History of the Encore Community
In 1995, as an outgrowth of the Western Maryland College Community Music Program, a community orchestra was formed. Led by Kay Tilden (Tippett), the desire was to develop a full symphony orchestra that would involve child, college student and community participation. Within the first few weeks, the size of the ensemble had grown and the Western Maryland College Community Orchestra (WMCCO) was launched.
After two years, the group outgrew the college facility, and changed its name to the Encore Orchestra. With the help of Debbie Barron, the organization divided into two complete orchestras with varying levels of abilities. The Encore Community Music Association incorporated in 2001, appointing Mindy Niles as Executive Director, and expanding once again to include a string orchestra, a symphonic band and a symphony orchestra. Past conductors include Kay Tilden, Debbie Barron, Matt Boggs, Elisa Koehler, Andrew Spang and Les Douglas.
The Community Program currently includes an Enrichment Band and Orchestra for the younger musicians – beginners through two years’ experience, and the String Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Band, for those with a minimum of two years’ experience. Both levels rehearse simultaneously, with the older ensembles combining weekly for full orchestra experience.
The Encore Summer Music Camp began in 1997 for strings only, adding winds in 1998. Now in its 26th season, the week-long day camp is run in both Carroll and Howard counties. The camp experience includes a symphonic band and string orchestra concentrates. The camp staff members are some of the finest educational professionals in the area with years of experience.
In 2003, the Encore Academy was created in Carroll County as a musical outlet for the Homeschool community, providing band instruction in small group settings. A Howard County location opened in 2018, and Frederick County in 2019. Students can join the program learning an instrument with no prior experience necessary. The Academy is comprised of three level bands (beginning, intermediate, and advanced) and a jazz band in Carroll County, under the direction of founder/director, Mindy Niles.
As the years progress, we continue to add ensembles to fit the needs of the community. The unique focus of the organization is “intergenerational.” Our members range from elementary level students to retired professionals, with several parent-child combinations. It is our goal to promote the different ages and diverse levels of musicianship in a way that we can learn from each other. Bringing families together and helping to bridge the gap between generations, with all ages working together to provide an enriching service for the community. Through the exchange of ideas and personal interaction, adults and children work together to create a musical experience that will last a lifetime.
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