– Spring term begins Monday, March 25. For online catalog, click here. But remember to drop any classes you may not be able to complete. There may be a waiting list of other interested OLLI members.
– The Loudoun Program Planning Group will meet Tuesday, March 26, at 11:05, in Room 208 at OLLI’s Loudoun site. All members are welcome.
– The next issue of OLLI E-News will be published March 29; regular deadline for submission of items is Tuesday, March 26, at 6:00.
From the Desk of the Executive Director: Fall-Term Survey Results
By Jennifer Disano, Executive Director
To promote feedback and ensure best practices in the content and accommodation of OLLI programs, OLLI is conducting a survey of the membership following fall and spring terms. Thank you to all who participated in the fall-term survey. The vast majority of feedback was positive. Here are two direct quotes from members regarding the quality of our program:
Most classes exceeded my expectations.
Courses with knowledgeable and well-prepared instructors across the spectrum. Minimum use of slides and videos . . . Always enjoy humor and a light touch. Special events can be gem. In general, very appreciative of programs and rarely is there a poor offering.
It is heartening to hear how well our program is being received. There were a few very specific remarks about programs that did not seem to meet member standards and those concerns are being reviewed by the program committees. Overall, members are very impressed with their courses and our instructors.
There were a few remarks about staging classes off-campus:
Lack of enough parking can be a frustrating problem. We seem to adjust to promote the OLLI ‘community.’
Usually I travel to all 3 campuses, but this term I took all my classes at the UCP in Reston. Facilities at Loudoun are good; Tallwood leaves something to be desired.
I needed to drop a class or two because trying to run from an area church to Tallwood and back was just not workable.
We use churches and recreation centers when registrations exceed our campus capacities, as a convenience to ensure the most enrollment, offer increased program choice, and alleviate parking constraints, especially at Tallwood. Some were also concerned about the comfort of the Tallwood campus, including the HVAC system in TA‑1—oddly enough, we had two comments on this: one said it was too hot, one said it was too cold. Although we cannot adjust to accommodate personal temperatures, every effort is made to keep the classroom environment comfortable; the university and OLLI do our utmost to keep the facilities updated and inviting. Facilities management is on call for needed painting, repair, and safety services. The OLLI Board is constantly upgrading equipment and chairs, and recently replaced heating, ventilation, and air conditioning so all campuses are modernized and comfortable.
Thank you again for participating in our survey and we welcome your feedback at any time.
The Board of Directors met Friday, March 15, 2019 at Tallwood in Fairfax. President Bill Taylor thanked everyone who helped put together an impressive selection of courses and special events for the upcoming spring term. There are two upcoming events where members will be able to meet the new slate of candidates running for the Board: April 26 and May 3. The session on April 26 will be at the super salad social at the United Christian Parish Church in Reston, and the May 3 session will be at our annual business meeting and picnic at Tallwood. These are important opportunities for members to hear from the candidates and ask them questions.
Executive Director Jennifer Disano reported that, as of March 14, 2019, OLLI total membership is 1,125 (annual membership 1,091 and term membership 34). Conversations with Mason staff are ongoing to see if we can find a more cost-effective solution to putting in a ramp at the rear of the Tallwood facility.
Jennifer announced that Bill Walsh, longtime OLLI site assistant at Tallwood, will retire from OLLI at the end of spring term 2019. Bill has been a dedicated staff member for over a decade. Mike Emery will be replacing Bill Walsh. Many will remember Mike from his previous employment as OLLI’s site assistant at Lord of Life Church.
The chair of the Nominating Committee, Evan Douple, announced a slate of eight candidates for positions on the Board of Directors. Three current directors are running for re-election: Terri Feldmayer, Rita Way, and Marianne Metz. Other candidates are Jim Dunphy, Fred Kaiser, Rosemary Lubinski, Carolyn Wyatt, and Margot Marino. Note: the Board Handbook specifies that, in addition to the slate of candidates recommended by the Nominating Committee, other OLLI members may petition for candidacy by presenting valid signatures and verifiable identifications of at least five percent of OLLI members.
The Board approved three resolutions: correction of irregular numbering of resolutions; changes to the Board Handbook Section IV, Committees, B20, Travel Committee; and the inclusion of a ceremonial scholarship in honor of Rosemary McDonald in the 2019 Teacher Appreciation Program. (Photo by Paul Van Hemel)
A new OLLI-Members WiFi access password is posted on classroom, social room, and office bulletin boards. We change the password twice a year (March, September) in an effort to maintain security while maximizing WiFi performance for OLLI members at Tallwood. Our WiFi access points were updated in the spring of 2018, providing better throughput, operation in the 5 GHz band in addition to 2.4 GHz, and a variety of improved performance and other useful capabilities. Since then, the connection speed of our FiOS Internet service has been tripled.
However, a ‘feature’ of the WiFi software can be termed ‘sticky passwords.’ Once your phone, tablet, or laptop is connected to “OLLI-Members” with the correct password, that device is ‘remembered’ for 180 days. You won’t need to change your password to the new one posted until your device tweaks you with a ‘can’t connect’ message and offers a login window in your browser.
“Oh, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly!” to take a step back in time? You are cordially invited to join OLLI’s Development Committee on May 10 for “High Tea and History” at Historic Blenheim! This unique event will include an incredible array of traditional British pastries and edibles with teas, docent-led tours of this historic Civil War era site, actors in historic costumes, door prizes, and more. Refreshments will be created by OLLI’s own Kathleen Pablo, whose gourmet talents are legendary among OLLI members. Most importantly, $50 of your $65 registration fee will benefit the Friends of OLLI; you will be issued a receipt for the tax-deductible amount.
Historic Blenheim (ca. 1859) is a brick farm house designed in the Greek revival style and located in the City of Fairfax. During the American Civil War, Union soldiers were often encamped on the grounds surrounding the house and used it as part of a reserve hospital system. As a result, more than 115 of these soldiers inscribed words and pictures on the first‑ and second‑floor walls, as well as in the attic of the house. Blenheim was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
Registration for this once-in-a-lifetime event is now open. For more details, it is special event #1206 in the spring‑term catalog. We hope you and your friends will join us for this elegant affair on May 10 at Historic Blenheim, 3610 Old Lee Hwy in Fairfax, from 2:00 until 4:00.
By Michelle Blandburg, OLLI Player and Board Member
On May 31, the OLLI Players’ biggest production will have a new twist: live music by the Tallwood Trio with Nancy Riley! The original murder mystery “Sherlock Bones Solves the Unfortunate Demise of Elvis,” written by our own Kathie K. West, will fully incorporate the musical talents of the renowned trio. However, the group will perform in character as the “Blue Suede Band” of the play’s Hound Dog Bar.
The Tallwood Trio consists of Alan Wenberg on piano, vocalist Nancy Riley, Eric Henderson on bass, and Ron Musselwhite on drums. Their specialty is the Great American Songbook and light jazz. The Trio has been a mainstay at many OLLI events. They have also performed at many other venues in the area including Center Stage/The Reston Community Center, Ashby Ponds, Vinson Hall, and the Westwood Country Club. To book the Trio for your events or for more information, call Alan Wenberg at 703-690-4629 or 703-628-9340.
This murder mystery is a comical farce featuring a cast of kooky characters in crazy costumes! For a good time, $25 registration will reserve your space at this special event #1206, which includes refreshments. After expenses, proceeds from this event will benefit Mason’s Office of Military Services. On May 31, be sure arrive at the Church of the Good Shepherd promptly by 10:00; you don’t want to miss any important clues to solve the mystery!
Theater Lovers’ Group Hosts Dancin’ Unlimited’s Artistic Director
By Norma Jean Reck, Theater Lovers’ Group Coordinator
According to Marilyn York, artistic director of the Dancin’ Unlimited Jazz Dance Company, “jazz is the only truly American dance form.” Fast fact: Jazz dance began in the early 1900s as the African- and European-American peoples began to mix their dance traditions.
Lea Edwards, a new OLLI member, along with her daughter Lauren Green and Marilyn, presented a very well-received program on Community Dance in Northern Virginia to members of the Theater Lovers’ Group (TLG) at its February 22 meeting. When asked what the difference is between ballet, modern dance, and jazz dance, Lauren, who is a trained professional dancer, expertly demonstrated and explained the differences between the dances for the group.
Marilyn, Lea, and Lauren, shown in the accompanying photo (taken by Jane Hassell), will be teaming up with several other dance professionals to present a one-time class for all OLLI members during OLLI’s summer term. Be sure to look for it in the summer catalog.
OLLI members are invited to join TLG members at our next meeting on Friday, April 26, from 10 to 11:30 in TA‑1. Feel free to bring a friend and your ideas for theater outings to share with us.
The closing festival performance will be by the United States Navy Band Commodores (with special guest opening band, the Mason Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jim Carroll) at 7:00 in Harris Theatre. All performances are free and open to the public – no tickets or registration required.
There is free parking in Lot K ,with $8 weekend parking in the Mason Pond Parking Deck.
Being a Friend: Contributions to Friends of OLLI not only enhance our stellar learning institute, social opportunities, and activity options; they also provide funding for mutually-beneficial involvement with George Mason University and proactive outreach engagements within our community.
Anytime you would like to know more about how Friends of OLLI funds are used, you can secure that information via the OLLI member website portal.
Steps to access: After you sign in at the member portal (https://olligmu.augusoft.net/), click on Official Documents, next click on Board Meeting Minutes, and then scroll down to Friends of OLLI Balance Reports, which are published monthly. If you have any questions or concerns, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-250-8147.
If you are already an OLLI Friend, thank you so very much for your amazing support and generosity. I hope you will continue to renew that invaluable friendship. If you are not yet a Friend, why not consider befriending OLLI? You will be glad you did!
The March Photo of the Month theme was Disappearing Technologies. We selected Ed Marion’s photo “Weights & Measures,” which may also be viewed at this page. To view other photos by members of the Photography Club, visit the club’s photo website. — By Angela Talaber, Photography Club Coordinator
Ave Tombes, former OLLI member, died Sunday, March 10. Both he and his wife Jane, who died about six years ago, were active members for about 10 years from 1998-2008, serving in many leadership roles. Ave was chair of the Science, Health, and Technology Committee (now the Science, Technology, and Health Program Planning Group), during which time he organized many fascinating courses. His broad contacts in the science community were especially useful in his arranging for outstanding lecturers, including John Mather, 2006 Nobel laureate in physics. Ave also served as chair of the Mason biology department for a time beginning in 1977.
There will be a memorial service at the University of Richmond Cannon Memorial Chapel in Richmond on Saturday, March 23, at 2:00, with a reception to follow. More information is available at this link.
Answers to your pressing questions about OLLI etiquette
By Ms. Ollie Ettakit, OLLI E-News Manners Expert
Dear Ms. Ettakit,
The etiquette consultants often opine that arriving at class late is a serious breach of etiquette. My home is down the street from an elementary school that begins at 9:20 (children begin arriving at 8:55). School and rush hour traffic conspire to prevent my on-time arrival to 9:40 classes if I only allow the 20 minutes it often takes to get to the OLLI location closest to my home. My options seem to be to avoid the early classes (which could potentially result in class cancellation if I don‘t sign up), to arrive at class a half-hour early (which I don’t like, particularly in winter), or to be late. Which do the etiquette gurus prefer?
Dear Ms. Green,
It is a delight to find there are still sensitive souls about who seek good manners. (We are a vanishing breed, I fear.) Your choices are not easy: be 30 minutes late and inflict discomfort on an entire class; be 30 minutes early and inflict self-imposed discomfort on yourself; or avoid the problem by refusing to enroll. Not easy choices. May I suggest you alter your outlook, and convert a problem into an opportunity?
Choosing to arrive 30 minutes early would allow you relax with coffee or tea, and a crunchy cookie. Invite a friend for an early chat, or use this social time to speak to new possible friends. [The ones with the red dots on their name tags have fascinating stories of how they found OLLI.] Or just sit quietly and meditate on how you are no longer beholden to clock or calendar. Choosing an early class opens up 50 percent more lecture possibilities than boycotting the 9:40 classes. Think of it as embracing a fuller life, not losing sleep. Choose to enrich yourself, not cause disturbance. All of us at first classes thank you. But the biggest beneficiary will be you!
For tickets for either Center for the Arts Concert Hall (CFA) or Hylton Center, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue’s box office. For more information, see the CFA ticket pageor the Hylton Centerticket purchase page.
At the Fairfax Campus Venues
Virginia Opera: Madama Butterfly
Sat, Mar 23, 8:00
Sun, Mar 24, 2:00
A pre-performance discussion featuring “Dr. Opera,” Glenn Winters, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance.
Admission: $110, $90, $54.
Aquila Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Sun, Mar 31, 7:00
A pre-performance discussion with a member of the company begins 45 minutes prior to the performance.
Admission: $44, $37, $26.
MCAA Faculty Chamber Ensembles Recital
Sat, Mar 23, 12:00
Center for the Arts, Monson Grand Tier III
Admission: Free.Faculty Artist Series: Jim Van Slyke, Musical Theater
Sun, Mar 24, 3:00
Admission: Free.Faculty Artist Series: Pianist Anna Balakerskaia & Friends
Sun, Mar 24, 7:00
Admission: Free.Jazz Combos/Latin American Ensemble Concert
Wed, Mar 27, 8:00
deLaski Performing Arts Building, 3001
Mason School of Theater: Our Country’s Good
Thu, Mar 28 to Sat, Mar 30, 8:00
Sat, Mar 30 and Sat, Apr 6, 2:00
Thu, Apr 4 to Sat, Apr 6, 8:00
Sat, Apr 6 and Sun, Apr 7, 2:00
Admission: $30, adult; $15, senior.
Mason Dance Company Gala
Fri, Mar 29 and Sat, Mar 30, 8:00
Admission: $28, adult; $15 senior.
Faculty Artist Series: Julianna Nickel, Flute, and James Nickel, Horn
Sat, Mar 30, 4:00
2019 Mason Dance Fête
Sat, Mar 30, 5:30
The event includes a wine, hors d’oeuvres, and dessert reception; student showcases; a ticket to the Dance Gala Concert; and a chance to mingle with School of Dance students, faculty, and supporters.
deLaski Performing Arts Building, Rooms A301, A305, A307, and Concert Hall
Faculty Artist Series: Dr. Dorotea Racz, Cello
Sun, Mar 31, 3:00
9th Anniversary Gala Silent Art Auction Exhibition
Buchanan Partners Art Gallery.
The Buchanan Partners Art Gallery is open to the public Tue-Sat, 10:00-6:00.
9th Anniversary Gala
Fri, Mar 22, 6:30
For more information, please visit HyltonCenter.org/give/galas.
Hylton Performing Arts Center
Admission: $300 (includes After Party below).
Party for a Cause: 9th Anniversary Gala After Party
Fri, Mar 22, 8:30
Hylton Performing Arts Center
Manassas Chorale: Silver Voices
Sat, Mar 23, 7:30
Admission: $20, $18.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
Sat, Mar 30, 2:00 and 4:00
Admission: $15, adult; $10, children.
Mason Dance Company Gala
Sun, Mar 31, 4:00
Admission: $28, adult; $15, senior.
Gallery Exhibit: David Barr
Apr 2 – May 18
Gallery Reception: Thu, April 11, 6:00.
Gallery receptions are free and open to the public. Please RSVP to email@example.com.
Buchanan Partners Art Gallery.
The Buchanan Partners Art Gallery is open to the public Tue-Sat, 10:00-6:00.
OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.
Chief Editor: Paul Van Hemel
Associate Editor: David Gundry
Weekly Editor Team: David Gundry, John Nash, Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere,
Paul Van Hemel Proofreaders: Rebecca Jann, Susan Van Hemel, Linda Randall, Tom Appich, Roz Stark
Backup Chief Editor: Alice Slayton Clark
Submissions: Members are encouraged to submit letters to the editor, letters to Ms. Ollie Ettakit (on etiquette matters), OLLI-related news items, articles, and photos. Submit material to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: Tuesday, 6:00, for that week’s issue (Monday, 6:00, for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words. Note: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News on the DocStore. To search the content of issues, use Search Our Site or put your search term in Google followed by “site:olli.gmu.edu/” without the quotes.