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Dr. Peter Stearns, University Professor and Provost Emeritus at Mason, Opens OLLI Fall Term with Lecture on Death in Modern History, September 17

October 2, 2020

Editor of the Week: John Nash

Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

  • Reminder: Each day, all current OLLI members receive a “Daily Schedule” with a list of the Zoom links and passcodes for all of the classes offered that day (passcodes are now required; not to be shared with non-members).
  • The next issue of OLLI E-News will be published Friday, October 9; regular deadline for submission of items is Tuesday, October 6, at 6:00.

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History Club October Meeting

By Elizabeth Lambert, History Club Coordinator

The first meeting of the History Club this coming Wednesday, October 7, 4:00-5:30, (brought to you by Zoom, of course) should be of interest to many. Bernie Oppel will give a presentation on “Culture and the Great War.” Notice: this is not about the war itself; Bernie will focus on the ways in which various countries, the US, UK, France, and Germany, addressed the cultural aspects of World War I.

The reality of that conflict was an utter negation of civilized cultural values. Human beings—combatants and non-combatants alike—were slaughtered like animals in staggering numbers. This barbarism led to serious questions of how the Great War should be portrayed in cultural forms such as art, commemorative architecture, literature, and film.

OLLI members, even those who are not history enthusiasts, should find much in this presentation to interest them.

Please join us this coming Wednesday at 4:00 pm (note time); for direct links and passcodes, log in at the member portal and click on ZOOM CLASS LINKS.

Photography Club October Meeting

Ed Marion and John Olsen, Photography Club Coordinators

The Photography Club regular monthly meeting (via Zoom) will be Friday, October 9, at 9:30. In keeping with the passion for photographing and celebrating books reflected at the website bookstagram, the subject for the October photo of the month competition will be Books.

Our guest speaker on October 9 will be Martha Brettschneider, founder of Damselwings, LLC. Martha provides coaching and artful inspirations for mindful living. Author, speaker, blogger, and award-winning fine art photographer, she cultivates mindfulness through creative channels and offers innovative programs that help busy people establish their own meditation habits. Martha’s signature wall art, which grew from her personal mindfulness practice, inspires viewers to slow down and ground themselves in the present moment by connecting with the miraculous details of nature featured in her photography.

Visit Martha’s website, Damselwings, and view her wonderful fine art nature prints. Join us on October 9 to share her inspiration. For direct links and passcodes for our club and others, log in at the member portal and click on ZOOM CLASS LINKS.

Sample the Music at the OLLI Music Sampler


By John Nash, E-News Editor

Many OLLI members have heard the incredible sounds produced by steel drums through concerts and demonstrations at Mason but this past week’s OLLI Music Sampler featured Victor Provost, adjunct professor of music, giving not only incredible demonstrations of his skills and the capabilities of this instrument but also its history and development. According to Provost, the steel drum, developed and refined in Trinidad, is “the only new musical instrument to be developed in the 20th century.”

While OLLI has an abundance of incredible programs each term, the Music Sampler continues to be among the most popular programs in the fall and spring terms. Developed more than 10 years ago by Dr. Linda Apple Monson, Mason director of music, the Music Sampler presents performances and lectures by Mason School of Music students and faculty. “Many of the programs I’ve seen here I would expect to pay for at the Kennedy Center,” said one attendee of the Music Sampler. “Just seeing the talents of our Mason musicians is so rewarding.”

The Music Sampler is held during fall and spring terms on Tuesdays, beginning at 9:30 (not 9:40). There are still six presentations left this term. OLLI members who have not signed up for this wonderful program or any of the other available fall classes, please contact the OLLI registrar, Susan Job (ollireg@gmu,edu). For those who are regular attendees, stand by for more incredible performances from Mason School of Music.

Have a Question for Staff and Not Sure Who to Contact? Check Out Our Staff Quick Guide

By Alice Slayton Clark, Communications and Program Associate
While campuses are closed, OLLI staff are busy working from home to keep the OLLI program up and running smoothly during the pandemic. We regret not being able to interact with you in person at this time to establish familiarity and show you what we do.

To help you better understand the staff roles and when best to reach us, please consult the listing below. Except for the executive director, we all work part-time, so it is best to email your queries during the times listed to ensure the quickest response. If you have an urgent issue and the staffer is not working, please send a note to the general office email: We look forward to serving you!

Do you have a question about:
OLLI and its organization?
Executive Director, Jennifer Disano:
Work Hours: Monday-Friday business hours.

Website, virtual classroom, administration, Zoom links or online access?
Administrator, Susan Todenhoft:
Work Hours: Monday-Friday 9-2:30pm during session, 9-noon between terms.

Registration or membership?
Registrar, Susan Job:
Work Hours: Tuesday-Friday 9-2pm.

Teaching or program content (multi-session courses)?
Program Associate, Shannon Kim Morrow:
Work Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9-2pm.

Teaching or program content (single session offerings, excursions, clubs)?
Communications and Program Associate, Alice Slayton Clark:
Work Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8-2pm.

Communications (communicator/e-blasts)? 
Communications and Program Associate, Alice Slayton Clark:
Work Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8-2pm.

OLLI finances, billing, reimbursements?
Finance Associate, Karen Nash:
Work Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, 9-4pm.

Other useful contacts
OLLI E-News:
Zoom Help Desk:

Poet’s Corner

Courtesy of the Poetry Workshop

Draw the Circle Wide, Draw it Wider
By Jack A. Underhill
For millions of years humans have been killing one another:
Tribe against tribe fighting for cattle, or territory, or pride.
Feuding over religion or faith.
Civil wars tearing apart neighborhoods, cities, and nations.
Wars between nations lasting for thousands of years.
Treasure poured into city moats and walls and methods of breaching them.
Rockets and bombs that could obliterate the reign of man on earth.

One of the problems is that we create societies with narrowly drawn circles:
The circle of race: the belief in a master race or chosen people.
The circle of religions which keep multiplying because of divergence of beliefs.
The circle of social class:  communities divided by income and social status.
The circle of nationality:  feeding the fear of “the other” as a threat.
The circle of country:  constantly attempting to expand national power or boundaries.
The circle of ideology: the application of a correct belief to an all-powerful state.

As proclaimed by the hymn*, we need” to draw the circle wide”
Then we need to draw it wider
For all peoples are my brothers and sisters.
I drank vodka and sang sad Russian songs on Lake Baikal.
Shared values with Chinese civil servants inside their homes.
Traveled to Jordan’s ancient cities and was treated graciously.
Saw the lighted walls of Jerusalem by night.
Held hands with Thai orphans in a school.
Mixed concrete by hand for a school patio in Brazil.
Walked through the beautiful Moslem ruins in ancient Samarkand.

We need to “draw the circle wide”
As the hymn said, “No one should stand alone.
We’ll stand side by side.”

* “Draw the Circle Wide” by Gordon Light. 1994

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Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances October 2 through 12

By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff Writer

Virtual Performances

Although Mason’s campus is shut down, online entertainment continues for us to access and enjoy. Dr. Linda Apple Monson produces a periodic “Notes from the Director.” This email is full of interesting online performances by the students and faculty of the School of Music. If you would like to receive these bulletins, just send an email to Brianna Schoen at Also, the Center for the Arts has a website, Mason Arts at Home, which has a calendar of online events. Further, Mason’s Dewberry School of Music has begun its fall recital program. The events are online, and you can find them at

At the Fairfax Campus Venues
Mason School of Theater: Hookman
Fri, Oct 9, 8:00
Registration required:
Admission: Free.

Meetings & Clubs

Please note: Physical meetings for clubs and activities are canceled until further notice in accordance with Mason’s guidelines. OLLI is conducting its classes and activities online. Refer to the university’s coronavirus website for official university updates and check the OLLI Calendar for revised information.

The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but for the most up-to-date information, please view the latest forecast of coming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend (online), meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, kick-off coffees, etc. (bolded below). The OLLI office has sent (or will send) emails with meeting passwords to club members; you may also log in at the member portal and click on ZOOM CLASS LINKS.

Sat Oct 3 10:30 am Tai Chi Club
Tue Oct 6  4:00 pm
4:00 pm
Science and Technology Club
Tai Chi Club
Wed Oct 7  4:00 pm
4:00 pm
4:00 pm
Mah Jongg Club
Ethnic Eats Lunch Club
History Club
Thu Oct 8  4:00 pm
4:00 pm
Reston Book Club
Tai Chi Club
Fri Oct 9  9:30 am
9:30 am
11:00 am
11:00 am
2:00 pm
Photography Club
Craft & Conversation
Classic Literature Club
Homer, etc.
Cooking Club
Sat Oct 10 10:30 am Tai Chi Club
Tue Oct 13  4:00 pm Tai Chi Club
Wed Oct 14  2:00 pm
4:00 pm
Memoir and More Writing Group
Spanish Club
Thu Oct 15  4:00 pm Tai Chi Club
Fri Oct 16  9:30 am
10:00 am
11:00 am
11:00 am
2:00 pm
2:30 pm
Craft & Conversation
Board of Directors Meeting
Classic Literature Club
Homer, etc.
Cooking Club
Tallwood Book Club
Sat Oct 17 10:30 am
1:00 pm
Tai Chi Club
Personal Computer User Group

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About OLLI E-News

OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.

Editorial Staff
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,
Jane Hassell
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:
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 “” without the quotes.

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