The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) has opened enrollment for its CAFÉ (Creative Aging for Everyone) Choir, a 12-week choral program for adults ages 55 and better that explores musical themes (e.g., Jazz, Rock, Great American Songbook, Classical) chosen by the participants.

The program will provide opportunities for intergenerational arts engagement and exchange with members of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. Chorus members will perform 4-6 songs in a final concert along with members of the youth symphony.

One of 10 nonprofit arts education organizations from 9 states selected by the National Guild for Community Arts Education to receive seed grants of $7,000 each to support the launch of new, innovative arts education programming for older adults in their communities, Wharton’s CAFÉ Choir will be offered in partnership with the Summit Area YMCA and Union County Department of Human Services Division of Aging and Disability Resource Connection. Tuition for the course is $100. For more information, visit www.WhartonArts.org or call 908-790-0700.

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Research shows that participation in activities that foster creative engagement and skills mastery in a social environment has positive psychological, physical and emotional health benefits for older adults (generally defined as those aged 55+). By creating arts learning opportunities for this population, the 10 seed grant recipients have the opportunity to transform the experience of getting older for members of their communities. Additionally, these programs will serve the wider field as proof that high quality arts programs for older adults can be developed with little more than effective professional development, organizational commitment, and a monetary investment that is achievable for many community arts education organizations.

The 10 seed grant recipients were chosen from a larger group of 20 organizations, who were selected to participate in the multi-phase Catalyzing Creative Aging program, provided in partnership with Lifetime Arts. Between Nov. 2017 and June 2018, staff and faculty from these organizations received training and technical assistance via a series of workshops, webinars, and consultations (online and in person) designed to increase each organization’s capacity to serve older adults through skill-based, participatory arts programs. The final phase of the program includes continuous technical support for seed grantees as they launch their programs.

The goals of the Catalyzing Creative Aging Program are to:

• Increase capacity to serve older adults through skill-based, participatory programs

• Provide models of high quality creative aging programs to the field

• Raise public awareness about the benefits of creative aging programs.

“We are very proud of the work these 10 organizations are doing,” said National Guild executive director Jonathan Herman. “The programs they develop will both enrich the lives of older adults in their local communities and will serve as guide stars for other community arts education organizations seeking to ensure the vitality and happiness of this important and growing group of Americans.”

The population of older adults in the U.S. is projected to double by 2060 and will be significantly more racially and ethnically diverse than it is today. The National Guild is committed to preparing its membership to support healthy aging as part of its ongoing Creative Aging Initiative.

The 2017-2018 Catalyzing Creative Aging Program, led by the National Guild for Community Arts Education in partnership with Lifetime Arts, is made possible with support from Aroha Philanthropies, Music Man Foundation, and the Moca Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.nationalguild.org or call (212) 268-3337 ext. 10.

The National Guild for Community Arts Education strives to ensure all people have opportunities to maximize their creative potential by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and advocating for community arts education. www.nationalguild.org

Lifetime Arts works nationally to connect the people, funding, ideas and strategies necessary to increase the number and quality of professionally led instructional arts programs for older adults. By helping to develop policy, sharing best practices and providing expert training and technical assistance in the design, funding, and implementation of creative aging programs, they help organizations and individuals build livable communities for all ages. www.lifetimearts.org


The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.


Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities. We believe in the positive and unifying influence of music and the performing arts and believe that arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay. We teach all instruments and voice and have a robust musical theatre program.


Based in Paterson, New Jersey, the Paterson Music Project (PMP) is an El Sistema-inspired program of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts that uses music as a vehicle for social change by empowering and inspiring children through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing.  PMP now serves almost 300 students in grades 1-8 from five Paterson Public Schools including the Community Charter School of Paterson, School 1, School 26, School 15, and Norman S. Weir Elementary School. For more information, visit patersonmusicproject.org.


Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.