11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Courses

  • BRIGHT MOMENTS OF JAZZ AND ROCK

    This course celebrates the great bands and stars of pop, rock and jazz. We will listen to recordings, watch videos and talk about a wide variety of musicians and bands. Social, historical and musical context will be provided. Examples of the artists included are Aretha Franklin, Michael McDonald, Elvis, James Brown, Fats Domino, the Temptations, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King. You will expand your jazz and rock music appreciation and have fun doing it. Come and share your bright moments.

    Teacher: Tom Doran is a bassist/vocalist who plays soul, funk, blues, jazz and rock. In retirement he loves to play music and make abstract art. He loves to talk about music, so if you do too, please join!

  • DID THEY GET IT RIGHT? AMERICAN HISTORY THROUGH A CINEMATIC LENS

    Starting with the rise of corporate trusts and the Progressive movement, Our Plan-1992, we will take a look at some memorable cinematic portrayals of significant themes and events in 20th century American History. Movies will include, among others, Matewan-1987, The Grapes of Wrath-1940, and Do the Right Thing-1989. Links to the films will be provided. Join us for some outstanding cinema followed by open ended, stimulating discussion.

    Teacher: David Moore received his master’s degree in American Studies from Boston College in 1966. He taught in the History Department at Newton North High School receiving the Charles Dana Meserve outstanding teacher award in 1993. His particular historical interests include classical Greece, American Studies, fin de siècle Europe, and the Holocaust.

  • POPULATING THE AMERICAS: A SCIENTIFIC DETECTIVE STORY

    Sessions 1 – 5. Starts March 14 When Europeans “discovered” America in the 15th century, they failed to realize that there already existed a thriving and diverse culture that included agricultural innovations crucial to feeding the world’s population today, and large cities that rivaled in size and culture anything Europe had to offer. The story of how the earliest indigenous settlers populated this world is a scientific detective story with many unanswered questions. The story continues to unfold as uncovered by a range of scientific disciplines from geology to astronomy, from chemistry to climatology. Join us for an adventure in science, mystery and discovery as we explore this remarkable tale together.

    Teacher: Frank Villa taught physics and ran his own company that designed laboratories. He has lectured on a range of scientific topics for many years.

  • STORIES OF CONFLICT AS SEEN THROUGH A NARRATOR’S LENS, PART XV

    We will discuss how narrators’ perspectives affect our appreciation of works including selected sonnets by Shakespeare. Our emphasis will be on The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles.

    Teacher: Helen Smith has taught at the Winsor School, Newton North and in Armenia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Georgia, Romania and Zambia. A Smith College graduate, she edits texts about writing and journalism. She is the president of the New England Scholastic Press Association.

  • WESTERN GUNSLINGERS: THE TRUTH BEHIND THE WESTERNS

    This course consists of lectures on the life and times of gunslingers who lived in the American West in the late 19th century and are well known in American popular culture. The lectures consist of two series: five on the “Good Guys” and five on the “Bad Guys.” The Good Guys are Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley. The Bad Guys are Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Belle Starr, Black Bart and Butch Cassidy

    The American West has been portrayed extensively in movies and other media and subjected, on the one hand, to broad exaggeration, and, on the other, to a more recent tendency to uninformed debunking. The intent is to present the unvarnished truth, as far as it can be ascertained from historical records.

    Teacher: Daniel Seligman is a retired engineer, having worked for high technology firms in the Massachusetts Route 128 complex for three-and-a-half decades. His real love is the history of the American West, about which he has indulged in extensive readings and travels as well as publication of magazine articles on western historical figures.

  • WRITING YOUR STORY (Memoir, NOT autobiography)

    Maximum Enrollment: 20 If you enjoy writing and sharing stories of your life with a community of writers that will give you constructive feedback, this class may be for you. If you are writing a memoir or simply want to share your stories with your children and grandchildren, most writers find being part of the group inspires them to write more regularly. The best way to learn about memoir writing is to listen to other writers’ stories. Everything shared is confidential. Writing is done at home and shared in class. For those who can stay, the class extends to 1 p.m.

    Leader: Sue Edgecomb, retired from teaching for 35 years in the Wellesley schools, has participated in Amherst Writers and Artists workshops for 12 years. Her memoir, Clearing in the West: Navigating the Journey Through Loss, Grief and Healing, was published in July.