O.W.L.L. - Older Wiser Lifelong Learners

What is O.W.L.L.?

With the collaboration of the Lexington Council on Aging, the Friends of the Council on Aging present O.W.L.L. - Older, Wiser, Lifelong Learners.

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O.W.L.L. (Older, Wiser, Lifelong Learners) Winter Semester Courses for
January and February 2018

Download the WINTER 2018 registration form

All classes will be at the Lexington Community Center

OWLL CLASSES ~ Winter Semester 2018

The Mind of a Director: Approach, Think and Talk About Theatrical Text as a Director

Instructor: Bridget O’Leary

Starting January 29, 2018

5 Mondays from 10:00-11:30

Bridget Kathleen OLeary Biosketch: Bridget Kathleen O’Leary is the Associate Artistic Director at the New Rep Theatre, a professional theater in Watertown.

In that role, she helps review and select plays for New Rep’s season, is involved in casting, serves as dramaturg, and is involved in New Rep’s education programs, among many other responsibilities. She is an active director at New Rep and elsewhere and is a part-time lecturer at Tufts and Northeastern Universities.

For New Rep she has directed productions of Blackberry Winter, Scenes from an Adultery, Pattern of Life, Lungs, Fully Committed, Collected Stories (Elliot Norton Nomination, Best Production 2012), DollHouse (Elliot Norton Nomination, Best Production, 2011), boom, and other plays. She has numerous directing credits at other theaters, including Grand Concourse at Speakeasy Stage Company, Othello at Actors' Shakespeare Project (2015), The Flick, Gloucester Stage (2015), The Other Place, Central Square Theatre, The Boys of Winter (IRNE Nomination, Best New Play, 2008) for BKS productions and Reconsidering Hanna(h), and The Devil’s Teacup (IRNE Nomination, Best New Play, 2007) at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.

Course Description: The director’s job begins long before the first rehearsal, or even the first design meeting. Over the course of five sessions participants will have the opportunity to get into the mindset of a director using Jennifer Barclay’s new play RIPE FRENZY. From the first read, to research, to preparing for your first rehearsal, this class will give students a chance to dive deeply into a theatrical text as a director would.

Participants will be offered discounted tickets to a Sunday Matinee of RIPE FRENZY, directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary and produced by Boston Center for American Performance and New Repertory Theatre. Performances will be at BU's Studio One, 855 Comm Ave, Boston.

American Music-Makers: Gershwin, Copland, and Bernstein


Starting January 9, 2018

4 Tuesdays from 10:00-12:00

Dotty Burstein Biosketch: Dotty Burstein has had a lifelong interest in the intersection of composers’ lives and their music. As children, she and her sister made up the piano and violin portions of a piano trio with their cellist friend, and the three entertained local service clubs with Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. As an adolescent Dotty gave her senior recital at Wesleyan College and participated in music competitions across the state of Georgia, where she grew up. In college, she was inducted into the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota and took master classes with composer Edwin Gerschefski. Today Dotty continues to enjoy attending concerts and recitals and encouraging others to find joy and inspiration in music.

Course Description: Composers George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein were instrumental in creating a distinctly American musical style. Since there was no established American musical tradition at the end of the 19th century, these artists had a clean slate on which to compose. Their task and challenge were to make their art apparent to the American audience in ways not heard before—what Alex Ross has called black-white classical-popular fusion like Rhapsody in Blue and jazz arrangements of songs from Wonderful Town; American opera like Porgy and Bess and West Side Story; and musical expressions of the vast American landscape like Appalachian Spring and Rodeo. In our four weeks together, we shall probe the life of each artist and examine elements in his music—aesthetic, political, and personal—that make it uniquely American.

Registration and Fees: Winter 2018

Please note: Registration for OWLL begins after the Kick-Off Reception on September 7th..
Note: All registration for O.W.L.L. courses is through Lexington Community Center. A separate check for each course should be made payable to: Town of Lexington. Resident $25/course and non-resident $50/course. Registrations will not be processed prior to September 7th. Registrations mailed in before September 7th will be processed after the reception. Online registration begins September 8th. Non-resident registration begins September 14th. Financial aid is available for Lexington residents.

*Credit card registration available online at: www.lexingtonma.gov/recreationdepartment.cfm

For further information, email owll.fcoa@gmail.com or call the Community Center at 781-698-4870.

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O.W.L.L. (Older, Wiser, Lifelong Learners) Spring Semester Courses for
February through May 2018

Download the SPRING 2018 registration form

All classes will be at the Lexington Community Center

O.W.L.L. Spring Semester Courses for

February through May 2018


Instructor: BILL GETTE

6 sessions, starting February 1

Thursdays, 1:30-3:00

Bill Gette Biosketch: Bill Gette retired from the Massachusetts Audubon Society (Mass Audubon) in February 2016, since then I have led natural history travel programs for the Society (e.g., Galápagos Islands, Big Bend National Park, New Mexico, Alaska); conducted numerous workshops (e.g., Introduction to Ornithology, Bird Banding, Sparrows), and been an instructor for the Birder’s Certificate Program at the Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport.

In addition to my volunteer work at Mass Audubon, I conduct “Celebrating Nature – Talks by Bill Gette” programs for libraries, retirement communities, and civic organizations. These PowerPoint presentations range from one-hour travel programs to my six-module Introduction to Ornithology Workshop. These programs are designed to educate the public about birds and instill a conservation ethic.

Course Description: Everyday former Sanctuary Director of Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport, Bill has been leading natural history travel programs and teaching workshops for over 30 years. He has developed the Introduction to Ornithology Workshop to focuses on six major themes: Avian Systematics (the scientific study of the evolutionary relationships among birds), Feathers, Flight, Feeding Ecology, Migration, and Breeding Behavior. The classes last 1 ½ hours, and the format encourages participants to ask questions and share their knowledge. Bill uses photographs he has taken while traveling to all seven continents and diagrams to explain key concepts.

  • Module 1: Introduction and Avian Systematics:
    • origin of birds, early concepts about life forms, innovations in thought, Darwin’s influence, taxonomy (relationships among birds), nomenclature (naming of birds)
  • Module 2: Feathers:
    • origin of feathers, anatomy of a feather, feather types and functions, feather care, feather molt, coloration
  • Module 3: Flight:
    • how birds fly, adaptations for flight, four aerodynamic forces, Bernoulli’s principle
  • Module 4: Feeding Ecology:
    • what birds eat, when birds feed, physical and behavioral adaptations, feeding techniques, food security
  • Module 5: Migration:
    • why birds migrate, adaptations for long-range migration, migration strategies, fuel for flight, timing, navigation in birds
  • Module 6: Breeding Behavior:
    • why birds established territories, ways birds develop and maintain pair bonds, mating systems, nests, egg production and incubation, care of young.



6 sessions, starting March 15

Thursdays, 1:00-2:30

CHRISTIN WORCESTER Biosketch: Christin Worcester received her undergraduate degree from Boston College and graduate degree from the University of New Hampshire where she specialized in the teaching of writing. She recently retired after thirty-five years teaching English in secondary schools. Upon her retirement, she began her writer’s journey by creating pieces for her memoir - a work in progress. Christin participates in a variety of writer’s groups as she continues to develop and practice her skills. In addition, her busy life is filled with actively volunteering in many community programs in Lexington. Christin has been a resident of Lexington for over 30 years.

Course Description: Do you have a remarkable moment in your life you want to share with family or friends? Is there a pivotal point in your life to examine or clarify just for yourself? During this introductory memoir writing workshop, we’ll explore various literary elements that contribute to an effective retelling of your moment in time. Through guided practice writing activities, you’ll have the opportunity to work on developing your story, characterization, setting and dialogue for your piece. You’ll arrive with an idea in your head and work with that story … you’ll leave with a written snapshot – a gift to keep or share. After 5 consecutive sessions for working on all elements of your “snapshot,” we’ll spend a week apart for you to put all your elements together. During our 6th session, you’ll return to our workshop to share your final memoir piece.



5 sessions, starting Friday, March 16, 2018

Fridays, 10:30-12:00

MONIKA RAESCH Biosketch: Monika Raesch is Associate Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Suffolk University, Boston. She is a native of Germany and holds degrees from four different countries, implying her passion for foreign cultures and film. Prior to joining Suffolk University, she taught film and media studies in the UK. Dr. Raesch has published articles and book chapters on subject matters in film theory and history, teaching pedagogy in video production, and scholarship. She has also published one monograph and has edited a book on Margarethe von Trotta, forthcoming in February 2018, as part of the ‘Conversation with Filmmakers’-Series, University Press of Mississippi.

Course Description: The course explores the development of the film form, including focuses on technology (from the very beginnings until today); key developments (such as marketing and stardom); film theory as it developed alongside the film industry; and some major movie examples from the countries that provided foremost contributions to the art form. Some topics include: emergence of cinema and innovations of early cinema, sound cinema, Hollywood scandals and the introduction of a rating system, Genre Development, the Hollywood Studio System, Soviet Montage, German Cinema, Cinderella then and now (1950 and 2015), and auteur studies.



5 sessions, starting Monday, March 19

Mondays, 10:30-12:30

STEVE KENDALL Biosketch: Steve Kendall teaches art history and related subjects at the Regis College lifelong learning program, trains art museum tour guides, and has led more than 500 tours at the de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum and at the Danforth Museum. He is the retired president of Kendall & Company, an advertising and public relations agency.

Course Description: They move us: to smile, to gasp, to cry, to look -- and look and look. Whether beautiful or poignant, the greatest art photographs grab us and won’t let go. Weston’s sublime seashells, Arbus’s marginalized people, Halsman’s innovative portraits, Mapplethorpe’s sensual flowers. In this course, you’ll see 50 of the century’s greatest art photos -- photos that hold their own with the greatest paintings and sculptures in history. In fact, we’ll compare some of these photos to great paintings and sculptures. You’ll be an integral part of the discussion; “What do YOU think?” will be our calling card. Above all else, this course will help you look not only at photography, but all art more critically and with more enjoyment.


Instructor: GAVIN MOSES

6 sessions, starting April 28

Saturdays, 10:30-12:00

Gavin Moses Biosketch: Gavin Moses’ poems have appeared in In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers, Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Appalachian Heritage, A Gathering of the Tribes, Wick, The World, Long Shot, and Charger L’Amerique (Les Temps Des CeRises/Maison de la Poeisie). Gavin is a founding member of Poets 4, a New York City Jazz-Blues poetry collective, whose members included Obie-winning actor R. Cephas Jones, Lower East Side Storyteller Will Sales, and legendary jazz pianist/poet Walter Bishop Jr. In 1991, after winning a semi-final slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Gavin became a finalist in the grand slam. He was a member of New York City’s first actual national slam team. His poem, “A Polaroid Existence,” was the closing monologue in Liz Swados’ “Cantata 2000” at the A. R. T. He is a Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Gavin currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Course Description: Elizabeth Bishop put it this way: “The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster…” Using establish poets and select writers, this guided poetry reading/writing workshop will creatively explore loss, recovery, and restoration. Participants are to bring their own stories, a collaborative collegial spirit, and a willingness to excavate the ruins and ashes of loss to find beauty, art, and wisdom. Please bring a copy of The Art of Losing: Poems Of Grief and Healing (Kevin Young, Ed. Bloomsbury: New York, NY, 2010. 311 pages. $24.00). Gavin Moses, Instructor.



4 sessions, starting May 2

Wednesdays, 2:00-3:30

Nicholas Daniloff Biosketch: Nicholas Daniloff is a Professor Emeritus of Journalism, having taught at Northeastern University in Boston for the last 25 years. He spent his career covering the Cold War from Washington and Moscow between 1961-1986. In 1986 at the end of his five-year assignment in Moscow for U.S. News and World Report, he was arrested by the KGB and accused of spying. This was one of the last “tit-for-tats” of the Cold War occasioned by the arrest in New York by the FBI of a Soviet physicist Gennady Zakharov who was subsequently tried for espionage and expelled from the United States. Mark Kramer is the Director of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, joins Professor Daniloff in teaching this course.

Course Description: This course is the description of my encounters with Russia from the recollections of my Russian grandmother after the 1917 revolution to my various assignments in Moscow from 1961 until my expulsion in 1986. My roots trace back to a Russian revolutionary Alexander Frolov who took part in the conspiracy to overthrow Tsar Alexander 1 in 1825. It progresses to my first visit to Russia in 1959 to my various assignments in the Soviet Union as an American correspondent from 1961 to 1986. During this period, I came to know many Russians and to understand the authoritarian history which formed the foundation of the Soviet leadership and survives among the current group headed by Vladimir Putin.

Registration and Fees: Spring 2018

Please note: Registration for OWLL begins after our reception on January 11th..
Note: All registration for O.W.L.L. courses is through Lexington Community Center.

A separate check for each course should be made payable to: Town of Lexington. Resident $25/course and non-resident $50/course. Registrations will not be processed prior to January 11th. Registrations mailed in before January 11th will be processed after the reception. Online registration begins January 12th. Non-resident registration begins January 18th. Financial aid is available for Lexington residents.

*Credit card registration available online at: www.lexingtonma.gov/recreationdepartment.cfm

For further information, email owll.fcoa@gmail.com or call the Community Center at 781-698-4870.