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Loudoun members enjoy Muffin Mania coordinated by Mary Coyne on February 7.
Photo by Michael Coyne

February 14, 2014

Editor of the Week:  Leslie Vandivere
Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

  • There will be a three-week break in publication of the E-News starting after the February 28 issue. We will resume weekly publication on March 21. Club announcements for this period should be submitted to by February 25.
  • Here is the OLLI website link for the chart of make-up classes for those affected by weather closures this term:
  • The following courses are added to the OLLI Spring 2014 Catalog. See the full description in the online catalog at
    • F116 Bedside Singing Group, Thursdays, 2:15–3:40, March 27–May 15, Messiah United Methodist Church
    • F504 Basic Spoken Spanish, Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Tallwood
  • The following ongoing activity listed in the OLLI Spring 2014 Catalog is cancelled:
    • German Club

Let Spring Begin

By Kathryn Russell, Program Committee Chair

Amid all the snow and ice events this month, the arrival of the OLLI spring catalog in our mailboxes was, indeed, a refreshing sight. The spectacular butterfly photo on the cover is enough to elevate our spirits. But what’s inside surely pleases us even more. You’ll be amazed at the pages and pages of attractive course offerings designed by OLLI’s many dedicated program planners. This spring term is no exception.

I’m awed by the array of classes featuring multiple speakers. These are perhaps the most complex courses to coordinate, and our program planners have been very busy this term. Have a look at a few:
  • “Foundations of Moral Theory” (F653) by professors from Mason’s Philosophy Department
  • “Our Dynamic Planet and Our Environment” (R807) by guest speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey
  • “Chinese Cultural Lectures” (F654) by visiting professors from Beijing Language and Culture University
  •  “America’s Pivot to Asia” (F702) by speakers from many community resources
  • “The Financial Crisis” (F204) by professors from Mason’s School of Management
  • “Topics in Physics and Astronomy Research at GMU” (F804 and L810 by videoconference)
Next, be sure not to miss the many fascinating topics in all subject areas. If you want to immerse yourself in music, here are just a few choices: “Meet the Artists” (R113), “Learning How to Listen to Music Intelligently” (R110), “A Fine Romance: Songs of Jerome Kern” (Special Event 951). Do you want to explore literature? You won’t want to miss these:
  • “Immigrant and Minority Voices in American Literature” (R416)
  • “Shakespeare’s Henry IV” (F409)
  • “Richard III: Shakespeare’s Villain or Unsung Hero?” (F406)
  • “Two by Dickens” (L421)
Is history your favorite topic? Check out “The Man Who Loved China” (R310) or “’The World on Fire: The Seven Years’ War” (R312).

Once you’ve made all those tough choices among 100 courses, don’t forget to fill your calendar with lots of Special Events (47 of these). We have Professor Maria Dakake, chair of Mason’s Religious Studies Department, speaking on “Sunnism and Shi’ism” (977). Also you won’t be able to resist such fascinating titles as “Dancing the Dream: American Culture in Motion” (967), “The Night of Terror” (969), and “Is Anything Left from the Arab Spring?” (959).

As you make your choices, I hope you’ll try a variety of class sizes. Large lectures are very appealing, but you’ll make new friends in the smaller discussion classes. Whichever courses you choose, remember that registration begins Tuesday, Feb. 18 and ends on Friday, Feb. 28.

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Fiesta at OLLI-Mason

by Stephanie Trachtenberg, New OLLI-Mason Member

The Basic Spoken Spanish class, taught by Ligia Glass, celebrated its last class with a fiesta, which included tasty Spanish pastries. Below, Joan Lunsford and Stephanie Trachtenberg play festive Spanish music. On the right are Joan Lunsford and Stephanie Trachenteberg with Señora Glass.


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The Tom Swift Squad Needs You

Interested in technology? Learn with us!

by Paul Howard, Audio Visual Support Committee Chair

OLLI'S Audiovisual Support Committee (a.k.a. The Tom Swift Squad) seeks additional volunteers to help ensure the smooth employment of OLLI's audiovisual resources. Our primary mission is to help instructors, liaisons, and staff with any audiovisual issues that might arise during the classes we attend. Our team is learning to use the new LifeSize video teleconferencing system, which offers the ability to share classes and meetings between OLLI locations.

We'll be meeting at 1:45 on Wednesday, February 19 in TA1. We'll be doing hands-on training on OLLI's classroom audiovisual equipment, including projectors, HDMI connections, and labeling equipment and storage locations, if time permits.
Please let me know if you're planning to attend or would like to become a "Swiftie" even if you can't attend this meeting. Contact me by email (preferred) or phone (703-860-9246).
For more information on the Audiovisual Support Committee, see its web page.

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The Scoop on Writing for E-News
By Sheri Siesseger, E-News Editor and former E-News Staff Writer

Have you wondered what it is like to write for E-News? I’ll explain. With two exceptions (Arts & Music at Mason and Mason Highlights), staff writers contribute articles on an occasional basis. The E-News staff often originates the topic, though ideas from members are always welcome. Articles are often people focused—a profile of a new staff or Board member, committee chair, or perhaps an instructor. Writing about a person and his/her OLLI-Mason job or volunteer activity is a great way to get to know someone or to know him/her better. It is also a great way to become more familiar with how OLLI works.

My experience as a staff writer was mostly the weekly Arts & Music column, but I sometimes ventured beyond. One very interesting experience was an assignment to write about the Dirty Knee Club. At the time, the club was working to establish an herb garden in front of the cottage where the herbs were to be used in cooking classes and events.  The herbs were the focus of the article, but I learned a lot about the history and activities of the Dirty Knees and leader Valerie Braybrooke. Plus, I got a look inside the shed behind Tallwood where the club’s equipment is stored.

I arranged, via exchanged emails, to meet Valerie at Tallwood to gather information for my article. I went armed with several questions I needed answered. She gave me a tour of the grounds and explained what the Dirty Knees had accomplished, what problems they had overcome, and what they planned to do in the future. I ended up with way more information than I could include in a 250-300 word article, and I also got a bit of an education in the art of landscaping. I had plenty of lead time to write and submit my article, though I did have a deadline for this one. My piece was intended to help publicize an event at the cottage, so it needed to appear in E-News prior to the event. When I’d finished writing, I sent the draft to Valerie for her approval, then to the editors to edit and publish. A photo accompanied the article when it appeared in E-News.

Not to be too subtle, E-News can always use writers! If a person is the subject, interviews can be conducted by phone or face to face. A writer can manage his/her time and amount of involvement—anything from a one-time article to several per year. If you are interested, please contact us at or speak to us when you see us at the OLLI-Mason campuses.

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Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances, Feb 15 to Feb 27

By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff Writer

For tickets for either CFA or Hylton, 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 page or the Hylton ticket purchase page.
At the Fairfax Campus Venues

Peter Nero: Music of the Heart
Sat, Feb 15, 8:00.
An evening of romantic piano music by the Juilliard-trained artist combines the work of popular and classical composers.
Admission: $60, $52, $30.
Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

Virginia Opera: Ariadne auf Naxos
Sun, Feb 16, 2:00
This new Virginia Opera production of a Strauss work is a comic opera with beautiful music. Sung in German with English supertitles.
Admission: $98, $80, $48.

Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

Mark Morris Dance Group
Sat, Feb 22, 8:00 and Sun, Feb 23, 4:00.
This program features Italian Concerto set to Bach; the DC area premiere of A Wooden Tree set to the music and words of Ivor Cutler, a poet and songwriter from Scotland; Jenn and Spencer set to Henry Cowell’s Suite for Violin and Piano; and Crosswalk set to the Grand Duo Concertant for clarinet and piano by Carl Maria von Weber.
Pre-performance discussion by a member of the company.
Admission: $46, $38, $23.
Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

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Mason Student & Faculty Performances

Season Event: The Vagina Monologues
Sat, Feb 15, and Sun, Feb 16, 8:00.
Mason performance as part of an initiative to raise awareness and illustrate the effects of violence against women and children. Proceeds will go to the Mason Victims of Violence Fund and worldwide campaigns fighting sexual violence.
Admission: $25 general, $15 groups of 10 purchased together.
Harris Theatre.
Carlos Perez Classical Guitar Masterclass
Sun, Feb 16, 1:00.
Admission: Free.
Performing Arts Building A323 (Choral Room).
Amanda Harrigan, Soprano, Music Education Recital
Accompanied by several members of the music faculty.
Sun, Feb 16, 5:00.
Admission: Free.
Harris Theater.
University Singers Concert
Sat, Feb 22, 7:30.
Admission: Free.
Vienna Baptist Church, 541 Marshall Rd. SW Vienna, VA 22180
Korean American Student Association Culture Show
Sat, Feb 22, 6:00.
Admission: Free.
Harris Theater.
Mason Symphony Orchestra & Friends Concert
Mon, Feb 24, 8:00.
Admission: $10 adults, $5 seniors.
Center for the Arts Concert Hall.
Mason Wind Symphony Concert
Thu, Feb 27, 8:00.
Admission: $10 adults, $5 seniors.
Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

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At the Hylton Center

Matinee Idylls: Marcolivia
Tue, Feb 18, 1:30 (preceded by a lunch at 12:30).
The violin and violin/viola duo perform folk-based classical music from many nations and eras. The concert is preceded by a buffet lunch catered by a local restaurant; the concert is followed by a coffee and dessert reception with the artists.
Admission: $43 (includes concert and lunch); $20 (concert only).
Gregory Family Theater.
Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel
The Power and Passion of Beethoven
Sat, Feb 22, 8:00.
This program features some of Beethoven’s most beloved works.
Admission: $38, $30, $22.
Merchant Hall.
American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras
Sun, Feb 23, 3:00.
The American Youth Symphonic Orchestra with conductor Carl J. Bianchi performs works by Tchaikovsky.
Admission: $20, adults; $10, seniors.
Merchant Hall.

The Peking Acrobats
Wed, Feb 26, 7:30.
Performing an ancient art form dating back thousands of years, the Peking Acrobats' unique acts include juggling, tumbling, magic and much more.
Pre-performance discussion by a member of the company.
Admission: $48, $40, $32.
Merchant Hall.

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For further details on any of the above events, please see the CFA event calendar and the Hylton Center event calendar

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Mason Highlights

Other Mason events, next two weeks

By Helen Ackerman, OLLI E-News Staff Writer
Exhibit: Black and White and Thread All Over: Work by Sonya Clark. The artist explores issues of identity, race, and culture through the use of textiles, combs and hair, blurring the boundaries between art and craft. Her work has been exhibited in over 250 museums and galleries around the world, and she has received numerous honors and fellowships. Tue, Jan 21, to Fri, Feb 21. Art & Design Building, Fine Art Gallery. Free.

Exhibit: Making Connections through Art: Presented by Prince William County Schools. The student work featured in the 2014 display was selected first by the art teacher and then adjudicated by a team of retired art educators. Every day, thousands of art pieces are created in art classrooms across Prince William County. This work represents just a small number of the young artists in the School Division. Tue, Jan 28, to Sat, Mar 1. Buchanan Partners Gallery. Free.

Art Show: Seeing and Responding to Italy. Twelve School of Art students–painters, photographers and printmakers, spent 3 weeks in Tuscany this past summer investigating their new surroundings–visiting Florence, Pisa and the Venice Biennale and creating artwork in response.  This group show provides an overview of their completed projects. Mon, Feb 10, to Fri, Mar 7. Mason Hall Atrium Gallery. Free.

Film: Gravity. The Academy Award-nominated movie Gravity involves two people struggling to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. Sat, Feb 15, 9:00; Sun, Feb 16, 3:00; Thu, Feb 20, 9:00; Fri,
Feb 21, 6:00 and 9:00; Sat, Feb 22, 6:00. Johnson Center, Cinema. $3.

Lecture: Eminent happiness economist Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan and the Brookings Institute discusses the subject of his most recent research, the relationship between income and happiness.Tue, Feb 18, 12:00 to 1:30. Johnson Center, Room A. Free.

Speaker. Jim Dinegar, president and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, oversees the leading regional organization representing the business interests for major companies. He will discuss business challenges and opportunities throughout the Greater Washington area. Tue, Feb 18, 6:00 to 8:30. Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. $5.

Speaker: Johnnetta B. Cole. Currently the director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art, Dr. Cole was a pioneer of African-American studies and black women's studies. She was formerly president of Spelman College, the oldest historically black women's college in the country. Tue, Feb 25, 7:00 to 8:00. Johnson Center, Bistro. Free.

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Meetings & Clubs

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 to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, Kickoff Coffees, etc. (bolded below).
Sat Feb 15 10:30am
Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Personal User Computer Group–TA-1
Tue Feb 18 10:00am
Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Literature, Language and Theater Program
Planning Group-TA-2
Wed Feb 19 10:00am
Bridge Club–TA-3
Maj Jongg Club–TA-2
Loudoun Program Planning Group
Meeting–Rm 220
A/V Committee Training/Meeting–TA-1
Fri Feb 21   9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Board of Directors Meeting–TA-1
Ulysses Book Club–TA-2
Homer, etc–Annex
Sat Feb 22 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Mon Feb 24 10:00am What’s in the Daily News? cont’d–TA-3
Tue Feb 25 10:00am Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Feb 26 10:00am
Bridge Club–TA-3
Tom Crooker Investment Forum–TA-1
Thu Feb 27 11:30am Cooking Club–Cottage
Fri Feb 28   9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Travel Club–TA-2
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Classic Fiction Book Club–Loudoun Rm 205
Homer, etc–Annex
Ulysses Book Club–TA-2
Photography Club–TA-1

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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.

Current Editorial Staff
Chief Editor/Technical Editor: Irene Osterman
Associate Editor:
Weekly Editorial Team: Paul Van Hemel,
Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere,
Proofreaders:  John West, Gordon Canyock, Susan Van Hemel
Backup Chief Editor: Sheri Siesseger

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 – 6:00 pm Tuesday for that week's issue (6:00 pm Monday 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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