Blog

Welcome to Encore Illinois’ blog!

Here we’ll be posting updates, stories, and other items of interest regarding Encore, creativity for older adults, and anything else that we think is cool. Pop in any time or check our Facebook page to see when a new blog has been posted!

To read a blog post and see photos/videos, click on its big red title in the list below.

(The little text is a summary).

Encore’s First-Ever Sight-Singing Class!

Posted on April 25, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Have you ever wanted to learn how to read music and improve your musicianship? If so, we have the perfect class for you! This sight-reading and ear-training class will be taught by Jonathan Miller, founder of Chicago a cappella and artistic director for the Encore Illinois choirs. In this 6-week summer course, you will be taught essentials of intervals, rhythms, and more. Classes start June 20 and run through August 1 (no class on July 4). They will take place on the River Forest campus of Concordia University. Tuition is $95 with advanced registration required. No previous sight-singing experience required. Maximum 30 students. Click here to register today!   This course is co-sponsored by Concordia University Chicago’s Center for Gerontology. Encore Illinois is an affiliate of Encore Creativity, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing choral-music organization for older adults.

Encore Illinois CUC logo for Sight Singing Class
Concordia University Chicago logo

Singer Profile: Susan Beach

Posted on April 18, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Meet Susan Beach, member of the Oak Park/River Forest Encore Chorale. She started singing with Encore in the fall of 2016. Continue reading to find out more!

When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started? If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in?

Aside from occasional church choir, this is it. I love the daytime rehearsals.

List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel.

Alive, happy, joy-giving.

In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life?

I sing a lot to my grands – otherwise, that’s about it.

What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far?

Encore performance this winter.

What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not?

I did some on stage singing and once had to sing a few bars of an opera in a play. Pretty exciting!

Is there anything on your musical bucket list- an experience you’d like to have in music?

I want to be able to breathe in a way that supports the sound I believe I can make!

What do you like best about being part of Encore?

I love learning the music, the spirited direction from Linda and the camaraderie of our group.

What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out?

It’s a bit scary at first, because many members have had lots of other singing experience, can read music, etc. It quickly goes away because you’re having so much fun.

What three songs would you want on a desert island?

“Laila” (Derek and the Dominoes), “Suite to Judy Blue Eyes” (CSNY), ”There is a Ship” (traditional).

 

Singer Profile: Mikki Mendelsohn

Posted on April 18, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Meet Mikki Mendelsohn! She is a member of the Hinsdale Encore Chorale. Mikki is a Rabbi and was the vice president for a Naperville chorus. She’s a very well-traveled person. Keep reading to find out more about her great experiences with music! When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started? If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in? First sang in a choir in 3rd grade in school and Sunday School.   List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel. Happy, positive, spiritual.   In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life? I have a sophisticated karaoke with opera music!   What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far? Working with Jonathan Miller- a spectacular teacher/conductor.   What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not? Singing at the White House and off-Broadway and Summer Stock.   Is there anything on your musical bucket list- an experience you’d like to have in music? Keep on singing- I study voice and it gets even better!   What do you like best about being part of Encore? The conductor, the music, the social aspect- it is fun!   What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out? Just go to a rehearsal with Jonathan- you’ll be hooked!   What three songs would you want on a desert island? “O Mio Babino Caro,” “Time to Say Goodbye,” and “Over the Rainbow.”  

Singer Profile: Kay Kelly

Posted on April 6, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Meet Kay Kelly, our interviewee for this week! Kay is a part of the Hinsdale Encore Chorale. She previously was a member of Madrigals and Show Choir. Kay sang in “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Brigadoon” while in high school. She also sang in Northwestern University’s Chorus as an undergraduate. Kay’s first grandson, Finn, was born on February 24th and she really looks forward to singing to him. Thanks for sharing, Kay!   When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started? If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in? I first sang in actual choirs when I was in middle school, both at school and at church. I played piano so I could read music and I sang the alto part on most of our church hymns standing next to my mom who also sings alto. These two skills made me an automatic non-melody voice anytime our directors wanted parts. I was flattered and hooked on singing.   List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel. Happy, relaxed, centered   In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life? My husband and I always sang to our sons and we insisted that they sing in church choirs from a young age. As they aged, they learned to play the piano and wind instruments. They each decided to learn to play guitar. One has kept up with piano and the other choral music as adults. We share concerts and playlists and interesting songs.   What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far? Singing in Madrigals in high school.   What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not? Playing Chopin’s Fur Elise for solo and ensemble contest in middle school and having the e-flat key stick on the piano I was playing. I had to play that key over and over and over.   Is there anything on your musical bucket list- an experience you’d like to have in music? I’d love to see if I could play the harp.   What do you like best about being part of Encore? Singing during the day. I tutor most evenings, so nighttime ensembles are impossible.   What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out? Just come. We don’t bite or judge you. The directors are really helpful and patient. Encore makes me smile. We know it will make you smile. too.   What three songs would you want on a desert island? “Grace Like Rain” by Todd Agnew, “Silent Night,” and an anthology of music from the 70’s (I know that’s cheating!).

Singer Profile: Leslie Lupo

Posted on April 6, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Meet Leslie Lupo, from the Arlington Heights Encore Chorale! Leslie is an original member of the Encore group at Arlington Heights since it began last fall at the AH Senior Center.   When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started? If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in? I first sang in youth choirs at Community Church of Rolling Meadows. My earliest experiences making music were around ages 3-4 years. I enjoyed playing tunes on a toy saxophone and toy trumpet, following the colored/numbered written notation. I also loved to sing along with children’s records, standing next to the speaker so that my voice would blend with the recorded singers. In elementary school, I gradually had opportunities to learn more about reading musical notation, singing, and playing the tonette, which eventually lead to taking piano lessons. I finally had a chance to sing choral music at around age 11, and since then there have only been a few years in my life when I wasn’t singing in a choir somewhere.   List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel. Joyful, challenged, touched   In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life? I have enjoyed singing with “non-singer” friends while driving to help pass the time, and I have loved sharing and instilling a love of music in my daughter. I have also sung for close family members to minister to them in their final days.   What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far? I have participated in the Do It Yourself Messiah in Chicago for most of the 40+ years it has been in existence. It is one of my favorite ways to prepare for and celebrate Christmas. Singing in a concert hall with an orchestra, a professional director, and professional soloists is a fantasy come true. The sound we make when we sing the “Hallelujah Chorus” is spectacular!   What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not? I was especially excited the first time I participated in the Messiah – those “firsts” in life are always very memorable.   Is there anything on your musical bucket list- an experience you’d like to have in music? I would like to continue to improve my singing technique so that I can continue to sing throughout my life.   What do you like best about being part of Encore? I enjoy learning to sing a variety of challenging and fun music from a director who really knows his stuff!   What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out? Some of us have been doing this for awhile but we are all still learning and having fun doing it. Come join us!   What three songs would you want on a desert island? The Lord’s Prayer (by Gounod), Help! (the Beatles), and I am Woman (as sung by Helen Reddy)  

Singer Profile: Sue Allender

Posted on April 6, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Get to know Sue Allender, who’s been a part of the Hyde Park Encore Chorale since summer ’16. Sue’s daughter, Laura, and our artistic director, Jonathan, were in the Chicago Children’s Choir together 40 years ago. Because Passover starts next week, it’s nice to see what Sue has to say about celebrating the holiday with her family. When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started?If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in? We had a great music program in my public elementary school in Detroit. I was in the choir by 6th grade, maybe earlier. And we sang on the radio! List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel. I feel connected with others, moved by the music, creatively involved. In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life? One thing my family does each year is have a Passover Seder. We include many, many traditional and non-traditional songs…It is a very special experience each year. I get to sing with my grandkids all the time and have taught them many songs. What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far? My college choir did some major works and I’ve never forgotten those concerts. But I also have loved singing in my synagogue choir for many years and for a variety of reasons. What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not? Playing the French Horn and violin in my high school orchestra–especially learning and performing Brahms’ 4th Symphony as a freshman. Is there anything on your musical bucket list–an experience you’d like to have in music? I take it as it comes! What do you like best about being part of Encore? I appreciate the standards that are set and the seriousness of our rehearsals. High goals are set for us without being criticized if we don’t quite reach perfection. What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out? Just jump in and give it a try. No one will cause you embarrassment and you will have fun meeting new people and learning new music. What three songs would you want on a desert island? Wow how can I choose. From my Encore experience so far, I would choose “Va Pensiero,” “S’Wonderful,” and “Haneirot Halalu.”  

Singer Profile: Patti Kolewe

Posted on April 2, 2017
Category: Singers

One of Encore’s new singers this spring is Patti Kolewe, who sings in the Hinsdale Encore Chorale along with her husband, Ort. They must be having a good time, since they just referred one of their friends to our summer Encore Rocks! session. Get to know Patti with her thoughts below. It’s great to have them singing with us. When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started? If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in? I first sang in our church choir as a teenager.  List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel. Happy, free, rejuvenated  In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life? I share my music by having it playing when my family comes over to visit. Also, I send YouTube videos of performance I enjoy. What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far? Learning so much from our director, Jonathan Miller What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not? The most memorable music moment is when my husband and I sang together in a church choir in St. Paul, MN. Is there anything on your musical bucket list—an experience you’d like to have in music? Attend a music concert performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir  What do you like best about being part of Encore? Being directed by Jonathan Miller. The positive energy he gives us as a director is marvelous. What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out? Try it! You have nothing to lose and so many wonderful experience to fill your life! What three songs would you want on a desert island? At Last (sang by Etta James), The Prayer (Duet with Céline Dion and Josh Groban), Hey Good Looking’ (sang by Jimmy Buffett).  

Singer Profile: Judy Blatherwick

Posted on March 30, 2017
Category: Singers

encore-illinois-judy-blatherwick We’re starting our series of short profiles of people who sing with Encore Illinois. This is the first. We’re happy to introduce to you Judy Blatherwick, a charter member of the Oak Park/River Forest Encore Chorale. To help you get to know Judy, here are her responses to our recent singer survey. She has such a great spirit! When did you first sing in a choir, and what got you started? If Encore is your first choir, what recently drew you in?

7th grade girls’ glee club, encouraged by my parents! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to sing.

List three adjectives that describe the way singing makes you feel.

Joyful, excited, exalted

In what ways do you share music with the loved ones in your life? Currently, my sister [Kathy Novy] sings with me in the Encore Chorale! What has been your most rewarding choral experience so far? Music ministry in my parish, where I was a choir member for almost 40 years and still serve as a cantor. What is your life’s most memorable musical moment, choral or not? My wedding! The parish choir sang and I chose all the music. Is there anything on your musical bucket list—an experience you’d like to have in music? Learning another major choral work. I recently heard “Carmina Burana” for the first time and that was my immediate response. What do you like best about being part of Encore? I’m delighted to sing with a chorus again! What words do you have to share for anyone who is both interested in singing in a choir and nervous about starting out? Go for it! What three songs would you want on a desert island? Memory,” “Summertime,” and anything from Handel’s “Messiah”   Thanks, Judy — it’s wonderful to have you be a part of Encore in the Chicago area!

Welcome to Encore Illinois’ Blog!

Posted on March 16, 2017
Category: Uncategorized

Welcome to Encore Illinois’ blog page.