Alexandria, VA – Imagine standing on the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall’s stage and singing in front of thousands of people. Imagine waiting in anticipation for the performance. For seventh generation Alexandrian, Eddy Nalls, this will be the second year in a row that she, along with her fellow Encore Creativity singers, will get to experience that thrill again!
When Nalls retired from her job as a guidance counselor in 2006, she thought “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”
Fate intervened in 2009, when Nalls ran into a woman that sang in the Encore Creativity choir and it sparked her interest. Having grown up always singing at home and in the car with her mom, finding the opportunity to join Encore was meant to be!
“I’m going to sing my way to heaven!” laughs Nalls as she recalls how she thought she’d spend her retirement. “It’s scary [to perform] but I’m finding real enjoyment and it feels like we’re giving back to the community.”
Founded in 2007, Encore Creativity for Older Adults, an Annapolis, MD-based nonprofit, offers may opportunities for seniors including 23 singing ensembles across the nation, summer camp programs and national and international tour opportunities. Nalls praises the organization for their inclusivity. There’s no need to audition, or be able to read music, just a desire to connect through singing.
“You don’t have to be perfect. You can come and see what it’s about and see if it’s right for you,” said Nalls. “If you don’t get out of your house and try it, you won’t know if you like it. Music is the last thing that leaves your mind. With the choir, you feel connected and that’s an important thing.”
When asked about her experience as a singer, Nalls said she wished she could share it with her mom, who had a beautiful singing voice.
“It’s like I’ve come full circle,” said Nalls. “To stand on stage, to think about all the professional singers that have been here, to look out at the beautiful concert hall. Wow! [It’s] the most amazing thing with music I’ve done.”
Interested in seeing a performance? Encore Chorale and Encore Rocks will return to the John F. Kennedy Center for an evening of crowd-pleasing holiday music in Concert Hall, Thursday, December 26 at 6 pm. The concert is free and open to the public.