexandria, Virginia, at Goodwin House in Alexander, Virginia, and there was a program in New York City as well. And so those two programs they took older adults who were not experiencing arts and creativity and then the those who were in this choral program and they looked at all sorts of things, social, mental, physical, psychological and of course there was an incredible difference in those that were experienced the power and the joy of music. And that turned into a book called the creative age. Yes, a few years years later, in two thousand and seven, Gene Kelly said, all right, this has got to keep going past these studies and she created the first uncore corral in two thousand and how awesome is that? And and of course, those of us that have worked so often with those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s Um there are so many correlations to the benefits of music when it comes to singing and and I know that that’s the whole other aspect of your organization that I’m really fascinated in. So tell us a little bit about you. You talked a little bit about it and you started in Maryland, as you said. Tell us a little bit about how you’ve grown. Yeah, so the organised station actually started. The very first program was in Virginia and Alexander Virginia and then Jane, our founder, started to create more of these programs, more of these corrals in different communities. And so now we’re as of this semester, will be located in thirty different communities and we have four areas of the of the organization. What is encore corrals, which is what our corral and Redmond will be, is your typical choral setting, singing classical and Americans, you know. Then there’s encore rocks Susanne, and encore rocks is acquired, but they sing all rock music and perform. Oh Yes, they performed the rock band. I love it. So very cool and that’s right, right, right. So then, as you mentioned, also cinemal journey singers, and that’s our music programs for those with early stages of memory loss or dementia. In the fourth part of who we are, which was birth during the pandemic, but now an incredible way for us to reach older adults, is what we call encore university and on Queen University. Dr Natalie is one of our educators in that program but it’s workshops and classes and recitals and breathing techniques, which which Natalie is teaching in this upcoming semester. But a way for that diaphragm. Right, that’s right. But it’s a way for older adults, no matter where they live, as long as they have access to technology, they can access that great arts programming. That is so amazing. And you know, and I always look at so many seniors when they when they retire, Um, they may not have a real they need to May need to find a sense of purpose and a sense of you know, uh, of commitment, something to be committed to that that can drive them to live every day. And we’ve lost so much of that during the pandemic. Uh, so many of them sat there by themselves and we’ve seen decline and in you know, mental health and physical health and all types of things. And so to bring a program like this to the Pacific northwest is so exciting to me. Um, we have so many amazingly, you know, artistic individuals and certainly Um, you know, resources here, but to focus something on just for seniors is so incredible and certainly, Um, I’m excited to hear about it. So to get people involved. If, let’s just say, I want to sing, and I but I maybe never sung before, but it it’s I mean, what is the process, Joshua? Yeah, so it’s very simple. We one of the principles of who who we are is that it’s a non audition group, so anyone can join us. So you would just have to go to our website. You find out the information on what day we’re rehearsing, what time you would register through on core creativity and then when you showed up to that first rehearsal, we would have all of your music for you, but we also have a CD with your part on there, with all the songs, and then you can also get all those resources the website as well. So it’s a very simple process and everyone, as long as you’re older, everyone is welcome. It’s sixty and over. You said older. That’s something I wanted to make sure because I wanted to make sure that I heard that. Okay, so over fifty five. That is amazing. Um and of course a lot of people, especially in this area, are looking for things to do when they, you know, kids are gone and and uh married and they’re sitting there with emptiness syndrome and don’t know what to do. This is an amazing program to to think about. And so as you do the program what is the Um the rehearsal process? Do you do a concerts. How does how does that evolve? Yeah, so it’s fifteen weeks of rehearsal with a fabulous professional conductor like Dr Natalie Lurch Obvia. Yeah, and all of our programs have professional conductors. That’s again a part of our core values, is that we get to work with great, great musicians. So they learned their pieces throughout the fifteen weeks and it culminates in a performance for the community, for friends and for family and for neighbors. And we actually have two semesters per year, so in the fall in the spring, and in those some are there’s lots of opportunities to do things like go to summer camps or go on international tours with encore and Sing Nice, Nice, and so obviously you guys Um you know you you rehearse for these fifteen weeks. Do you do a concert at the end? Do People get to come see you? And Yeah, so there’s always a performance at the end. We want to showcase the great work of what our singers have learned, but also to give that same joy to our audience members. So there will always be a concept at the end of each semester. Awesome. And then how do you accommodate those with mobility challenge is, um disabilities, things like that. Absolutely. So we want to make sure that all of our venues are a d a accessible and that we will let our singers choose a way that’s comfortable for them to perform. So if they want to sit in a chair while they while the concert is happening, we allow that. If they need in their wheelchair, that is also appropriate. We want to make sure our singers feel comfortable and we accommodate any kind of needs that they might have. Yeah, and I guess that’s really important as we’re dealing with so many with mobility issues and challenges like that. And then the next question is, what about transportation? A lot of seniors may not be able to drive. Is there ways that you can coordinate that? You know, that is a great question. It’s one of the many things that I’ve been looking at as a new leader here on core creativity. We’re breaking down those barriers that might be in the way for older adults to experience our programs. Transportation is a big one of those, and so we currently don’t have relationships in the Seattle area or in the Redmond area to be able to transports seniors, but that’s something we would love to look into. Yeah, perhaps we can find a spot a senior living sponsor that has a bus and, Um, you know, maybe we could do something like that where they, in exchange for sponsorship, they can help you. So how do we reach you if you want to get involved, Joshua? How do we do so? Yes, you can go to our website, encore creativity dot org, and on that website you’ll be able to see photos and videos. You’ll be able to see information about how to sign up and all the different things that we offer. So that website it’s kind of a one stop shop to get involved with us. Also, our phone number and email and everything is contact information. It’s on the website as well. Fabulous. And guess what, Joshua and Dr Natalie will be right back with us this entire hour and certainly right after this. We it answers for elders. Thank you for listening. Did you know that you can discover hundreds of podcasts in our library on senior care? So visit our website and discover our decision guides. That will help you also navigate decision making. Find US AT ANSWERS FOR ELDERS DOT COM
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne Newman found herself on a 6-year journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including Health & Wellness, Life Changes, Living Options, Money, Law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.
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