Bel Canto – Rossini’s “Semiramide” 

12:30pm-2:30pm, THURSDAY— 2/22, 3/1, 3/8  
Bel Canto – “beautiful singing” —  a naive definition for singing that is nuanced in its style and technique and, depending upon the composer, variable in its characteristics.  Composers Bellini, Donizetti and   Rossini are associated with this style of singing – one in which the emphasis is placed on the voice as   opposed to on the orchestra.  The three session course will explore:  the characteristics of “bel canto” singing; the historical arc of the style; stylistic similarities and differences of the three composers; artists who embody the styles; and finally, a “fireworks” display of the technique in Rossini’s “Semiramide”.   Various Youtube clips will be used to support the discussion.  The three session course is being offered in anticipation of the Metropolitan Opera HD performance of “Semiramide” on Saturday, March 10.  Louis Mainelli has taught opera courses on Poulenc, Tchaikovsky and Wagner at various life-long   learning programs:  “OLLI” at URI and UMASS – Boston; Salve Regina “Circle of Scholars” and King House “Circle of Scholars” both in Newport.  Former High School Mathematics Department Chair in Darien, Conn., he has also taught at the MET School in Newport.



Classic Lit Redux: Nineteen Eighty Four (1949) by George Orwell  

10:00am-12:00pm, MONDAY— 1/22, 1/29, 2/5
It’s been almost 70 years since British author George Orwell published his great dystopian novel, 1984.  Now is certainly the time for us to revisit this prescient narrative. Orwell’s book is a        fictional exploration of a totalitarian society where prosperity is made possible by constant war and the public is kept in line by the manipulation of language and the subversion of truth. Can an individual     survive in this society? As usual, Eileen Warburton will provide background, biography, and historical context while guiding discussion with questions and themes. She will be using the Signet Classic edition of 1984, but any unabridged edition is fine. Participating students must commit to reading the novel in advance. Three sessions.  Eileen Warburton holds a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of many books and articles, including the critically acclaimed 2004 biography of modern English novelist, John Fowles. She has taught literature at URI, BU, and Bryant. For the past twelve years, she has been the   humanities scholar for 2nd Story Theatre, Warren.


Computer Demystification  

10:00am-12:00pm,  THURSDAY— 3/22, 3/29
Day to day we pretty much depend on some form of computer, from desktops, laptops, tablets to smart phones. The purpose of this course is to demystify them so that we can manage and use them more       effectively. The class will not be about how to operate a specific gadget, instead, during this class we will review how software and hardware work together to perform various applications. At the same time we will discover how these applications can eventually clog-up, slow down and degrade system performance.  Jet Vertz holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, an  M.S. in Computer Science, and an M.B.A. Jet   retired after working over forty years in the aviation business.  Prior to his retirement he served as Vice President at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. Jet has taught The Bucket List and Histories & Mysteries of Aviation at the Edward  King House in Newport.


Current International Events in Review 

12:45pm-2:45pm, WEDNESDAY— 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21
This course is a workshop-style lecture and discussion series beginning with presentations of various country and regional overviews along with some political and socio-economic issues in the first hour, followed in the second hour by a moderated open discussion of current international events of the previous week. The topics selected for the first hour will add to an understanding of the current events being discussed and often will be presented by outside speakers with relevant expertise. Class participation and presentations by attendees are encouraged, but not required.  Ron Becker, a graduate of Reed College, is a retired actuary with over 35 years of technical and administrative experience in the life insurance industry and a life-long interest in history and politics.  Ben Riggs is a retired business executive who has served as chief executive for U.S. divisions of    several foreign-owned conglomerates.  After graduating from Boston University, he served for eight years as a Naval Aviator, remaining in the Naval Reserve until retirement.  His knowledge and interest in international affairs arose from both his military career as well as numerous business dealings in Europe, Japan, and the Middle East.  

Great Photographers You Need To Know  

10:00am-12:00pm, FRIDAY— 5/4, 5/11, 5/18
We will study the art of several photographers you may never have heard of, among them Abelardo     Morell, whose simultaneous indoor/outdoor landscapes made with a gigantic camera obscura will amaze you, while painter and photographer Saul Leiter will transport you back to NYC in the fifties with his lovely pastoral street scenes. We will also examine the life and work of Imogen Cunningham and Czech photographer Josef Koudelka among others, as time allows.  For the first class: Google Abelardo Morell and observe his many photographic techniques.  JAN ARMOR is an award-winning educator and fine art photographer with forty years experience in both digital and traditional media. He has taught several photography courses for the OLLI at URI,    Newport Circle of Scholars,  as well as Wickford Art Association. He has received grants and awards for environmental photography and has taught at the Newport Art Museum, the Bristol Art Museum, South County Art Association, and others. To see Jan’s work and a more descriptive biography, visit his web site: Jan’s most recent class for the NCOS was The Art of the iPhone in fall


M. Knight Shyamalan – Modern Day Alfred Hitchcock 

1:00pm-4:00pm, TUESDAY—2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27
M.  Knight Shyamalan has been compared to Alfred Hitchcock. In this six week program we get the opportunity to journey into the world of writer, director M. Night Shyamalan and explore the flair, thrills, twists and turns that he brings to the screen. In this three hour program we will view the full length movie, and have time to discuss reviews, content, story lines, symbolism, and relationships for each of these movies:  Sixth Sense ’99; Unbreakable ’00; Signs ’02; The Village ’04; The Happening ’08; and After Earth ’13.  Linda M. Morse has been a yoga and meditation practitioner most of her life, teaching for over fifteen years.  As an avid sci-fi buff, she has offered James Cameron’s Avatar, movies by M. Night Shyamalan, and the movie series Science Fiction Journey. With her relaxed and humorous approach, she hopes to   inspire students in body, mind, and spirit.


Researching Your Family in Irish Records

10:00am-12:00pm, WEDNESDAY— 3/21, 3/28, 4/4
This course is designed to provide participants with the basic building blocks for research in 19th and early 20th century Ireland.  To set the stage, the first class will cover the highlights of Irish history to help the participants understand the events that shaped Ireland.  The second class will focus on the civil and political divisions of Ireland and the records available along with examples from the instructor’s own     research.  The third session will complete the focus of the second session and allow for an interactive    discussion of specific research questions and problems from class participants.  Participants should know the county of origin of their Irish ancestors and be comfortable using the internet.  Johanna Becker is an amateur genealogist who has researched her Irish ancestors in Counties Kerry and Roscommon.  She is a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the National      Genealogical Society.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas-Austin and a Master of Actuarial Science from the University of Michigan Business School and is a retired vice     president and actuary of MetLife. 


Science Fiction Film Journey 

1:00pm-4:00pm, MONDAY—4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7
Are we alone in the universe? Will we be able to control our destinies? With such forms of discrimination as racism, sexism, and caste systems rampant in today’s world, what will the future hold for us? Science fiction helps us by exploring the challenges we might face with cybernetic implants, genetic engineering, new belief systems, and even contact with aliens. We will view six full-length science fiction titles whose themes deal with some aspect of discrimination and control. There will be time each week to discuss    reviews, content, story lines, symbolism and relationships for each of these movies: Total Recall ’90;  Terminator 2 – Judgment Day ’91; The Island ’05; The Day the Earth Stood Still ’08; The Hunger Games ’12; Blade Runner 2049 ’17.  Linda M. Morse has been a yoga and meditation practitioner most of her life, teaching for over fifteen years.  As an avid sci-fi buff, she has offered James Cameron’s Avatar, movies by M. Night Shyamalan, and the movie series Science Fiction Journey.  With her relaxed and humorous approach, she hopes to  inspire students in body, mind, and spirit.


Stephen King – The Many Sides of Genius 

1:00pm-4:00pm, MONDAY—4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7
Inspired as a young teen by local legend H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King has written 54 novels, 6 non-fiction books, and nearly 200 short stories – and counting. His books alone have sold more than 350    million copies world-wide. Known primarily as an author of horror and supernatural fiction, he is much more than that. Come to this class and learn more about one of America’s most famous and prolific authors, and along the way, enjoy six of his most entertaining and classic movies. 1994 – “The Shawshank Redemption” (Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman); 1986 – “Stand By Me” (River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton); 1990 – “Misery” (Kathy Bates – Academy Award Winner Best Actress); 1983 – “The Dead Zone” (Christopher Walken, Tom Skerritt); 1995 – “Dolores Claiborne” (Kathy Bates Jennifer Jason Leigh); and 1980 – “The Shining” (Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall). We will have time after the film to discuss both the movie and the life and genius of Stephen King.   Brett Morse worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years. He is a graduate of Bryant College, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and is a certified yoga instructor.


We Didn’t Start The Fire 

1:00pm-4:00pm, TUESDAY— 2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20, 3/27
If you enjoy historical events and great music, then this program is right for you! The lyrics to Billy Joel’s song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” contains 118 brief rapid-fire allusions to the major images, events, and personalities of 1949 (the year of Joel’s birth) through 1989 when the song was released. Joel himself has said, “There’s an element of malevolence in the song; it’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop.” This six-week program will look at each of the song’s headline references through movie clips, videos and the music that helped define the period. Come and join the fun as we examine this iconic song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” – OR DID WE?   Brett Morse worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years. He is a graduate of Bryant College, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and is a certified yoga instructor.



Where Do We Go When We Die?  

5:00-6:30pm, 3rd Thursday each month – (No sessions in July, August, & December) 1/18, 2/15, 3/15, 4/19, 5/17, 6/21 – Donations Accepted
This program began last March 2016, and is conducted as the Rhode Island Chapter of the International Association for Near Death Studies (“IANDS”  at The aim of the group is to explore and deepen our understanding of what has been learned about human consciousness from people who have had near-death experiences (“NDEs”) and have reported an amazing journey after they have been revived, along with the lessons they learned. We will review and discuss actual documented experiences along with the findings of various researchers and scientists, all of whom have various theories about how this happens and what it can tell us about the transition from life as we know it, and what lies beyond. Some videos and guest speakers are utilized. This is not connected with any organized religion or religious belief. Some of the group’s current members include persons who have had NDEs, “after death” communications with loved ones, and related experiences of their own.  Ben Riggs is a retired business executive who has served as chief executive of several manufacturing companies. His knowledge and interest in NDEs evolved from the experiences of friends and family and subsequent participation with IANDS, which has included numerous national conferences, workshops, extensive study, and close collaboration with leading experts in the field.


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