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NIH study concludes next week's summer chorus camp for seniors improves quality of life

(St. Mary's City, MD) June 12, 2008Encore 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 groupsthe 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.


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

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