By Tom Lowery, Education Assistant
Perhaps you heard it, or felt it, early in the evening of Wednesday, October 9. Distant thunder? A minor earthquake? A disturbance in The Force?
Actually, it was none of the above. It was Encore, up to their monthly shenanigans, this time in the City Forest north of town. That evening’s group was a ragtag collection of about 20 older citizens whaling away on African drums and ukuleles while rabbits and squirrels retreated into the brush, keeping their young close by. (Later, there were S’mores!)
“What exactly is Encore?” you might ask. Well, thanks for asking. Encore is a group of people loosely organized by Senior Services about four years ago, thanks to a suggestion from Kathy Krotzer and Debbie Hepinstall. They felt there wasn’t anything particularly geared to the younger end of the older adult spectrum. A follow up focus group suggested it would be great if we met offsite, and Encore was born! Although it started with the intention of being primarily for those in the 50-70ish age range, it has morphed over time to be welcoming to all who are looking for an evening out to meet new people, socialize, and check out various venues in our community.
Encore is not a singles group. It is not a couples group. There are no age restrictions, although most participants have been older adults. Encore is not a club, and there are no membership fees. There is no agenda, and nobody takes minutes. No rules… other than to have fun. (And, so far, no one’s been arrested.)
Encore meets once a month, somewhere in the community. The first get-together was in December of 2015 at Diamond Jim’s downtown. Other happenings have been at Creative 360, Saints and Sinners Lounge, Dow Gardens, Oscar’s, the Tennis Center, Grove Tea Room, the Whiting Forest Canopy Walk, Pi’s Chinese restaurant, and Tunes by the Tridge, to mention just a few. People just sign up, show up, and have a jolly good time.
Rose and Gary Brookhouse have attended several Encore events. “We’ve always enjoyed the program— going out to dinner, or sitting by the fire singing camp songs and playing on the drums. And we usually learn something, too!”
A few of the gatherings are limited in terms of space or seating, in which case it is pretty important to call 633-3700 and sign up. It is always helpful for us to know how many people to expect.
Upcoming Encore events include Burger Night at the Red Oak Lounge on November 19 and Happy Hour at Old Chicago Pizza on December 16. Look in this publication every month for details, call Senior Services to let us know you’re attending, and come join in the fun. And remember—what happens at Encore stays at Encore!