Study Groups, 2009

Spring 2009

Come Sing!  An OLLI Chorus – for everyone

Facilitator:  Emily Levin
Description:  Everyone is invited to come and sing simple but beautiful choral pieces drawn from diverse periods, cultures and genres.  The emphasis will be on singing, and will include some fundamentals of singing technique, sight-reading and some brief background knowledge of the music.

Fall 2009

Looking Back at 1968:  Year of Tumult and Change

                  Facilitator: Craig Cutbirth
Description:  One commonality among OLLI members is their experience of the events of 1968.  It was one of the most momentous years in American history.  Books have been written on this year; it has twice been commemorated by special editions of Time magazine; and the year was the subject of a notable History Channel documentary.  This study group will offer participants an opportunity to share memories and meanings of 1968 both at the time itself and in subsequent periods of their lives.  During the first session, discussion will address the topic “Who were you in 1968?”  Each subsequent session will focus on a two month period of 1968,

Poetry Study Group

Facilitators:  Carol Leseure and Claire Stoia
Description: This study group is similar to the spring and fall ’08 and spring ’09 Poetry Discussion Groups.  We will discuss many poetry forms, including sonnets, haiku, free verse, etc.  Group members will bring a favorite poem to each class to read and discuss.  Participants are encouraged to write their own poems to share, but are not required to do so.   Every OLLI member is invited to participate and need not have taken the OLLI poetry class or previous discussion group to join in.

Achieving Sustainability in Champaign County

Facilitators:  Kathleen Robbins and David Sharpe
Description:  This study group extends “Your Carbon Footprint” held during the Spring 2009 intersession.  During this previous study group, UIUC’s sustainability document, and information about Sustainable Champaign County were discussed briefly.  However, the emphasis was on aspects of energy efficiency that relate to carbon emissions and climate change.  Sustainability transcends climate change, and focuses on a range of topics—from ecology, health, the economy and social justice to sustainable societies.  We will focus on initiatives to promote sustainability at UIUC and in Sustainable Champaign County and refer to sustainability efforts in other cities, e.g., St. Louis and Chicago.

New Yorker Magazine

Facilitator:  Norman Miller
Description:  The New Yorker provides a unique mix of articles and reviews on current topics, literature, and the arts. This study group is designed for readers of the New Yorker who want to get together to discuss articles from the magazine. The facilitator will lead the first two discussions, but will ask for volunteers to lead subsequent sessions. Participants should come prepared for a lively exchange of views.

New Yorker Magazine

Facilitator:  Don Pilcher
Description:  The New Yorker provides a unique mix of articles and reviews on current topics, literature, and the arts. This study group is designed for readers of the New Yorker who want to get together to discuss articles from the magazine.  An additional emphasis will be placed on professional backgrounds and life experiences that each member brings to the group.  These factors will shape how we select articles and themes, develop intellectual depth and breadth, and gather supplementary materials from Internet sources.  While not required, members will be encouraged to lead one weekly session in an effort to assure a broad range of topics.
Don is a Professor Emeritus from UIUC, an author on the arts, and has been a New Yorker Magazine reader for decades.  He has been a member of several previous OLLI New Yorker Magazine study groups.

Shakespeare’s King Lear:  Love and Learning at the End of Life

Facilitator:  Joan Larsen Klein
Description:  Shakespeare’s King Lear describes the cataclysmic upheavals experienced by an old king and earl and engineered by the grown children they trusted.  In this study group we will look at how Shakespeare portrays the perils of age, the complications of family relationships, the effects of filial betrayal and the rewards of love.  At the same time, we will ask how our own perceptions of old age might temper our understanding of Shakespeare’s play.

Trial by Movie

Facilitator:  Ashton Waller
Description:  Movie makers have told us about crooks, cads, clients, lawyers, judges, liars and heroes.  In courtrooms, they search for justice, money, vindication or a way out of jail.  There have been some fun and some great movies which focus on these characters fighting it out in courtrooms.  The movies available for viewing and discussion include:  Adam’s Rib; Anatomy of a Murder; 12 Angry Men; The Caine Mutiny; Inherit the Wind; Judgment at Nuremberg; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Passion of Joan of Arc; My Cousin Vinny; The Verdict and Witness for the Prosecution.  At each session a movie will be introduced, viewed and discussed.  The facilitator worked as a circuit judge for 20 years.  He will try to contrast the story presented with the realities of legal procedures and rules, which would probably apply to the facts of the drama. 

The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi

Facilitator: Sharon Michalove
Description:  This novel describes the life of a Jewish woman who lives through some of the most important events of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century Italian Renaissance.  The group will read the novel and discuss it in the context of various historical documents that help to illuminate not only life for Jews in Italy during the Renaissance, including the creation of the Venetian ghetto, but also the rise of printing, the place of women, court culture and patronage, cultural exchange, global finance, and the effects of war and Reformation.  The group will discuss the book with various members taking the lead while the facilitator will help with historical background, bringing in relevant materials that tie into the weekly readings.

New Tales in Honor of Edgar Allan Poe

Facilitator: Deb Townsend
Description:  Using the Shared Inquiry method, we will discuss stories written in honor of the father of the mystery story, Edgar Allan Poe.  The editor of the anthology we will use is Stuart Kaminsky, a well-known author himself of mystery and detective stories.  His call for stories had just one condition: Poe himself or his work had to be central to the story.  What he got was “a dazzling collection of contemporary terror, mystery and literary game.”