Courses for Fall 2019

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Location: Geer Village
Times: Monday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 16 - Nov 4
Sessions: 8

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Listening to Great Music, Part 3


In Part 3 of How to Listen To and Understand Great Music, Professor Robert Greenberg examines the evolution of Western music from the Romantic Period through the twentieth century.

Instructor: Michael Magnifico
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Monday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 16 - Nov 4
Sessions: 8

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Opera on Stage and on the Big Screen


This course will be coordinated with the Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts of the 2019-2020 season as shown at the Moviehouse in Millerton and the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington. We will examine the sources of the librettos; for example Puccini’s Madama Butterfly began as a short story published in “The Saturday Evening Post”. The story was then turned into a play by David Belasco, which Puccini saw on a visit to New York and decided to use for his next opera. We will also review the production history. Again looking at Madama Butterfly, the premiere was not a success and Puccini made many revisions before it became a hit. In addition to Madama Butterfly we will explore Puccini’s Turandot, Massenet’s Manon, Berg’s Wozzeck, the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Handel’s Agrippina, Puccini’s Tosca, and Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda.

Instructor: Thomas Gruenewald
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Tuesday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 17 - Oct 29
Sessions: 7

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When Life Feels Unfair--An Exploration of the Book of Job


Job deals with some of the biggest of life's questions, like how to deal with the reality of bad things happening to good people, what are some of things Job teaches and doesn't teach us about the human condition and the nature of God. Job can be looked at simply as great literature, of course, but I will approach it on its own terms, that is as a book of faith, and explore why this is such a pressing issue for people of faith. We'll do some looking at how Job has been viewed from within the Jewish, Christian, and Moslem faiths, and may take a look at some of the dramatic/literary treatments of Job (from Archibald Macleish, Robert Frost, et al.)

Instructor: Richard Reifsnyder
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Tuesday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 17 - Nov 5
Sessions: 8

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The Supreme Court 2018-2019: Slow Step or Lurch to the Right?


With the addition of Brett Kavanaugh, the United States under John Roberts has a decidedly conservative majority. The extent to which that majority moves the Court’s jurisprudence to the right remains to be seen. We will examine the Court’s rulings in its 209-2019 term involving gerrymandering, class action suits, gun control laws, 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, tribal treaty rights, 1st Amendment church v. state issues, and the scope of 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment as well as excessive fines. Only after we do this will we be able to determine whether the past term has been a slow step or a lurch. Welcome for the ride. It won’t be smooth.

Instructor: Laurance Rand
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Wednesday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 18 - Oct 9
Sessions: 4

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Are you ready for the 2020 election?


What do you plan to do as a Republican, Democrat or Independent to have the candidate of your choice win?

Session One: Importance of Primaries. Review of Constitution and election process. Voting rights. Voter interference and suppression. Early Voting. Electoral College

Session Two: Review of elections from 1960 thru 2016. Why did people win? What caused an upset? Are we living in a different world than what we grew up in? What qualities do you want your candidate to have?

Session Three: Issues and goals important to you? Is there a hope for cooperation rather then Partisanship? Does our system work anymore?

Session Four: How does your candidate win? What are you going to do to make a difference? How important is control of Congress?


Instructor: David Bayersdorfer
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Wednesday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 18 - Nov 6
Sessions: 8

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Eisenhower and the 1950’s


While he was president from 1953 to 1961, Dwight Eisenhower's opponents, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans alike, branded him a genial but do-nothing executive who, trading on his undeniable popular appeal as a victorious general in WWII, essentially retired to the highest office in the land and delegated the messy business of governance to strong-willed subordinates while he spent most of his waking hours playing golf. This estimate held the field for years after he left office. But recently that cloud has begun to lift. The release of formerly classified materials and their use by historians and biographers not swayed by the political and cultural passions of the 1950s has resulted in a more positive appraisal of the 34th president. In 1962, a poll of academics ranked Eisenhower 22nd out of 34 presidents. In 2017, another poll of academics ranked him 5th! Today, he's in the heady company of Washington, Lincoln and the two Roosevelts, a position that would have staggered the courtiers of Camelot, who were convinced that “Ike” stood condemned forever in the eyes of history. Combining biography, political and social history, this course will examine Eisenhower's life and career and also suggest why he is now viewed so positively.

Instructor: Robert Rumsey
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Location: Geer Village
Times: Thursday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 19 - Nov 14
Sessions: 9

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Great Decisions 2019


This is an international discussion program produced by the Foreign Policy Association and conducted in over 500 cities around the world. This year’s topics are: Refugees & Global Migration; Middle East Regional Disorder; Nuclear Negotiations; The Rise of Populism; U.S. –China Trade; India And Its Neighbors; Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics; The State of Diplomacy. This course continues a partnership with students and faculty from Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

All registrants should get the 2019 great decisions briefing book. As before you can purchase it by phone (1-800-477-5836) or online at fpa.org. Regrettably the cost is now about $35.00 including shipping charge. An attractive option is to download the digital edition ($13) from Amazon.com on your Kindle, iPad, or any similar device with Ebook function. Go to Amazon.com and request Great Decisions 2019. Several of us have already done so and found it quite satisfactory.


Instructor: Instructors Collins-Atwood-Lizzi
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Thursday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 19 - Oct 24
Sessions: 6

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Poetry Around the World


In this six-week program, we will read and discuss poems from all over the globe: South America, Spain, Germany, France, Persia, China and Japan, as well as others. Poetry reveals the soul of a nation through its individuals’ expressions. This is more of a discussion group than an academic lecture. Please join us in learning more about poets and their remarkable views on our life on earth.

Instructor: Maura Wolf
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Friday, 10am-noon
Dates: Sep 20 - Oct 18
Sessions: 5

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Marginalized Americans: Jewish Americans


Using two documentary films (The Jewish Americans and GI Jews), we will examine the Jewish American experience and the tension inherent in it: the tension between their desire to assimilate and their need to maintain their sense of identity.

Instructor: Laurance Rand
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Location: Noble Horizons
Times: Friday, 1-3pm
Dates: Sep 20 - Nov 8
Sessions: 8

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Playreading


We'll read and discuss plays by August Strindberg, the late nineteenth century Swedish dramatist who was one of the most influential pioneers of the modern theater. His early plays are examples of Naturalism, in which he presents a psychological conflict of mind with mind in a realistic context. Later plays foreshadow Expressionism, with the plots often consisting of a sequence of dream-like events in which as Strindberg said, “everything can happen; everything is possible and likely.” All of his plays echo his own troubled personal history and illustrate his bifurcated view of women that evolved in the course of his three rocky marriages. He believed that human life was dominated by the battle of the sexes, and rarely has the concept been as strikingly illustrated as in his plays. Reading material: “Six Plays of Strindberg,” translated by Elizabeth Sprigge, a Doubleday paperback, 1955

Instructor: Robert Rumsey
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