Osher Lifelong Learning at Vanderbilt Announces Hybrid Format for Summer

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 Vanderbilt Institute.

Classes, which also include the impact of American composers on film, theater as literature, steel drum band, and high art from a “mind maker” perspective, are open to anyone who are 50 and over.

Norma Clippard (Vanderbilt University)

“We are grateful to be able to offer a hybrid format this summer, with some in-person classes returning,” said Norma Clippard, OLLI program director at Vanderbilt. “Many of our lifelong learners enjoy the camaraderie and lasting friendships that have become an iconic component of OLLI at Vanderbilt. However, we will also be providing in-person class recordings to all enrollees in order to serve those who prefer a virtual option, and many courses will continue to be taught online.

The summer semester includes the following courses:

  • OLLI Steel Drum Band – Beginner, taught by Brittany rug, Assistant Professor of Music. This musical journey through the Caribbean is a hands-on experience in which participants learn to play steel drums. No prior musical experience is required. Students will meet seven Sundays, beginning July 10 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., at the Blair School of Music.
  • OLLI Steel Drum Band – Intermediate, taught by Brittany rug. For students who have grasped the basics, this course allows you to refine the techniques on steel pans. Students will work on slightly more challenging music and delve deeper into the culture of Trinidad and the art form of steel band. Completion of the beginner course is a prerequisite unless the instructor grants permission by invitation or short audition. Students will meet for seven Sundays, starting July 10, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., at Blair School.
  • OLLI Steel Drum Band – Advanced, taught by Brittany rug. This group, which often performs in the Vanderbilt Steel Bands Concert, tackles more difficult music with advanced playing techniques. Completion of beginner and intermediate courses is a prerequisite unless the instructor grants permission by invitation or short audition. Students will meet for seven Sundays, beginning July 10 from 1 to 2:15 p.m. at Blair School.
  • Learning, Memory and the Brain, taught by Jeanette Norden, Professor Emeritus of Cellular and Developmental Biology. She will discuss how learning and memory are both similar and different across animal species. The course will also cover clinical disorders associated with memory changes. Additionally, Norden will describe various lifestyle factors that play a role in maintaining a healthy brain. Students will meet for six Mondays, beginning July 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
  • The Mind of the Maker: Why ART Is Not a Noun, taught by retired Blair School lecturer Carl Smith. A subtitle for the series might be “Searching for inner animating energy in calligraphy, drawing, melody and verse”. Smith will present examples of the calligraphic and graphic art of Michelangelo, Lippi, Cadmus and others. It 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 the University School of Nashville. Using a “case study” approach, Levine will examine how transitional and static political organization and socio-economic conditions; theology, ritual and practice; intercultural links; and periods of exceptional upheaval have shaped the visual and, in some cases, more broadly cultural production of an era or territory. 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, starting July 12 from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
  • Theater as Literature: The One-Act Play, taught by Edward Friedman, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor, 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, starting July 12 from 2-3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.
  • Producer Norman Lear’s Canon of Television at 100, taught by Jim McKairnes, writer, teacher and television historian. Lear shaped, 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 force in television. Students will meet for six Wednesdays, starting July 13 from 10 a.m. 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 organizational guidance and tips to begin writing a personal or family history to record, 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, starting July 13 from 2-3:30 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, Lecturer in Music Education and Outreach. The enormous impact of American composers on classical music and the cinematic arts, and the interaction and dynamics of American music with cinema, may be the most significant 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, starting July 14 from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m., online via Zoom.
  • The Modernization of China, taught by Samuel Y. Kupper, Associate Professor of Chinese History, Emeritus, at California State University, Fullerton; international trade consultant and lawyer. For about three decades, China has evolved from a society mired in abject poverty to a modern society with the second largest economy in the world. In doing so, they lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty to middle and upper class status. This class will attempt to provide an explanation of how China accomplished this based on many factors unique to its cultural and political history. Students will meet for six Thursdays, starting July 14 from 2-3:15 p.m., online via Zoom.

All class meetings will be held during Central Daylight Savings Time. Vanderbilt is asking that those present in person be vaccinated against COVID.

Registration for courses, some of which have a limited number of registrations, is open until July 1. To register or learn more about the courses, visit the institute’s website or contact Norma Clippard at 615-322-5569.

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