Richard Wagner: “Der Ring des Nibelungen”

Sessions:  5  Class Time:  10:00am-12:00pm

WEDNESDAY—2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20  Class Limit: 20  Member $50/ Non-Member $75

Water maidens, gnomes, giants, snakes, a dragon, gods, humans, a gold ring, a helmet with magical transformative powers, a sword with superhuman power, a castle in the sky – all are part of Wagner’s fifteen hour, four opera (Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung), opus magnum.  What, if anything, does all of this mean?  Wagner, highly literate, was familiar with Western/Eastern literature and philosophies, Nordic/Celtic myths/legends and fairy tales and although preceding Freud, he had keen insights into the psychology of humans.  From this vast base of knowledge, he fashioned a unique cycle of operas addressing power, greed, envy, love, loss, deception and redemption.  The course will explore:  pertinent aspects of Wagner’s life and contemporary historical events; philosophical/psychological underpinnings of the cycle; myths/legends/fairy tales employed; musical style; and various interpretations of the cycle.  The course is being offered prior to the Metropolitan Opera’s HD transmission on March 30 of “Die Walkure”, the second opera of the cycle. Prior to the first class, please read the MET Opera synopses of the four operas available on the internet.

Louis Mainelli has taught opera classes on Poulenc, Tchaikovsky, and  Wagner at the URI and UMASS-Boston OLLI programs as well at the Edward King House and Salve Regina “Circle of Scholars” programs.

Researching Your Family Tree

Sessions:  4  Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm

THURSDAY— 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21  Class Limit:  12  Member $35/ Non-Member $60

 Learn basic techniques and sources for researching your ancestors in the United States with emphasis on the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Become familiar with repositories and websites to locate census records, vital records, immigration and naturalization records and other pertinent information.  The course will include some “beyond the basics” topics as well.  Familiarity with the internet is useful as the course will focus primarily on internet sources.

Johanna Becker is a retired Vice President and actuary of MetLife and an amateur genealogist.  She has been researching her family tree as well as her husband’s for 30+ years and enjoys providing friends and family with basic information on their ancestors.  She is a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution.  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.

“Deception” in Great American Movies

Sessions: 6  Class Time:  12:45-3:45pm

TUESDAY — 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23   Class Limit:  30   Member $50/ Non-Member $75

All societies discourage lying, but every day, millions say, “No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat,” “Oh, I’m so sorry, we’re busy that night,” and occasionally, “No, officer, I didn’t kill my husband.”  The characters in  A Tale of Two Cities,  The Heiress, The Lady Eve, The Bad Seed, Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, and Shakespeare in Love deliberately deceive people.  Come learn the background of each movie which we will watch together, then discuss its characters, themes, symbols and other aspects.  We will start with a handout and description of how each movie was conceived and produced, and what to look for in it. We will later conclude with a group discussion of what this movie was unique for, and what it meant to each of us. Consequently, 3 hours is allotted for each session.

Lynda Tisdell is a former North Kingstown High School English teacher who has loved movies ever since she saw Peter Pan at the age of six.  Passionate about movies, she has studied them, endlessly discussed them, and dreamed about them. She has taught a large number of movie classes for other organizations, including OLLI at URI. 

Meditation and Breath Techniques

Sessions: 4  Class Time:  1:30pm-3:30pm

FRIDAY— 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24  Class Limit:  15  Member $35/ Non-Member $60

Have you wondered what Meditation is all about and if it is right for you? People of all cultures have meditated for thousands of years. Come to this very relaxed program and learn about the health and wellness benefits that can be gained from this age old practice of Meditation. This program is appropriate for those with an established practice, and those new to Meditation. You will have the opportunity to learn several different ways to meditate, look at ways of integrating mindfulness into daily life, and leave feeling relaxed and renewed. The program offers different ways to meditate to give you a ‘bag of tools’ to choose from for your daily life. In addition, because at one time or another, we may have found ourselves dealing with anxiety, fears, panic attacks, sadness, stress, sleep issues, or physical pain,  we will also be looking at breath techniques that can help to alleviate those conditions. Please wear comfortable clothing. Feel free to bring a yoga mat or cushion to sit on if you’d like. This program can also be experienced from the chair.

Linda M. Morse has been a yoga and meditation practitioner most of her life, teaching for twenty years. Certified professionally through the Kripalu Center in MA, she owned and operated the Yoga Center in Melbourne, FL. With her relaxed and humorous approach, she hopes to inspire students in body, mind, and spirit.

Remembering “The Rat Pack”

Sessions: 4  Class Time:  1:30pm-3:30pm

FRIDAY— 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24  Class Limit:  25  Member $35/ Non-Member $60

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, known as “The Rat Pack”,  helped set the style and pace of America in the mid-50s through the mid-60s. The Rat Pack made Vegas their kingdom with Frank and the boys ruling generously — a private corner of America, where anything goes. But when JFK, newly elected President with the support of the Rat Pack, is advised that the friends who made him shouldn’t  be the friends he keeps, the guys soon discover that lady luck has chosen a different direction. And when Attorney General Robert Kennedy begins a crackdown on mob ties in Vegas, the Rat Pack’s world is cut loose and slowly drifts out of their control. All of this is included in this 4-week program, along with the history and biographies of the “Rat Pack” members, including the original chairman, Humphrey Bogart. But best of all is the music, movies and comedy of this incredible team of performers. Come and join me for a fun filled program.

Brett Morse worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over forty years. He is a graduate of Bryant College, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam era, and is a certified yoga instructor.


NEW** Classic Lit:  Moby Dick, or The Whale (1851) by Herman Melville   *Registration Closed*

Sessions: 4 Class Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm

TUESDAY – 2/5, 2/12, 2/19, 2/26 Class Limit: 20 Member $35/Non-Member $60

These days, it’s often called “the Great American Novel.” But Herman Melville’s Moby Dick was a flop when published. It’s still a daunting, but mesmerizing, book to read today. Moby Dick is a wild seafaring adventure tale, an encyclopedia of 19th century whaling, a mystical philosophical exploration, and a mythic journey into the heart of the American character. Wondrous, compelling, mind-blowing, and occasionally boring, the book is as much a fascinating monster as the White Whale himself. Sharpen your harpoons! We will tackle this giant together. Eileen Warburton will provide background, biography, and historical context while guiding the discussion with questions and themes.

Usually, you are required to read the book completely in advance, right?  THIS time, you may read in blocks. By the first session: read Chapters 1 through 41. By the second session: read Chapters 42 through 98. By the third session: finish reading the book.  Use any unabridged edition.

Eileen Warburton holds the PhD in English and American Literature 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 and specializes locally in researching Newport history.

Current International Events in Review    *Registration Closed*

Sessions: 8  Class Time:  12:45-2:45pm

WEDNESDAY— 1/30,  2/6, 2/13, 2/20, 2/27, 3/6, 3/13, 3/20   Class Limit:  28   Member $65/Non-Member $90

Currently in its 14th year, this is a workshop-style survey and discussion of current international events. We start with country, region and political organization reviews during the first hour,  often utilizing guest lecturers from the Naval War College and other sources.  These topics will add to an understanding of the current events being discussed  in the second hour of each session when we will be examining the events of the previous week.

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 with a life-long interest in history and politics.

Ben Riggs, is a retired business executive who has served as chief executive of U.S. divisions of several foreign-owned conglomerates.  After graduating from Boston University, he served for seven 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.

Geography and History of South Asia   *Registration Closed*

Sessions: 8  Class Time:  3:00-5:00pm

THURSDAY— 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21  Class Limit:  20  Member $65/ Non-Member $90

 This seminar will cover the physical, social, and cultural geography of India and its neighbors. The organizing principle will be historical, beginning with the Indus Valley Civilization, then the Vedic culture that absorbed and supplanted it, continuing through the famous empires of classical Hindu society, the invasions from Muslim Central Asia that culminated with the Mughal Empire, then the British Empire, the long campaign for freedom from British rule, and finally the time of independence that began in 1947. Because of its historic and demographic centrality, India will be the main focus, but notice will be taken of Sri Lanka and Nepal, and, in the latter part of the course the recently created (out of India) countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Tom Howard retired in 2012 from teaching geography (including “Geography and History of South Asia”) at Armstrong State University (now merged with Georgia Southern University) in Savannah, GA. His experience in India started with two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tamil Nadu (1967-69). Four trips to India followed, most recently for a month in the summer of 2011, as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities program for university professors.

The Lives of Four Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance:  Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo – SOLDOUT

Sessions:  4  Class Time:  10:00am-12:00pm

FRIDAY— 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22  Class Limit:  15   Member $35/ Non-Member $60

The seminar will consist of four lectures of two hours each, with a fifteen minute intermission.  Each lecture will focus on a single artist and will be presented in the order of their deaths as set forth above.  The lectures will include key biographical information that marks important events and people in their lives.  With the use of still images and videos, we will view as many of their respective works of art as time permits.  We will also look at the other interests of the two polymaths, Leonardo and Michelangelo.

John del Negro is a retired attorney who is a graduate of George Washington University and the Cornell Law School. He is a frequent traveler to Italy, especially Florence, and speaks Italian. He has become a self-taught student of the Renaissance, and taught the NCOS course on “Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance” in the Fall of 2018.

Living The Tao   *Registration Closed*

Sessions:  7  Class Time:  1:30-3:30pm

  MONDAY— 1/28, 2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 2/25, 3/4, 3/11  Class Limit:  20  Member $60/ Non-Member $110

This seminar will explore Taoist Philosophy through the study of the timeless classic, “The Tao Te Ching” (“The Book of the Way and its Power”) combined with practical ways of integrating principles of Taoism and Zen (Ch’an) Buddhism into everyday life. In addition to the study of the Philosophy, different types of meditation such as seated, standing, walking, and moving will be taught and practiced as an “art of living.” T’ai Chi and Qi-Gong exercises for health, well-being, stress reduction, clear thinking and peace of mind will also be presented. At times, participants will be invited through a process of “Guided Self-Discovery” to engage in a series of experiments in “Experiential Learning.”

Jesse Harding is Chief Instructor and Director of Villari’s Martial Arts Center.  He has a 6th Degree Black Belt, is a Master Instructor, and is an advanced certified instructor  in T’ai Chi, Qi-Gong, and Taoist Yoga. Jesse began martial arts training in 1985 and has been teaching the arts for over 20 years. He is a Professor in the Theological and Religious Studies Dept. at Salve Regina University.  He has degrees in Philosophy, Psychology and Religious studies, an MA in Holistic Counseling and a C.A.G.S. in Expressive Art Therapy.       

Fee includes class materials

What Happens When We Die?   An exploration of how human consciousness exists outside of the body.

Sessions:  Monthly  Class Time:  5:00-6:30pm

3rd Thursday each month  (No sessions in June, July, August, & December)  1/17, 2/21,3/21,4/18,5/16  Donations Accepted

This program began in 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 the continuation of human consciousness after death from people who have survived 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 Naval Aviator and later 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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