The Kennedy Center

Encore Creativity for Older Adults


Encore Creativity for Older Adults is the largest choral music program for older adults in the country. Encore was started in 2007 as a result of a George Washington University study to address the mental and physical health benefits of singing in older adults.

The late Dr. Gene Cohen, the world-renowned psychiatrist and first director of the National Institute on Aging inspired former opera singer Jeanne Kelly to create Encore. Through the study, Dr. Cohen observed that age offers countless opportunities for growth, development, and creativity. The results captured national and international attention. A year into the study, members of the chorale study were using less medication and had fewer doctor visits, showed less signs of depression and loneliness and were actually more active than at the start.

Today, Encore offers 15 Encore Chorales and 5 Encore ROCKS rock ‘n’ roll choruses in the MD/VA/DC area. Encore has 11 affiliate programs nationally, Chicago, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania, to name a few. All singers over 55 are welcome to sing, no auditions are required, and singers can be seated during rehearsals and concerts. Singers learn vocal technique, proper breathing and posture, and always come away delighted by the weekly rehearsals. Our choral program, under the direction of experienced, professional conductors, offers two 15-week sessions each year running from September to December and January to May. Encore offers FREE performances in December and May, including a FREE holiday performance at the Millennium Stage of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. To celebrate and commemorate Encore’s Tenth Anniversary, 700 of our 1000 Encore singers performed on the stage of DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday, May 13, 2017.

In addition to our weekly choral rehearsals and seasonal performances, Encore offers two five-day Summer Choral Institutes for singers 55+ at Washington College in Chestertown, MD and at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, NY. At Encore camps, singers stay on-site while rehearsing, working on voice technique and sight reading, practicing yoga and light impact exercise, and concluding the week by presenting a free concert on stage for family, friends, and the community.

Over the last 10 years, Encore has changed the lives of so many older adults entering new stages of life- retirement, overcoming personal health issues, coping with the death of a partner, or moving to a senior facility. The value of choral singing in improving and sustaining the physical, mental, and social health of older adults is documented and undeniable. Encore offers the opportunity to explore a new artistic venture for those who have not sung in years, or to continue a life-long passion for experienced singers. A new season of Encore begins in September. Join us!
  Encore Creativity for Older Adults