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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Live well. Learn forever," with OLLI

Entrance to the University of North Florida's
Continuting Education Department
  At 117 colleges and universities across America, the retired, over 50 crowd is going back to school.  Almost every state has a least one OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program and some have more than one.  Older adults have opportunities for personal growth and the joy of learning through the many classes OLLI offers. 
    I attend classes at Jacksonville's University of North Florida OLLI center which is part of the Continuing Education Department.  Membership is $45. per year plus a fee ranging from $20-$70 per class.  All instructors are volunteers and experts in the subjects of their classes.  Class offerings are greatly diverse.  A few of the 67 subjects offered are French Cooking, Chinese Mah Jong, Stock Market Fundamentals, Woodcarving, Football Strategy, Sex and War, Metropolitan Opera lectures, Wine Basics.  See the UNF OLLI web site for the complete schedule.
      This semester, I'm taking Mysteries Unlimited: International and Metropolitan Opera Lectures.  Classes meet once every other week for two hours.  I am also teaching a class, Making Basic Bead Jewelry.  I enjoy taking classes and teaching.  
      In my class, Mysteries Unlimited:  International, at home we read an assigned mystery book with an international setting and discuss it in class.  The really big advantage is the wide range of knowledge, travel experience, language expertise and perceptive ideas the members of the class bring to the discussion.  
      Metropolitan Opera Lectures is just that a lecture plus much information about an opera a video and/or cd of key scenes from the opera.  One of the best parts of this class is that after each lecture the class meets at one of three local movie theaters to see a live HD performance broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in NYC.  The first week we watched "Anna Bolena" with the fabulous 
Anna Netrebko as Anna Bolena.  This was the most spectacular and moving performance I've ever seen.  It is the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.  It was dramatic and tragic with fabulous costumes and faux jewelry.  
     Anna Netrebko is the diva of the Met this year.  She is beautiful and a great actress.  She doesn't just stand and sing.  She acts.  Whether you like opera or not, you'd have to admire her performance.  As I watched the opera, I thought it was so cool that at that very moment in New York the opera action was happening live, like a "Saturday Night Live" at the opera.
     See the website of OLLI's National Resource Center at the University of Southern Maine.
This is not a governance body, but an information center.  You can also do a word search to find links to colleges with OLLI programs. You don't have to be part of a class to see the live
Met operas.  On the day of the opera, for example, three theaters here in Jacksonville show it live.  See the Met HD schedule and info.  I saw "Anna Bolena" at Tinseltown and the theater
was packed.  Other theaters showing the HD in Jacksonville are the Regency Theater and the Avenues Cinema 20 on Phillips Highway.
Season Calendar picturing Anna Netrebko as Anna Bolena.

Anna Netrebko as Manon, which will
be performed in April 2012

Deck at the UNF Continuing Education Center 
overlooking a pond with alligators, turtles and brave ducks.


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