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The prime-time achievements of famed television producer Norman Lear, China’s modernization, memory and the brain, and art in the context of societal change are among the topics offered this summer by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt.
The classes, which also include the impact of American composers on cinema, theatre as literature, steel drum band and great art from the perspective of the “maker’s mind” are open to everyone who is 50 and older.
“We are grateful to be able to offer a hybrid format this summer, with the return of some in-person classes,” said Norma Clippard, program director for OLLI at Vanderbilt. “Many of our lifelong learners value the camaraderie and lifelong friendships that have become a signature component of OLLI at Vanderbilt. However, we also will provide recordings of in-person classes for all registrants in order to serve those who prefer a virtual option. In addition, several courses will continue to be taught online.”
The summer term comprises the following courses:
- OLLI Steel Drum Band – Beginner, taught by Mat Britain, adjunct instructor in music. This musical journey to the Caribbean is a hands-on experience in which participants learn how to play the steel drums. No previous musical experience is required. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning July 10 from 11 to 12:15 p.m., at the Blair School of Music.
- OLLI Steel Drum Band – Intermediate, taught by Mat Britain. For students who have grasped the basics, this course helps to refine techniques on the steel pans. Students will work on slightly more difficult music and dive deeper into the culture of Trinidad and the steel band art form. Completion of the beginner course is a prerequisite unless the instructor grants permission through invitation or a short audition. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning July 10 from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m., at the Blair School.
- OLLI Steel Drum Band – Advanced, taught by Mat Britain. This group, which often performs in the Vanderbilt Steel Bands Concert, approaches music that is more difficult with advanced playing techniques. Completion of the beginner and intermediate classes is a prerequisite unless the instructor grants permission through invitation or a short audition. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning July 10 from 1 to 2:15 p.m., at the Blair School.
- Learning, Memory and the Brain, taught by Jeanette Norden, professor of cell and developmental biology, emerita. She will discuss how learning and memory are both similar and dissimilar across different animal species. The course will also cover clinical disorders that are associated with changes in memory. In addition, Norden will outline various lifestyle factors that play a role in maintaining a healthy brain. Students will meet for six Mondays, beginning July 11 from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
- The Mind of the Maker: Why ART Is Not a Noun, taught by Carl Smith, retired senior lecturer at the Blair School. A subtitle for the series might be, “Searching for the internal animating energy in calligraphy, drawing, melody and verse.” Smith will present examples from the calligraphic and graphic art of Michelangelo, Lippi, Cadmus and others. He will also focus on melodic lines by musicians such as Bach and Brahms and poems by Wyatt, Shakespeare, Housman, Milosz and Olds. Students will meet for six Mondays, beginning July 11 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
- Art in Context: Looking Beyond the Brushstrokes, taught by Marcia Levine, retired teacher at University School of Nashville. Using a “case study” approach, Levine will examine how both transitional and static political organization and socioeconomic conditions; theology, ritual and practice; cross-cultural connections; and periods of exceptional upheaval have informed the visual, and in some cases, more broadly cultural production of an era or area. Topics will include the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation of the 16th and 17th centuries and Buddhist art in Japan. Students will meet for six Tuesdays, beginning July 12 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
- Theatre as Literature: The One-Act Play, taught by Edward Friedman, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair, Emeritus, and professor of Spanish, emeritus. The course will focus on the analysis of dramatic works, with the reading and discussion of one-act plays by August Strindberg, Anton Chekhov, Ferenc Molnar, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Louise Bryant, Arnold Bennett, Susan Glaspell, Alice Gerstenberg and Joseph Shipley, among others. Students will meet for six Tuesdays, beginning July 12 from 2 to 3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.
- The Television Canon of Producer Norman Lear at 100, taught by Jim McKairnes, writer, teacher and television historian. Lear has shaped—and then reshaped—the American television landscape over an extraordinary career. Beginning with All in the Family, which launched in 1971, and continuing into the 21st century with his Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials, Lear has established himself as a television force. Students will meet for six Wednesdays, beginning July 13 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
- How to Write a Memoir, taught by Carole Webb Moore-Slater, educator and community speaker. The workshop is designed to motivate and inspire by providing guidelines and organizational tips on getting started writing a personal or family story to save, distribute and/or publish. All classes will be interactive with ideas shared, personal manuscripts read and group feedback provided. Students will meet for eight Wednesdays, beginning July 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., online via Zoom.
- America’s Symphonic Film Gumbo: How America Found Its 20th Century Voice and Changed Classical Music and Film, taught by Mitchell Korn, senior lecturer of music education and outreach. The huge impact of American composers on both classical music and cinema arts, and the interplay and dynamic of American music with cinema, may be the most important development in 21st century aesthetics and tastes. Korn takes a fresh look at some of America’s greatest artists and artistic achievements in this new class. Students will meet for six Thursdays, beginning July 14 from 10 to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
- China’s Modernization, taught by Samuel Y. Kupper, associate professor of Chinese history, emeritus, at California State University, Fullerton; international trade consultant and attorney. During approximately three decades, China has gone from a society mired in abject poverty to a modern society with the second largest economy in the world. In the process, they have taken hundreds of millions of people from destitution to a middle- and upper-class status. This class will attempt to provide an explanation on how China accomplished this based on numerous factors unique to its cultural and political history. Students will meet for six Thursdays, beginning July 14 from 2 to 3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.
All class meetings will be on Central Daylight Time. Vanderbilt requests that those attending in person be vaccinated against COVID.
Registration for the classes, some of which have limited enrollment, is open through July 1. To sign up or learn more about the classes, visit the institute’s website or contact Norma Clippard at 615-322-5569.