A Night at the Opera – French Style 2nd Wednesday 7 pm Presenter Meg Dillon
This season we will take a look at some of the great nineteenth century French composers like Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc who were interested in opera as a musical form. Lovely arias, tuneful music, great singers and performances.
As usual the group meets at the presenter’s house on a Wednesday evening at 7pm. Drinks and light refreshments are offered. Maximum of 10 participants can be seated.
Beginners’ Patchwork 2nd and 4th Tuesdays 1 to 4 pm Presenter Heather Sloan
The course will cover the basics of patchwork and quilting whilst making a small panel. It is designed for people with no experience of patchwork, and does not require a sewing machine. By the end of the semester participants will have the skills to make a basic quilt.
Booker reading group 3rd Friday 2-4pm Presenter Meg Dillon
The annual Man Booker Prize is awarded to the novel deemed best by an extensive panel of judges in Britain. Writers in both America and post-colonial countries can also enter. Each year the search is narrowed to a Long List of 13 books, then the Short List of 6 from which the winner is chosen.
These novels are not for the faint hearted! They often explore contentious contemporary issues or the lives of families or individuals experiencing the difficulties of modern life.
The judges said of the Long List: All of these books – which take in slavery, ecology, missing persons, inner-city violence, young love, prisons, trauma, race – capture something about a world on the brink. Among their many remarkable qualities is a willingness to take risks with form.
The 2018 winner of the Booker was The Mars Room by American writer Rachel Kushner. You can google the 2018 Man Booker Long List to see the complete list.
If you are curious about some of the best contemporary fiction of the last year…please join us.
You will be expected to obtain your own copy of the books the group chooses to read, either by buying an e-book version, borrowing from a library, or purchasing a hard copy
German for Beginners Mondays, 12 - 1 pm Presenter Pauline Bailey
This course should give you a good understanding for basic communication in German. There are no set texts, but a small German-English dictionary would be useful. Notes will be provided at each session.
The first 10 weeks will provide the vocabulary and grammar underpinning the language. After a winter recess, we will resume for more advanced learning.
After the Victorians 3rd Tuesday 9.30-11.30 Presenter Terry Case
The 20th century saw enormous changes in the period from 1900-1939. From the Boer War and Federation in Australia we then look at the White Australia policy and the fear of Japan as a world power. Germany and the USA overtook Britain as the leading industrial and military power. The Bolshevik Revolution was a turning point not just in W.W.1, but in European history. Socialism, Fascism and Communism challenged existing orders. The British Empire reached its peak in the 1930s, but the belief that Britain had a right to rule was challenged by Gandhi and others. DVD’s will be used to illustrate the sessions.
An Introduction to Western Civilization 2nd & 4th Friday 2-4pm, Semester 1 Presenter Meg Dillon
History helps us understand some complex issues, even though it can’t and doesn’t predict future outcomes. Today our Western Civilization is strongly attacked as corrupt, militaristic and nihilistic.
But is it? How did it evolve and what aspects of should we embrace and be proud of?
These history sessions will look at the current situation, then briefly explore those past cultures that have created our complex Western world.
Ancient Greece: it all started with the Greeks and their vast cultural agenda. Art, sculpture, philosophy, science and much more was developed by this squabbling, argumentative but lively group of city states and colonies, known as the Greek World.
The Romans: masters of war, engineering and administration. Their Pax Romana (The Roman Peace) was spread across Europe in the largest ancient empire prior to the British Empire. The Romans would colonize and civilize other cultures but would brutally suppress any rebellion.
The Italian Renaissance: The rich Italian city states of the thirteenth century rediscovered the Ancient World of the Greeks and Romans through their discoveries of surviving sculptures and ancient manuscripts. The result was a reintroduction of many of the achievements of these cultures that had been lost in the previous 1000 years. The Italians built on this foundation advancing both the practice of the arts and that of diplomacy in an era that was fractured by minor wars between the city states and the Papacy.
The Reformation: In the early sixteenth century Martin Luther started a vast religious movement protesting against some of the corruption and excesses that had developed in the Catholic Church. The succeeding growth of Protestantism turned many parts of Europe into mercantile hubs where vast wealth started to be made by a merchant class, while more austere religious and communal practices were adopted by whole populations in Northern Europe.
The Enlightenment: The age of science burst into being in the eighteenth century in England and France. Gentlemen ‘scientists’ started to look at the way the physical aspects of our world worked. In France the French Revolution in 1787 followed naturally from this development as the middle classes refused to accept the older corrupt rule of King, Church and nobles. This was the start of our era in which science and government would dominate our thinking and lead to Western democracy as we know it and the vast scientific knowledge that has changed our world and lives.
Discussion and suitable video and other images will be used to convey some of the key attributes of these major historical influences that have formed the Western world.
Meditation 1st & 3rd Monday 4-5pm. Presenter Caroline Sims