Medical Reading

Summer Chorus Camp For Seniors Improves Quality Of Life, Concludes NIH Study

June 17, 2017

Encore Creativity for Older Adults and St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) will co-host Encore's first Summer Chorale Camp Tuesday, June 17, through Saturday, June 21, at SMCM. Encore executive director Jeanne Kelly helped lead a study about senior citizens, aged 65-103, that revealed a positive connection between regular artistic activity and improved physical and mental health. This Creativity and Aging Study was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Institutes of Health. Those participating in Encore are among the seniors who have benefitted from the activities, such as singing and performing.

The Creativity and Aging Study was directed by Gerontologist Gene Cohen of the George Washington University Medical Center. It found that senior citizens participating in regular artistic activities had overall improvement in mental and physical health. Participants' age ranged from 65-103, and they were divided into two groups - the control group and those who participated in cultural programs like Encore. Compared to the control group, the study concluded that participants in cultural programs saw a decrease in doctor's visits, prescription and over-the-counter medication use, and a decrease in falls. They also enjoyed an increase in morale, as well as a decrease in symptoms of depression. The cultural participants also became interested in other art forms.

Senior campers will have the opportunity to work with Jeanne Kelly, founder and director of Encore, as well as other faculty members. The curriculum includes movement classes, full choral rehearsals, free time to explore Historic St. Mary's City, vocal technique classes, sectionals and sight reading classes, and another full rehearsal. Evenings consist of dinner in the SMCM dining hall and entertain-ment, including the Friday evening River Concert Series. A final performance by the campers at Au-erbach Auditorium in St. Mary's Hall will mark the conclusion of the week.

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Encore Chorale Camp participants will attend concerts performed by guest artists. The first concert features the West Shore Piano Trio on Tuesday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery Hall. On Thurs-day, June 19 at 7:30 p.m., Hyeweon Lee and Lina Morita will present a two-piano concert in St. Mary's Hall. The Encore Chorale will perform Saturday, June 21, at 2 p.m. in St. Mary's Hall. The concerts are free and open to the public.

Encore is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an excellent and accessible artistic environment for older adults, 55 and over, regardless of experience or ability, who seek arts education and performance opportunities under a professional artist. Encore currently has six chorales for singers in the Baltimore-Washington area and is continuing to grow.

St. Mary's College of Maryland is ranked one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Newsweek and Kiplinger's. With roots going back to 1840, SMCM is the state's only public honors college, offering the academic excellence of a top pri-vate college with the openness and affordability of public education.

SMCM and Encore will be hosting 40 campers enrolled from the Southern Maryland, Washington and Baltimore suburbs, as well as Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Source: Marc Apter
St. Mary's College of Maryland