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All Present Song Circle Starting Up January 28 2016

all present adMost artists know that a performance is authentic when they can stay in the moment.  Athletes too understand that power when they talk about “staying within oneself.”  It’s that quality of presence in the moment that gives Elena Louise Richmond’s song circle for Early Stage Memory Loss, All Present, its name and moving impact. “All Present is just that. It’s just for now,” writes Richmond in her blog, All Present Almost Past. “It’s not for a performance later; it’s not to record and listen to. It’s just for that hour and a half when we sing and we can’t stop smiling at each other.”

all present, circle

Members of the Song Circle

All Present  meets 8 weeks a quarter at Greenwood Senior Center under the auspices of OK Chorale director Elena Louise Richmond and her assistant/copy editor, Susan, Susan’s husband, Mike, and “the other Susan!” Participants have a large repertoire of songs. “This bunch can’t learn anything new but there seems to be no end to the songs they remember,” Richmond writes in her funny and touching blog, The Gift of All Present. Richmond, a classically trained singer/pianist, artist, teacher, and prolific writer, was contacted about starting a song circle by Greenwood Senior Center’s ESML program manager and social worker Carin Mack.  When

All Present Performs at an Alzheimer's Cafe

All Present Performs at an Alzheimer’s Cafe

Richmond accepted, perhaps neither could foresee the magical outcome. “I’ve talked with Carin Mack and some of the [song circle] caregivers about what a romance All Present and I have,” Richmond said. “I see them when they are fresh and happy and it’s one big old love fest.” Richmond’s choir exploits have been a personal journey and meditation on the meaning of music as she articulates below:

“When I created The OK Chorale, I wanted it to be a place where people (including  myself) could make mistakes and where we could sing for the joy of it,” Richmond explained. “I had no experience or training in directing a choir and that turned out to be a good thing.  It made me look at what voices I had to work with and to figure out how to make a good sound and to have fun doing it.

In All Present I’ve got a group who has already left behind technical correctness and performance anxiety.  They’ve got the Joy.  When I watch their faces and listen to them sing, I feel transported to a place where the essence of music is alive.”

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The OK Chorale and All Present Song Circle perform.

The OK Chorale, an ASUW Experimental College non-audition choir, has led Richmond and singers to nursing homes, Northwest Folk Life, and the Edmonds Ferry to name just a few destinations over the past 23 years.  Now, the two choirs are performing together– an adventure Elena relays in her blog, All Present with The OK Chorale.  “The OK Chorale was utterly enchanted with All Present, with their musicality, their friendliness and their enthusiasm. The two groups have both expressed how much they enjoy singing with each other,” Richmond said. “All you need to remember is that singing comes from the heart.”  That’s the first line describing the upcoming All Present song circle sessions which start Thursday, January 28, 2016, 10:30-noon. The cost is $60 for the public and $40 for Phinney Neighborhood Association members. Want to register? Need more information? (206) 287- 0875

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