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 through March 2019

Download the Winter 2019 registration form

All classes will be at the Lexington Community Center


O.W.L.L. Winter Semester Courses for

January through March 2019

Arthur Miller’s Tragedies of the Common Man

Instructor: Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

5 sessions beginning on February 13th

Wednesdays 10-11:30

Bridget Kathleen O'Leary Biosketch: Bridget Kathleen O’Leary is a Boston-based theater artist specializing in directing and new play development. For over a decade she served as the Associate Artistic Director at New Repertory Theatre. She is the Literary Chair on the Executive Committee for the National New Play Network (NNPN), where she connects with over 100 theater companies across the United States who are dedicated to the production, development and continued life of new plays. She serves on the selection committees for the NNPN showcase of new works and the Kennedy Center’s MFA Playwrights Workshop, where she has directed several readings. Bridget has directed over a dozen productions for New Rep including world premieres of Ripe Frenzy, Blackberry Winter (Elliot Norton nomination for Best Play), Scenes from an Adultery, and Pattern of Life (IRNE Award for Best New Play). Also at New Rep, Collected Stories and Dollhouse, both nominated for Best Production for Elliot Norton Awards. Other directing credits include Grand Concourse for Speakeasy Stage Company, Othello for Actors Shakespeare Project, The Flick for Gloucester Stage Company, and Reconsidering Hanna(h) for Boston Playwrights Theatre. Before moving to Boston, Bridget lived in Washington, D.C., where she co-founded Phoenix Theatre DC. For Phoenix, she directed the world premieres of Lulu Fabulous and Unwrapped: An Evening of Women’s Voices, along with production of Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show and Independence. Bridget earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and a Certificate in Arts Administration from Boston University.

Course Description: Arthur Miller was a pioneer of American modern theater and one of the most important playwrights of the 20th century. This course will explore Miller’s work through the lens of his seminal essay “The Tragedy of the Common Man.” We will discuss the common language, characters and themes in four of his plays: Death of a Salesman, After the Fall, A View from the Bridge and Broken Glass. These should be easy to find at your local library or can also be purchased. We will provide Miller’s essay “Tragedy and the Common Man.”

Anton Dvorak: From Bohemia to America and Back

Instructor: Dotty Burstein

4 sessions beginning on February 5th

Tuesdays from 10-12

Dotty Burstein (Music) Biosketch: Dotty Burstein is 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 portion 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 Gerschefki. Today Dotty continues to enjoy attending concerts and recitals and encouraging others to find joy and inspiration in music.

Course Description: To explore the life of Antonin Dvorak and to hear his music are adventures in travel and treats in good listening! From the peasant music-making of his rural Bohemia, this warm and unpretentious family man took his art to the grand receptions of Victorian England and the dynamic halls of New York City. On this sojourn to America, the composer and his family found their way to a Czech-speaking town in Iowa, visited shows of the Wild West, and listened to slave songs from the Southern plantation. Out of these experiences emerged a masterpiece that captured the vibrancy and power of America, Dvorak's From the New World, beloved by popular audiences and hailed by critics. As we listen to the composer's glorious music each Thursday morning, there is ever more to discover in Dvorak's catalog: the B-minor Cello Concerto, the Slavonic Dances, and a collection of sublime chamber music, including the string quartet, known simply as The American Quartet.

Celebrating Nature: Birding

Instructor: Bill Gette

2 Sessions: January 17 and 24

Thursdays from 1:30-3:00

Bill Gette Biosketch: Bill Gette Since retiring from the Massachusetts Audubon Society (Mass Audubon) in February 2016, 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. All these programs are designed to educate the public about birds and instill a conservation ethic.

Course Description: Using color photographs, Bill will review the species of birds typically seen during winter at local feeding stations and in backyard sanctuaries. He will discuss aids to field identification, ranges, food preferences, and other facts about surviving and prospering in severe New England winters. He will also discuss things you can do to create backyard sanctuaries and attract a variety of species.


  • Session I: Introduction to Birdwatching (1/17, 1:30-3:00).

    During his PowerPoint presentation, Bill will describe why birding is so popular, review basic information every birder should know to get started, outline a method for working through the identification process most effectively, explain why a sense of place and time is so important, and outline the, any aids to bird identification, both physical and behavioral. This presentation is appropriate for anyone interested in experiencing the beauty and diversity of wildlife in our area. This is an interacting presentation where participants are encouraged to share their observations and work through the identification process. Participants are encouraged to bring a field guide.

  • Session II: Feeding Backyard Birds (1/24, 1:30-3:00)

    Using color photographs, Bill will review the species of birds typically seen during winter at local feeding stations and in backyard sanctuaries. He will discuss aids to field identification, ranges, food preferences, and other facts about surviving and prospering in severe New England winters. He will also discuss things you can do to create backyard sanctuaries and attract a variety of species.

Registration and Fees: Winter 2019

Registration for our winter semester for OWLL begins on December 12th for Lexington residents.
Non-resident registration begins December 19th.

A separate check for each course should be made payable to: Town of Lexington. Resident fee $25/course and non-resident $50/course. Financial aid is available for Lexington residents.
Credit card registration: www.lexingtonma.gov/recreationdepartment.cfm
You may send/deliver a separate check for each course to: Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Rd, Lexington, MA 02421

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