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Groundbreaking Annapolis choir director cruises off into retirement with gala performance at Strathmore– Capital Gazette


May 13, 2022

In her 17 years as a choral music conductor, the words Jeanne Kelly has actually said more than any other are, “See me.”

” I wager I have actually stated ‘See me’ over 10 million times,” the Annapolis citizen showed previously today, with a smile and a sigh. “They have actually got to have their go out of their ratings.”

This weekend, Kelly retires from stating “See me,” and will kick back, unwind and just be seen. The 72-year-old will commemorate stepping down as creative director from Repetition Imagination for Older Grownups with a gala supper at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C., on Friday, and on Saturday with a choral performance at Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda. (A handful of $150 tickets stay for the supper, while the performance is basic admission, with a recommended contribution of a minimum of $10. All clients need to use masks.)

Members of more than a lots DMV-area Repetition choirs– consisting of lots of vocalists from her 82-member Repetition Chorale of Annapolis– will collaborate to form a 300-voice choir to carry out at Strathmore.

All vocalists are over the age of 55. However do not anticipate senior citizens warbling Golden Oldies in unison. These are sopranos, altos, tenors and basses singing in thoroughly practiced consistency.

” We keep it as expert as we can,” Kelly states. “We yap about method.”

” There’s a specific quantity of pride in what we are doing,” includes Janie Powers, 75, a Tracys Landing citizen who sings the alto area of Repetition Chorale of Annapolis. “That rollovers to our efficiency.”

As an expert soprano, Kelly made a master’s degree from Peabody Conservatory and carried out with the Washington National Opera, Annapolis Opera, the previous Baltimore Opera and lots of other business. She retired from solo functions at 47 to concentrate on mentor, primarily at the Arlington school of Levine Music. Her deal with older grownups ended up being full-time in 2005.

When George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Gene D. Cohen found out about Kelly’s voice classes at retirement home, he asked her to form 3 choirs and take part in a research study moneyed by the National Endowment for the Arts.

” I had no concept what I was getting myself into,” Kelly stated. “However I stated I ‘d offer it a shot.”


“The Imagination and Aging Research Study: The Effect of Expertly Carried Out Cultural Programs on Older Grownups,” is now considered the gold requirement in geriatric psychiatry, showing that while music treatment and similar programs are excellent, older grownups fare even much better when they are challenged by expert artists to carry out at the very best.

Over a two-year duration, Cohen, Kelly and their coworkers discovered that taking part in chorales enhanced vocalists’ spirits, reduced possibilities of anxiety and reduced reports of solitude compared to older grownups in control groups.

” They had something to eagerly anticipate,” Kelly stated. “They had a sense of function and somebody who thought in them.”

” It was the very first research study of its kind,” stated Beth Bienvenu, director of the NEA’s Workplace of Availability, in a declaration. “Ever since, the imaginative aging field has actually grown and broadened.”

Repetition has actually been essential to that growth. Kelly established the not-for-profit when the research study concluded, and over the previous 15 years, Repetition’s reach progressively grew throughout the mid-Atlantic. When the variety of choirs struck 9, she worked with extra conductors and franchised her curriculum to produce affiliate choirs in New york city, Delaware and Ohio.

Members pay tuition, however scholarships are readily available.


” Anybody who wishes to sing can sing,” Kelly stated.

And as her good friend Powers explains, “There are no auditions. Thank you, Jesus.”

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Each group carries out a spring performance at as grand a location as Repetition can book. And over the summertimes, Repetition has actually used European trips and camps at St. John’s College, Washington College, St. Mary’s College and the Chautauqua Organization.

In cities like Annapolis where the classically focused chorales succeeded, some vocalists revealed interest in widening their collection, triggering Kelly to discovered what she calls ROCKS choirs, along with summer season camps that concentrate on popular song. For instance, collection for the 2022 week at Washington College consists of a suite of tunes from the movie “Forrest Gump,” “Construct Me Up, Buttercup” as made popular by The Structures and “You Discover” from Alanis Morrisette’s renowned 1995 album “Rugged Little Tablet.”

Think it or not, Gen-Xers who were 30 when Morrisette initially advised them to live and find out are now old adequate to sing in Repetition ROCKS.

To guarantee that older Americans present and future still belong to sing, Repetition’s board has actually worked with a brand-new CEO and creative director. Bryan J. Isaac, creator of the Church Circle Singers in Annapolis, stepped up as creative director, while Joshua Vickery moved from Florida to Annapolis to deal with administrative responsibilities.

” I laugh about it, however it’s taken 2 males to change me,” Kelly stated.

She’ll still be included with Repetition, maybe as a conductor emeritus. However her spouse Larry Kelly, an innovation expert, retired this month too, and the couple plans to cruise their boat to the Bahamas in October and remain up until spring. Then she’ll return to Annapolis and reassess what she requires to still feel artistically satisfied as she ages herself.

As Kelly indications every e-mail, she plans to “Sing on!”

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